Things to See and DoArches National Park
There are many incredible rock formations and spectacular views to see in Arches National Park.
Below are a few of the most popular sites in the park.
It is easy to see why early park visitors thought the sandstone fins of Park Avenue resembled the soaring towers of New York City. Stop and hike down the Park Avenue canyon if time allows.
One of the many wonders in Arches National Park. The huge boulder atop this formation seems to defy gravity. Balanced Rock can be seen from the road, but to fully appreciate its precarious balance, walk the short paved accessible loop trail around the base. As proof that this formation won’t stand forever, in the winter of 1975-76, Balanced Rock’s smaller sibling “Chip-Off-the-Old-Block” collapsed (see the Arches Then and Now on NPS.gov), proving that there is no better time than the present to see this awe-inspiring giant.
The Windows has some of the park’s largest arches. A short family-friendly trail gives you up-close views of three massive arches (the North and South Windows, and Turret Arch). Walk the short trail to the base of Double Arch. You will be in awe of this giant arch soaring overhead! Visit CNHA’s Arches National Park Hikes page to learn mores about the trails at the Windows.
The world’s most famous natural arch! The opening beneath the arch is 46 feet (14 m) high and 32 feet (9.7 m) wide, making it the largest free-standing arch in the park. Before the name Delicate Arch stuck after appearing in an article in 1934, the arch was known by various names:”Cowboy’s Chaps” and “Old Maid’s Bloomers” among others. There are two ways to see Delicate Arch.
The Fiery Furnace is a labyrinth of narrow sandstone canyons and fins, with no established trails. It is easy to become disoriented or lost here, so you must either go on a ranger-led hike or get a permit to enter the Fiery Furnace. Learn more about this fascinating place at the Arches National Park Fiery Furnace web page on NPS.gov.
One of the most popular areas of the park, the Devils Garden is home to seven awe-inspiring arches and Dark Angel Spire. Moderately easy trails lead to Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, and Landscape Arch. Beyond Landscape Arch, the trail (including the Primitive Loop) becomes more challenging, climbing over sandstone slabs with some narrow ledges and exposure to heights. Devils Garden is also home to the Devils Garden Campground. Learn more about Devils Garden Campground on NPS.gov.
The visitor center is located at the park entrance.
Stop in to browse through the exhibits, see the park movie, and shop the bookstore. The store is operated by CNHA. Your purchases at Arches support the park!
Arches Visitor Center is open daily, year-round, except for December 25. Fall/Winter hours are 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. (hours vary by the season).
Restrooms, drinking water, and outdoor exhibits are available 24 hours a day.
Touring By Car
In 1.5 hours, you can do either of these two drives:
- Drive to The Windows Section and see some of the park’s largest arches.
- Drive to Delicate Arch Viewpoint and see the world’s most famous arch from a distance. Stop at Wolfe Ranch on your way back, and imagine homesteading here in the late 1800s.
In 3 hours: Drive the entire park road, spending 10 minutes at each viewpoint.
In half a day: Drive the whole park road, spending 10 minutes at each viewpoint, and take a short walk at The Windows Section, Delicate Arch Viewpoint, or Balanced Rock.
In two hours, you can do one of these four routes:
- Hike The Windows loop trail. Hike between parking areas to Double Arch. Drive back to Balanced Rock and walk the trail around its base.
- Hike up the sloping slickrock to see Delicate Arch. (Avoid this trail in midday summer heat.)
- Walk between tall fins in Devils Garden to see Landscape Arch, North America’s longest.
- Walk to Sand Dune Arch, then across the field to Broken Arch. Continue through the end of the campground and return. Enjoy Tapestry Arch and the sandstone fins.
In half a day, take one of these three hikes:
- Hike the entire Devils Garden trail to the spire called Dark Angel.
- On your way back, hike the primitive trail only if you’re up for challenging slopes and exposure to heights.
- If you don’t mind driving an unpaved road to the remote area called Klondike Bluffs, hike the primitive trail to Tower Arch.
Your purchases and donations support education and research on the public lands of Southeastern Utah!