Arches National Park Overview
Lying just north of Moab, Utah, Arches National Park is home to more than 2,000 natural stone arches and numerous other geological formations. Many of the awe-inspiring arches and towers can be seen from the comfort of your car but the truly best way to explore the park is by hiking its many trails. Most of the hikes in Arches are of a short to moderate distance which means the park is easily explored! In addition to the 7 best hikes in Arches National Park below, there are several less than 1 mile, easy trails that lead to some beautiful natural features including: Sand Dune Arch Trail, Skyline Arch Trail, and Balanced Rock Trail.
|Nearest Metro Area||Moab, UT|
|Area Size||76,519 acres|
|Established||November 12, 1971|
|Hiking Trails||26 miles|
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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Arches National Park
All of the Utah license plates and pictures don’t do justice to seeing the tremendous Delicate Arch up close. There are easier viewpoint trails if you are not able to hike up to the bowl but this trail is the best of all the hikes in Arches National Park for a reason. On the way, you will pass through desert terrain, climb up slickrock, and make your way a along narrow rock ledge before getting to this beauty. Make sure you take the spur trail to the Wolfe Ranch Petroglyphs on your way back as well. The trailhead starts from the Wolfe Ranch parking area off of Delicate Arch Road.
- 3.0 miles out and back
- 500′ elevation gain
This circuit trail is the longest and most difficult on this list of best hikes in Arches National Park but one that should not be missed. Beginning on the main trail to Landscape Arch, then going clockwise, hikers will pass 7 named arches on numerous spur trails and Dark Angel, a 150′ sandstone column. After Dark Angel, you have the choice to continue the steep descent of the Primitive Trail that will connect back to the Devil’s Garden Main Trail. The trailhead is next to the parking lot near the Devil’s Garden Campground off the main road.
- 7.2 mile loop
- 600′ elevation gain
First time visitors are recommended to join a ranger-led tour that is offered twice a day through this natural sandstone labyrinth. The hike is very physically demanding and will require you to climb through narrow passages between sandstone walls. You can click here to reserve a spot on one of these tours! The trailhead is north of Salt Valley off of the main park road.
- 2.5 mile loop
- 500′ elevation gain
Popular hike near the entrance of the park that descends into a canyon and continues down the wash to Courthouse Towers, a collection of tall stone columns. If you have a shuttle driver, you don’t have to retrace your steps as the trailhead begins and ends at points on Arches Entrance Road.
- 1.8 miles out and back
- 300′ elevation gain
Although this trail is isolated from the main park road, the views make this one of the best hikes in Arches National Park. Nearby to the south is Marching Men, sandstone spires that look like marching soldiers. Just past this, hikers will get to Parallel Arch and Tower Arch. The trailhead can be found near the parking area at the end of Klondike Bluffs Road.
- 3.4 miles out and back
- 500′ elevation gain
These are 2 separate trails that depart from the same parking area, both leading you to beautiful arches. The larger of the 2 arches at Double Arch is the tallest in the park (112′). The Windows Loop visits 3 impressive arches – North Window, South Window, and Turret Arch. Both trails are great to visit in the late afternoon with the best lighting for photographing. The trailheads are at the parking loop at the end of the Windows Road.
- 2.0 mile loop
- 200′ elevation gain
This is one of the more family friendly hikes in Arches that takes you to the cracked Broken Arch; it is not actually broken! The trail goes through fins with sand dunes and slickrock. Do not pass up the short spur trail to Tapestry Arch either. The trailhead can be accessed from the Devil’s Garden Campground.
- 1.8 mile loop
- 150′ elevation gain
Bonus 1 – Corona Arch Trail
Just south of Arches National Park is this fun trail that leads to one of the best arches around Moab, UT. There are 2 sections at the end of the trail that present some difficulty yet should still be able to be completed by all skill levels. You should definitely check out this trail if in the area. The trailhead is at a pull-off off of Potash Road.
- 2.2 miles out and back
- 400′ elevation gain
Bonus 2 – Grandstaff Trail
Another great hike just outside of Arches that was too good to leave off the list just because it isn’t in the park’s boundary. The trail follows a stream from the Colorado River up to Morning Glory Natural Bridge – a good change of pace from the rest of the dry hikes around here. The trailhead is on the south side of the Colorado River off of UT-128.
- 4.2 miles out and back
- 350′ elevation gain
Featured Image: Arches National Park, Photo by G. Lamar
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