How to Spend a Day in Arches National Park
There are tons of amazing National Parks. But one of the best, and most underrated, is Arches National Park.
It is hard to believe your eyes as you pull into the park. The red and orange rocks with arches dotting the landscape are truly a sight to behold.
Let’s be clear, we recommend spending at least a week in Arches National Park! But, if time is limited, we’ve packed all the best into one day.
Let’s dive in.
The Scoop on Arches National Park
Arches National park is in eastern Utah. It is 4 miles outside the town of Moab. The park is over 76,000 acres and has over 2,000 sandstone arches. Besides the arches, there are many other unique geological formations.
Arches officially became a National Park in 1971.
Now over 1.5 million visitors travel to the park each year. Arches
National park elevation ranges between 4,085 and 5,653 feet. Its high desert temperatures make for hot summers and cool winters. The hottest month is July where temps can soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter averages are in the 40s and 50s for daytime highs.
Summer is always a popular time to visit National Parks. But given how hot it can be in June, July, and August, Arches is actually best visited in the “off-season”.
April, May, and October have the best temperatures for hiking.
If you decide to go in the summer, plan to start your hikes early.
And bring LOTS of water.
You can visit Arches National Park all year long, but keep in mind, some trails periodically close in winter. If the trails become icy, the National Park Service may close them to ensure the safety of all guests.
Morning in Arches National Park
Get Fueled Up with Breakfast at Sweet Cravings Bakery + Bistro
Address: 397 N. Main Street, Moab, UT 84532
Sweet Cravings is the perfect place to start your morning outright. They currently open at 8:00 am Thursday through Tuesday. Sweet Cravings is known for its breakfast burritos. You can’t go wrong with a nacho, veggie, benedict, or hot ham and cheddar burrito.
Also, be sure you don’t forget to grab some baked goods for the road. They also have coffee, so you are ready to hit the ground running.
Reasons you’ll love it: There are tons of reasons to love Sweet Cravings Bakery and Bistro. But one of the best things about this place is their commitment to health. They source their produce and dairy from regional farmers.
They also bake all their breads and desserts from scratch. Not to mention delicious, organic coffee! Sweet Cravings also uses only eco-friendly containers and recycles anything they can.
Sweet Cravings go above and beyond to keep you and the planet healthy for longer.
Hike the Devil’s Garden Trail Before it Heats Up
Devil’s Garden is an amazing sight to see. There are several trails to choose from in Devil’s Garden. Options range from easy to difficult to meet the needs of any hiker. There are over 7.9 miles of trails to hike in Devil’s Garden.
The easiest trail is the main Devil’s Garden trail. The first section is 1.9 miles long and is flat with packed surfaces.
This trail leads to spectacular views of the Landscape Arch. This is the longest arch in all of North America. If you want a longer hike, you can continue on to see Double O Arch (an additional 4.1 miles round trip).
Devil’s Garden is a must-see.
With several world-famous arches to see, your jaw will drop throughout the hike. And don’t wait to visit! Landscape Arch is only 6 feet wide at its narrowest point. Eventually, further erosion might lead to a collapse and this glorious arch will be no more.
Afternoon in Arches National Park
You’ll want to set aside the morning for Devil’s Garden. Especially if you plan to hike several trails to see everything.
But there is even more to see in the afternoon.
Eat Your Packed Lunch at Fiery Furnace Viewpoint
Fiery Furnace is comprised of sandstone canyons. It is filled with narrow ledges, steep cliffs, and towering orange rock as far as the eye can see. Hiking in Fiery Furnace itself requires an individual permit or a guided ranger hike.
What you should pack for lunch: Pack a protein-rich meal. After all, you did a lot of hiking in the morning, and there is more to come in the afternoon. You should also bring lots of water and something like a Gatorade to replenish your electrolytes.
Reasons you’ll love it: The Fiery Furnace viewpoint trail is a super short out and back. It is just 0.2 miles long, making it a perfect place to stop for lunch. This viewpoint overlooks almost the whole park.
You can see the unique red rock formations Utah is known for. But you also will see mesas and even mountains. Seeing the Fiery Furnace from above is something you won’t want to miss.
Hike to Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch is another iconic sight of Arches National Park and Utah in general. In fact, you’ll see Delicate Arch on almost every tourism advertisement for the state.
This arch is huge. It has a light window that is 46 feet tall and 32 feet across.
The hike to Delicate Arch takes between 2 and 3 hours. You can hike it all year, but in summer it is extremely hot in the afternoons. And in winter the trail can be icy.
If the full hike is a little long for you or the conditions aren’t the best, you have options. You can visit the viewpoint with a quick 5-to-30-minute hike.
Hit the Trails with Moab Tour Company
After hiking to Delicate Arch, your legs will probably be feeling it. But hitting the trails with the Moab Tour Company lets you see even more of Arches National Park.
Moab Tour Company lets you take part in side by side, UTV, and RZR tours. You can also rent a RZR, side by side, jeep, or dirt bike to cruise the park on your own.
Tours range from beginner to expert to meet the needs of any traveler. Moab Tour Company has over 15 years of experience helping people make memories.
Your dream day in Arches National Park isn’t complete without them.
If you’re interested in booking an off-road tour of Moab, read out Moab Jeep Rental guide (before booking).
Evening in Arches National Park
A Relaxing Dinner at Sunset Grill
Address: 900 North Main Street, Moab Utah
Sunset Grill has something for everyone. It is a can’t-miss stop to wrap up your day at Arches. They offer a range of 5-star dining menu options.
Start with one of many delicious appetizers. French onion soup, escargot, shrimp cocktail, or bruschetta are just a few of your options. For the main course, there are many wonderful entrees from the grill to choose from.
Sunset grill offers filet mignon, New York strip, salmon, wild Ahi tuna, or rustler rib. They also offer a range of specialty dishes. Indulge your tastebuds with Linguini Olivia, prime rib, shrimp scampi, or Idaho trout, among others.
Top it off with a delicious dessert. Sunset Grill has razzleberry pie, crème brûlée, tiramisu, chocolate souflé, and more. Our mouths are watering just thinking about all these choices!
Other reasons you’ll love it: If the amazing menu options weren’t enough to convince you to visit, it gets better. Sunset Grill is the oldest restaurant in Moab. The restaurant also has a unique history.
It is the former home of Charlie Steen, a prominent Uranium prospector.
He became Moab’s most famous millionaire. His generosity was unmatched, and he donated to schools and churches in the area. This unique history adds an extra dimension to the Sunset Grill.
Drinks at Moab Brewery
Address: 686 S Main Street, Moab, UT 84532
The day wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Moab Brewery. They offer a range of brews on tap. Moab Pilsner, Moab Especial, Dead Horse Amber Ale, Johnny’s American IPA, and Scorpion Pale Ale are available on tap.
They offer a range of other beers on tap as well. They also offer their famous Root Beer for any non-drinkers in the group.
Reasons you’ll love it: Moab Brewery is the largest restaurant in Moab. It is also the only microbrewery and distillery in the town. You can even take home a reminder of your amazing trip with something from their gear store.
Moab Brewery has a great vibe and plenty of seating for the entire gang.
Dark Sky Viewing at Arches National Park
Before you turn in for the night, there is one more Arches National Park activity you won’t want to miss. Stargazing in the area is absolutely breathtaking.
On a moonless night, you might even see the rings of Saturn through your binoculars. With minimal artificial light around, Arches is a perfect place for stargazing.
The top places to stargaze in Arches are Balanced Rock, the Windows, Garden of Eden Viewpoint, or Panorama Point. The Park Service also offers an option to stargaze with a ranger on specific nights.
Where to stay?
Moab Valley RV Resort & Campground
Address: 1773 N Highway 191, Moab, Utah 84532
Moab Valley RV Resort is the premier camping location near Arches. There are also tons of amenities. There is a bicycle wash and repair station, a dog park, hot tub, swimming pool, and a community barbeque. For entertainment, they have life-size chess and even a putting green.
They also have a playground, laundry facilities, Wi-Fi, and full hookups. You can even bike right from the campground.
Why you’ll love staying here: You will feel like you are camping right inside the National Park. You’ll be surrounded by red rock in every direction. Moab Valley RV Resort is pristinely maintained with large grassy sites and shade trees.
Pro Tip: Here are the 11 best campsites (many free) near Arches National Park.
A Day in Arches National Park
Arches National Park is spectacular. When planning your perfect day, there are many things you won’t want to miss. But if you follow our advice, you will have an unforgettable experience.
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Skip the breakfast. Get in line to get into the park as early as it’s legal to start lining up. On busy days the line of cars waiting to get into the park can stretch back to town.