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Exploring Arches National Park: A Guide for Visitors

By Rachel Robinso, Posted on 05 Jan, 2023 at 04:47 am

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Arches National Park

Located in the heart of Utah, Arches National Park is a sprawling outdoor playground full of incredible natural sites. The park is home to over 2,000 arches, pinnacles, fins, and balanced rocks that have been carved by the elements over time. Whether you’re looking to spend a couple hours or the better part of a day exploring Arches National Park, you’re sure to find plenty of amazing sights along the way.

If you’re planning a trip to this incredible park, here’s what you need to know about getting there.

One of the park’s most iconic sights is Landscape Arch—a long and thin arch located in Devils Garden to the north. Other formations include Balanced Rock which towers over the desert landscape in the middle of the park. For those interested in geology, there are plenty of opportunities to learn about how these formations came to be as well as their importance to native cultures. Additionally, visitors can explore a number of different trails ranging from easy hikes suitable for families with small children to moderate hikes that will take you out into some more remote areas.

When is The Best Time To Visit?

The best times for visiting Arches National Park are April through May and September through October when temperatures average between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit (15-26 Celsius). In summer months, temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) so it’s best to plan your visit accordingly if you want to avoid extreme heat while exploring outdoors.

Stay close to Arches National Park

From the luxurious and cozy to the affordable yet comfortable, these hotels are the perfect launchpad for your exploration of Arches National Park. Whether you're looking for a memorable weekend getaway or an extended stay in nature's natural wonderland, here is where you should start!

Top Experiences:

Arches National Park is a marvel of nature, boasting some of the most iconic and breathtaking landscapes in the world. The best way to explore this natural wonder is by joining a 4x4 driving tour from Moab, Utah. These tours offer an exciting opportunity to discover the contrasting colors and textures of Arches National Park while avoiding the crowds.

Let's break down what you can expect from these 4x4 half and full day tours.

 Half-Day Arches National Park 4x4 Driving Tour from Moab:

Get ready for an unforgettable adventure as you explore Arches National Park by 4x4 vehicle on a half-day tour. Discover the iconic landscape of contrasting colors and textures unlike any other in the world. As you travel through this magnificent park, you will see dinosaur footprints, arches, fins, towers and other amazing sandstone formations that make up this unique region. Your experienced guide will point out all the highlights of this fascinating area while providing interesting facts about its history and geology.

 Full-Day Canyonlands and Arches 4x4 Driving Tour from Moab:

This full-day combo tour takes you deeper into both Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park. You'll start off heading towards Canyonlands Island in the Sky area where there are breathtaking views of mesas, buttes and canyons. Then head to Arches National Park for spectacular views of towering rock formations such as Balanced Rock and Delicate Arch! 

This tour also includes stops at other park highlights like Fiery Furnace and The Windows Section so that you can truly experience all the beauty that these parks have to offer. Your knowledgeable guide will provide detailed information about each stop along the way, ensuring that your experience is truly unforgettable.


Getting to the Park by Airplane

The closest major airport to Arches is Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), which is about four hours away by car. Denver International Airport (DEN) is also fairly close, at just over five and a half hours away. Colorado’s Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT) is serviced by several airlines and is only two hours away from Arches if you decide to fly into that location instead.

If you are local to the area or coming in with a smaller group, Moab’s Canyonlands Field Airport (CNY) may be an option. It offers limited flights, sometimes just one a day to and from Denver, but it can be a convenient choice for those who can take advantage of it. Please note that CNY has limited services and amenities available compared to larger airports like SLC or DEN.


Getting to the Park by Car

If you decide not to fly into one of the mentioned airports, don’t worry—driving is always an option!

From Salt Lake City or Grand Junction, you can easily access Arches National Park via highway 191 South/US 191 North. The drive takes approximately two and a half hours from Grand Junction and four hours from Salt Lake City depending on traffic conditions and other factors along your route. Highway 191 will take you directly into Moab where you can follow signs towards the entrance of Arches National Park.

Taking a drive through Arches National Park is an amazing way for even first-time visitors to appreciate its beauty without having too much planning involved or any strenuous physical activity required. However, it’s important for drivers within the park to follow safety precautions such as staying on established roads while remaining aware of potential temperature spikes during summer months and making sure they carry enough water with them at all times. With timed entry reservations now being enforced due to increased demand on local resources and attractions, plan ahead so you don't miss out!

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Scenic Drive

Arches National Park

The 36-mile roundtrip route through Arches offers plenty of opportunities to get out and snap some pictures or take in panoramic views for miles. The park is full of stunning natural wonders, and the best way to explore them is by car. However, navigating the park can be tricky, as some roads require high clearance or four-wheel drive vehicles. 

The main road in Arches that visitors should be aware of is Scenic Drive, a 25-mile out-and-back route that runs through the park. This paved road passes most of the park’s viewpoints and trailheads and can be easily navigated in a standard two-wheel drive vehicle. If you don’t have time for any hikes or only want to take in the sights from your car, you could complete this route in about three hours (allowing 10 minutes at each viewpoint).

Salt Valley Road is also accessible with a two-wheel drive vehicle under normal conditions and offers views of Klondike Bluffs and Tower Arch before heading out toward Interstate 70. Be aware, however, that during periods of rain this road may become undriveable. All other roads within the park require high clearance and four-wheel drive vehicles—all-terrain vehicles are prohibited in Arches National Park so keep that in mind when planning your trip.

Timed Entry Reservations System

If you plan on driving through Arches on your own without a guide, you'll need to be aware of the timed entry reservations system that's been put into place due to increased demand on local resources and attractions. These reservations must be made months in advance but they do ensure that everyone who visits will have an enjoyable experience while protecting the environment.

What Should You Bring?

It’s always important to come prepared when visiting a national park! Make sure you bring plenty of water and snacks since there are no restaurants inside Arches National Park itself (though there are some within close proximity). Wear comfortable shoes and clothing appropriate for warmer weather; sun protection like sunscreen and hats will also come in handy during your visit! Finally, don’t forget your camera – every corner you turn reveals something new and beautiful that you won't want to miss capturing!


Safety Precautions

When traversing the roads within Arches National Park it’s important to keep safety top of mind as there are no guard rails along most of the routes. Be sure to stay on established roads at all times and never drive off-road as this can damage sensitive ecosystems within the park. Additionally, carry plenty of water with you as temperatures can reach up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit during summer months; staying hydrated is key!

Create Your Own Adventure Driving through Arches gives you the freedom to explore on your own time without having to worry about crowds or traffic jams. You'll have plenty of chances throughout your journey to stop by designated attractions and discover hidden gems that may not be accessible for hikers or bikers due to terrain or length - so keep an eye out!


With its breathtaking views and fascinating geological features, Arches National Park offers something for everyone - whether it's an afternoon trip or an entire weekend adventure. From its family-friendly trails to its sweeping vistas and fascinating geology, this majestic destination has something special waiting around every corner. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

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About Author

Rachel Robinso

Rachel Robinson is a dedicated traveler who loves discovering unique places around the world. A determined spirit fuels her adventures which have taken her across oceans and continents to explore different landscapes, foods, and customs. See what she discovers next on her blog where she shares delightful tales from each journey she undertakes!