How to Get There
From Moab, take US 191 north five miles to the park entrance. From I-70, exit at Crescent Junction and follow US 191 south for 25 miles to the entrance. Airport: 15 miles north of Moab and at Grand Junction, Colorado, about 120 miles away.
When to Go
Year-round, but spring and fall are best; moderate temperatures are ideal for hiking in the high desert. Summers are hot and winters mild. Wildflowers peak in April and May.
How to Visit
Take the Arches Scenic Drive at least as far as The Windows Section. If possible, carry on to the historic Wolfe Ranch, Fiery Furnace, and the Devils Garden. Also allow time for hiking at least one of the park's spectacular trails, perhaps to Delicate Arch or even Tower Arch, in the park's remote Klondike Bluffs. If it's spring, summer, or fall (and you're not bothered by heights), consider joining a naturalist-led three-hour hike through Fiery Furnace. It's strenuous, but you'll appreciate the shade in summer's heat. Go to www.recreation.gov for reservations and tickets (walks fill quickly; reserve early).
Where to Stay
Lodging Inside the Park:
The Devils Garden Campground, the only lodging option within the park, is 18 miles from the entrance and open year-round.
Lodging Outside the Park:
Four miles from the park, on Main Street in Moab, Big Horn Lodge offers lodge-style accommodations featuring log furniture. Big Horn also puts together package deals that include rafting excursions and cowboy dinners.
Featured in Traveler’s April 2009 Stay List, the Red Cliffs Adventure Lodge sits some 15 miles northeast of Moab in a dramatic red rock canyon right by the Colorado River. Along with lodge suites and cabins with kitchenettes, the lodge boasts a swimming pool, restaurant, winery, movie and cowboy museum, and livestock. Activities include horseback rides along the lodge’s trails.
Redstone Inn is located on Main Street in Moab five miles (eight kilometers) south of Arches, and features rooms furnished with knotty pine furniture and Mexican tile. Also here: a patio for picnicking and barbecuing, and hot tubs for a relaxing soak after a long day of hiking and biking.
Just off Main Street in Moab is the Sunflower Hill B&B, which offers country-elegant lodging in a residential setting.
Bring an ample supply of water on all hikes and drives through the park.
Dress in or carry layers of clothing, as temperatures can fluctuate 40 degrees in a single day.
Temperatures can top 100°F in summer and dip below freezing in winter. Thunderstorms with dangerous lightning can occur suddenly, and heavy late-summer downpours can cause flash floods, so be very mindful of weather conditions before starting on longer hikes. It is always smart to check current conditions with rangers at the visitors center before venturing out.
Pets are not allowed on trails and are permitted in only a few areas within the park, including at the campground, along roads, and in parking lots. The summer heat, especially when intensified within a parked car, can be deadly, so it’s best to leave your pet at home or board him at a kennel in Moab.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
As Arches’ popularity has increased it has become more crowded. Park only in established parking lots to avoid damaging plants and the bio-soil crust.
You’ll need a permit, available at the visitors center, to trek the backcountry.
Always carry water on hikes—at least a gallon a day per person is recommended in summer.
Stay on trails to protect fragile desert soils and plant life.
Sandstone slickrock crumbles easily and can make climbing dangerous. It is often easier to go up than down.