20 Best Things to Do in Arches National Park, UT
True to its namesake, the Arches National Park is where you’ll see most of the world’s stunning rock arches.
It is truly incredible and mind-boggling to think of how all these rock arches are concentrated in one place in the middle of Utah’s Grand County.
More amazingly, the Arches National Park has listed more than 2,000 arches, making it the only place in the world to have a substantial proliferation of this natural rock formation.
It took millions of years for its arches, towers, fins, and hoodoos to develop through erosion and evolution in the landscape.
It is also a playground for paleontologists because of the hundreds of fossils dug there.
Arches National Park is situated five miles north of the City of Moab in Utah and covers a total of 73,234-acres.
However, Arches National Park is more than its famous rock arches.
It is also teeming with wildlife, natural beauty, and stunning sceneries that you’ll only see on postcards.
From a visitor’s perspective, the Arches National Park is the perfect setting for an outdoor adventure.
This destination is best known for hiking, rock climbing, and nature viewing.
So, what’s in store for you in Arches National Park?
Read on to discover the 20 best things to do in Arches National Park.
Drive through the Arches Scenic Drive
If you want to take a quick look at the famous attractions inside the Arches National Park, the most convenient way to do it is by driving your car along the Arches main thoroughfare.
The entire scenic drive takes about 18-miles of nothing but beautiful sceneries.
The road connects the park’s main areas, giving you a hassle-free tour.
This activity offers convenience to those who have limited time touring this famous park.
You can tour much of the park’s famous attractions in an hour, or perhaps if you want to discover each of the park’s viewpoints, it will take about 4 to 5 hours maximum.
During the drive, you'll be passing through the famous Delicate Arch, Windows Section, Double and Devils Garden, among other attractions.
Drop by the Arches Visitor’s Center
It would be better to visit the Arches Visitor’s Center if you're planning to tour the park on foot.
It’s situated a mile from the entrance of the Arches National Park.
Visiting this place helps you navigate through the park easily.
Its on-site rangers give you a short guide about the stuff and whatnot you need to know before proceeding to your journey.
They will provide you with maps and a short briefing about the essential information and reminders in visiting the Arches National Park.
In addition, the visitor center also is filled with exhibits full of information about the park’s history, native plants and animals, and its geology.
The visitor center also has a gift shop and a bookstore worth visiting.
For a safe and enjoyable journey inside the Arches National Park, make sure to visit the Arches Visitor’s Center.
Check Out the Delicate Arch
Your journey through the Arches National Park will likely focus on visiting various rock arches and other stunning rock formations.
One of the most beautifully “arched” rock arches you will find in the Arches National Park is the Delicate Arch.
The arch has a height of 46-feet and a width of 32-feet.
It features a huge opening beneath the arch that is considered the most extensive free-standing arch in the Arches National Park.
Moreover, the Delicate Arch has become the unofficial symbol of the State of Utah for many years already.
If you’re planning to get a closer look at the Delicate Arch, you must hike the 3-mile out and back trail that takes you to a 489 feet elevation.
You will also be passing through the Wolfe Ranch cabin and the Ute Indian petroglyphs along the way.
Look Up at the Towering Double Arch
The Double Arch is considered the tallest rock arch in Arches National Park that spans 112 feet high and the second-longest at 144-feet in length.
Compared to other rock arches, this one is highly-accessible for visitors because of its well-paved half-mile trail.
Upon arriving, you’ll be stunned at the beautiful arch that towers above, giving you a different view of the blue sky from the huge gaps in between the arches.
In addition, the Double Arch has a famous spot called the "Parade of Elephants."
It's a single portion of sandstone that forms a herd of elephants holding each other's tails on a single line; thus, it’s called the Parade of Elephants.
Double Arch is a must-see attraction inside the Arches National Park.
It is situated roughly 10 miles northeast of the park’s entrance.
Conquer the Trail Heading to Fiery Furnace
The Fiery Furnace is another rock arch formation known for its strenuous and narrow pathways before arriving at this colossal sandstone walls.
Those who dare to visit the Fiery Furnace need to get a permit with the guidance of a park ranger for safety purposes.
The trail you need to hike is physically demanding.
You need to climb, jump, and even hold yourself above the surface by pushing your hands against the sandstone walls to prevent yourself from falling to a narrow gap.
In addition, you need to squeeze through a very narrow corridor of sandstone walls at some point during the hike.
However, the challenge of conquering the Fiery Furnace’s trails is truly rewarding in the end.
You’ll be amazed by the unique rock arch formation that resembles a head of a golem with two bright eyes created from the gaps in between the arches.
Drive Down Memory Lane at Wolfe Ranch
The Wolfe Ranch was a former residence of John Wesley Wolf, who bought a 100-acre land in 1898 within the Arches National Park.
During his time, Wolfe had more than a thousand cattle in his ranch and built a cabin in 1906, which is remarkably still standing today.
Many visitors take time to take a peek at the century-old cabin to imagine what life was like in Arches National Park back in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
In addition, there’s a petroglyph panel situated near Wolfe Ranch, which is perceived to be made by the Ute people.
The petroglyphs depict drawings of people on horseback hunting for goats.
Overall, the Wolfe Ranch is a fascinating place to learn some history, and it’s easily accessed along the way to Delicate Arch, which is about 13 miles north of the park’s entrance.
Take a Good Look at the Longest Arch in North America
The Landscape Arch is North America’s longest arch that stretches a whopping 306-feet from end to end.
To take a great view of the arch, you must traverse a fairly-easy 50-minute hike from the Devil’s Garden trailhead.
The trail is usually packed with tourists, but getting there is not as challenging as the Fiery Furnace.
Landscape Arch is a beautiful sight to witness because of its unique thin arch that connects two rock formations like a rainbow.
Unfortunately, Landscape Arch already suffered a rockfall in September of 1991.
However, it did not significantly change the entire formation, and there's no further incident happened to this day.
Take Nice Photos of the Balanced Rock
The Arches National Park is full of surprises and uniqueness.
Aside from towering rock arches, it’s also home to a peculiar rock formation called the "Balanced Rock."
It's a 128-foot boulder that is perfectly perched atop a thin plinth of rock.
Many are dumbfounded why the rock isn’t falling after millions of years.
The mystery behind Balanced Rock is it is actually attached to the plinth of rock that is part of the eroding portion of the Dewey Bridge mudstone.
The Balanced Rock is seen from the distance while traversing through the Scenic Drive.
However, you can take a closer look and take excellent photos by hiking half a mile to the base of the formation.
There, you can take excellent photos of this iconic rock formation for a souvenir.
Balanced Rock is nestled 10 miles north of Arches National Park’s entrance.
Take a Peek at the Windows Section
The Windows Section are colossal rock arches divided into four sections, the South Window, North Window, Double Arch, and the Turret Arch.
The Windows Section is considered to have the most rock arches and boasts one of the most stunning sceneries of the entire Arches National Park.
The arches of Windows Section offer you a different but thrilling perspective of the beauty of Arches National Park.
Getting to the Windows Section is fairly easy.
All you need to do is hike its short trail, which is less than a mile out and back from the parking area.
Tour the Park aboard a 4x4 Truck
One of the best ways to experience the beauty and ruggedness of the Arches National Park must explore it on a 4-wheel drive or 4x4 from expert guides and drivers from nearby Moab.
Navtec Expeditions is a touring company that specializes in 4x4 tours in Moab that helps you navigate easily through Arches National Park.
If you’re not a fan of hiking, this is one of the most adventurous and convenient ways to tour the entire park.
Aside from its Arches National Park 4x4 tours, Navtec also offers whitewater rafting along the Colorado River.
To sign-up for their 4x4 tours, they are located at N. Main St. in Moab, Utah.
Explore Arches National Park on Horseback
Venture into the rugged but very scenic terrain of the Arches National Park on horseback is one of the best experiences you should not miss while you're there.
The Moab-based Castle Valley Horseback Ride offers a whole new way to explore this famous park with their horseback riding tours.
They offer guided tours with you riding one of their cowboy-trained quarter horses with a professional wrangler as your companion.
Castle Valley Horseback Ride is located at S. Main St. in Moab.
In addition, Red Cliff Lodge not only offers comfortable accommodation for visitors of the Arches National Park.
They also offer horseback riding tours there.
If you want a different experience touring Arches National Park, you can check out their horseback riding tour packages.
Have a Wonderful Hike through Park Avenue Trailhead
The Park Avenue Trailhead lets you explore some of the most spectacular sceneries in the Arches National Park without the rock arches.
You heard it right; the Park Avenue Trailhead highlight the different side of the Arches National Park.
It takes you to the spectacular cliff walls and sandstone spires while hiking the area's valley floor.
In addition, the hike is not that tiring since the entire trail only stretches for about two miles out and back.
The Park Avenue Trailhead is nestled 2.4 miles southwest of the Arches National Park.
Climb the Rock Formations in the Park
If you want to take your Arches National Park travel adventure to the next level, you should try rock climbing.
Arches National Park is also known by rock climbers to have top-notch climbing spots amidst their sandy environment.
You can learn through the park’s Climbing and Canyoneering Management Plan (CCMP) if you're a newbie to rock climbing.
In addition, the Moab Adventure Center offers rock climbing packages not just in Arches National Park but in other attractions in Moab, Utah.
Participate in a Ranger-led Program
If you want an educational approach while touring through Arches National Park, you should join the park's ranger-led programs.
The rangers of the Arches National Park offer a handful of interactive programs wherein tourists can join.
Some of the best programs they offer are guided walks, educational tours, and stargazing during the evening, to name some.
If you want to learn while exploring Arches National Park, sign-up for the ranger-led program at the Arches Visitor’s Center.
Stroll through the Devil’s Garden
One of the premier locations in the Arches National Park is the Devil’s Garden.
It’s a haven for hikers, nature lovers, and thrill-seekers who want to appreciate the beauty of the Arches National Park.
The Devil's Garden is where you'll find the most extensive concentration of ‘fins,’ or the narrow rock walls in the entire park.
Overall, Devil’s Garden is a breathtaking location you must visit while you’re in Arches National Park.
The Devil’s Garden is nestled at the tip of the Scenic Drive, making it one of the last attractions in the park to visit before heading home.
Admire the Garden of Eden
Arches National Park never fails to impress tourists with its geological formations and structures.
One such remarkable stop is the Garden of Eden, which is the first stop on the left when you drive past the Windows Section.
This open area is an ideal hiking spot that features famed unique structures, including Owl Rock and Serpentine Arch.
Walk around the unique sandstone features and marvel at the tall and only developing arches.
The slick rock trail also provides an easy climb that's doable even for children.
Through the gap, you can see the more open location of the central viewpoint of the Garden of Eden.
And you'll have to see and experience the wonders for yourself to fully enjoy its beauty.
Seek Shade at the Sand Dune Arch
The Sand Dune Arch is one of the more popular hiking trails at Arches National Park.
Spanning half a kilometer, it's easily a go-to trail for families with children and seniors who need easier routes to take.
South of the Devil's Garden Section, it offers a lovely view of sandstone fins.
After passing underneath the arch, you can climb atop the arch from behind using a ledge.
And when the blistering sun becomes too much, the arch offers fantastic shade.
This is your sign to check out the Sand Dune Arch!
Follow the Trail Underneath the Broken Arch
Though most of Arches National Park's most astounding arches are a perfect convex, there's one that isn't—the Broken Arch.
But that doesn't make the Broken Arch any less beautiful.
Despite not being entirely broken, this arch has a large crack in its middle that made it adopt its name as broken.
On the same trail as Sand Dune Arch, this arch is a family-friendly geological hiking spot that you should try out with a group.
One of its most celebrated assets is the way the trail continues underneath it.
Join your little ones as they traverse through the arch and keep a camera handy for some pictures!
Chase Shadows at Pine Tree Arch
The short trail of Pine Tree Arch is one for the books.
This unusual red rock arch offers a ground-level opening that you will find interesting.
Most importantly, the views through it would leave you breathless after an afternoon of exploring other arches.
What makes Pine Tree Arch stand out from the rest is its ever-changing shadows through the other side.
And when that's not impressive enough, you can also find a lot of wildflowers leading to the trail to this arch.
You can find Pine Tree Arch on your way to Landscape Arch while you're in the Devil's Garden playground area.
Challenge Yourself for a Hike at Trail Leading to Double O Arch
Near the Dark Angel Spur Trail is the Double O Arch and its majestic features and trail.
This trail is also considered the second largest arch within the premises of Devil's Garden.
Its striking arch includes one larger 71-feet arch on top of a smaller one that spans 21 feet.
But what makes it even more beautiful is the view of the dark stone pillar of the Dark Angel structure through its arch.
Take inspiration from the views and the unusual natural formations and take a photo, even, for keepsakes!
Words are not enough to describe the stunning beauty of the Arches National Park.
You should visit this place yourself to see the famous arches and rock formations.
Hopefully, this post gives you the ideas to make an unforgettable adventure in this majestic park in Utah.
If you’re unsure where to head first when you get to Arches National Park, just refer to this post.