Travel, USA

Tips for Visiting Arches National Park

When you hear of people visiting Utah, what’s the one place that comes to mind? If you guessed Arches National Park, then you’d be correct!

Arches National Park, like Zion National Park, is another iconic place to visit in Utah. This park has such amazing landscapes that everyone falls in love with it. Personally, I have to say that Arches National Park is my favorite of the two parks I’ve visited in Utah.

Located in the Moab region of Utah, Arches National Park is bordered by the Colorado River. The park is set with beautiful mountain peaks, towering red sandstone arches, and breathtaking cliffs. Among the many wonderful trails within the park, you’ll find famous sites such as Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, and the Double Arches. Believe me, there’s quite a few more stunning displays of arches throughout the park!

Do be sure to check out my 3 Day Solo Trip Itinerary in Utah where I detail the trails I went on in Arches National Park. Maybe you’ll put a star on them for your visit to Arches.

If you are planning to visit Arches National Park, you’ve picked a great place to visit! I promise, the views will not disappoint. However, I recommend you check out these tips and other things to know and save them for your trip so your time there can be as seamless and fun as possible!

Arrive at the park before peak hours

It goes without saying that the sooner you get to the park, the better. Peak hours for the park are from 9am to 2pm. So, you should plan to arrive at Arches either before 9am or after 2pm.

When I visited Arches I arrived around 12pm only to see signs saying the park was closed because the parking lots were full. I had to wait until 3pm to try to get into the park. Learn from my mistake and definitely get there early.

Be on the lookout for parking spots

When you are driving through the park, there will be side roads you can take which will lead you to different trails and sites. When you go off to these sites, keep your eyes peeled for parking spots. They tend to fill up quickly, so if you’re not quick yourself you will miss out on a parking spot.

It costs $30 to enter park

The cost of entering the national park is $30 which can only be paid with either a debit or credit card. However, when you purchase your ticket it’s good for that day and up to a week later. So you can return to explore the park another day!

Expect long wait times for entrance

When you’re entering the park, or any national park for that matter, expect to be waiting in line for a very long time. The lines get backed up quickly and it’ll take a while for you to even get to the ticket booth. When I waited to enter the park, it was a good hour wait until I finally made it to the booth.

You can check out the traffic going into Arches National Park here so you can receive in-time updates on traffic conditions.

Bring snacks and water with you

It’s a good idea to bring lots of snacks and water with you. Staying hydrated with food in your stomach will help you while you’re out exploring and hiking all day. Especially since there are no stores or places to eat in the park, it makes sense to prepare before hand and bring food and drinks with you.

Bring hand sanitizer or wet wipes

Just like with my other blog post on Tips for Visiting Zion National Park, the bathrooms have no running water or soap. I recommend you bring hand sanitizer or wet wipes with you so you can clean your hands afterwards. There are sanitizer cases in the bathrooms, however they may or may not be full at the time of your trip.

Better to be safe than sorry, bring wet wipes or hand sanitizer.

Wear comfy shoes

This is super important when you are out and about hiking or walking the trails all day. Having comfortable shoes helps with comfort and decreases the amount of soreness or pain your feet and ankles experience from long walks/hikes.

Wear comfy clothing

Just like with the previous tip, it’s a good idea to wear comfy clothing. You want something that’s breathable, lightweight, and comfortable at the same time. This is super important when you’re out all day, climbing on rocks or hiking up a trail, to have something that’s comfortable and able to withstand such activities.

Very windy – be careful on trails and with your belongings

Be aware of the wind when you’re visiting Arches National Park. When I was on the Delicate Arch trail, very close to the top of the trail, the wind picked up a lot. It was so bad that all of us were struggling with staying level while the wind lashed against us.

Be careful when you’re on the trails or climbing up the cliffs or arches. The wind may pick up and you may end up loosing your balance or belongings.

Have a full tank of gas

This is very important to do before entering the park. When you enter the park, there are no gas stations or places to get gas. To avoid being stranded in the middle of the park, make sure your tank if full and ready to go before going into the park.

Bring a first aid kit

You never know what’s going to happen when you’re out in the parks. Either yourself or someone else may get hurt, fall ill, or something worse. To help in those situations, it’s good to be prepared by having a first aid kit. You can buy inexpensive ones from the store or create your own.

I have my own first aid kit that has things from band aids to Pedialyte (gives you electrolytes when dehydrated) and allergy medication. I’d rather be over prepared than not prepared at all.

Bring a day backpack

When exploring a national park, bring a day backpack to carry all your essential items and food. There’s nothing wrong with not having a day bag but it’s best practice to take one with you when roaming around the park. If anything were to happen and you needed something, at least you’re covered because you have those items on you. If they were left in the car, it’d be tough to hike hours back to the car to get something.

It doesn’t have to be a huge backpack. A small backpack will do. I always pack a foldable backpack which acts as a day backpack for me when I’m traveling. The one I have held my hoodie, rain jacket, first aid kit, camera equipment, snacks and water with plenty of room to spare. I’ll leave a link for it here if you’re interested in taking a look at it.

Download trails offline

A tip if you’re planning on going on any of the trails is to download them offline. This allows you to have access to them when you’re out in the park without any signal. The app I have and love to use is the AllTrail app which allows you to download the maps offline. Although that feature comes with the paid version of the app, it’s still worth the investment if you go on a lot of trails and need them when you’re deep in nature.