Are you looking for the best time to visit Arches National Park? In this guide we will tell you not only the best time of day to visit Arches National Park but will give you a month by month overview to help you decide when is the best time for you to visit.
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Best Time to Go to Arches National Park
When you are looking at the best time to go to Arches National Park there are a couple of things that you need to consider. These are:
- The Best time of year to go to Arches National Park as there are definitely seasonal differences in terms of crowds, cost and accessibility and also
- The Best Time of Day to Visit Arches National Park as this will effect both heat levels and crowds.
First we will consider the best month to visit Arches National Park in terms of crowdss, costs and more.
The Best time of year to go to Arches National Park
The good news for anyone considering visiting Arches National Park, is that there really isn’t a bad time to visit and Arches is one of the US National parks that is open year round.
However you will find some seasonal differences in weather and crowds etc. We will look at what it is like visiting in each of the seasons to help you decide which month is right for your visit.
Winter in Arches National Park (December, January and February)
Winter in Arches National Park is considered as December, January and February.
If you are looking for lowest crowds for your visit to Arches then Winter is probably the best season to visit.
The weather in Arches at this time of year hovers between 45 – 52F as the average high and 22-35F as the average low. So it does get very chilly in the park and the weather at this time of year does tend to deter many people from visiting.
Also December and January are the snowiest months in the park with 3.5 and 4.5 inches of snow expected respectively.
The only downside to visiting Arches in January in particular is that some of the more remote trailheads may shut due to the cold and ice and the unpaved roads in the parks can be shut – though the scenic byway usually remains open throughout the year.
And if you are traveling to Arches National Park with kids or toddlers you may find the hiking more difficult and the lack of ranger programs may reduce the enjoyment of your trip.
Outside of the park, you will find accommodation in the nearby town of Moab to be at its cheapest during the Winter months, so if you are traveling to Arches National Park on a budget this is a great time to visit.
For more information on where to stay near Arches National Park check out this post.
However if you plan on camping in Arches please be aware that only one campground is open in the Winter. That is the Devils Garden Campground. This is available on a first come first serve basis so you should prepare for this if you plan on camping in the park.
Spring in Arches National Park (March, April and May)
Spring may be the best time of year to go to Arches National Park for many types of travellers. Firstly in Spring, the weather has warmed up from the chilly Winter temperatures, and you are unlikely to experience snow and ice on your trip.
However Arches in April is one of the rainiest months in the parks and some of the unpaved roads will shut after rainfall.
The crowds however do start to pick up in the Month of March and from April onwards you will be required to have a timed reservation to visit the park as this is technically counted as high season until October.
If you are visiting Arches National Park for a family vacation, Spring can be a great choice. Not only because the weather makes hiking with little children easier, but also because the Ranger Programs start back up again in the Spring.
Summer in Arches National Park (June, July and August)
Arches tends to be busiest in the summer months of June, July and August, despite the high temperatures you experience in Utah.
July tends to be the hottest month of the year to visit Arches National Park with the average high hovering around 100F. While the average highs in June and August is around the mid nineties. therefore if you are traveling at this time of year it is really important to plan your day to be out of the worst of the sun for hiking as there is very little in terms of shade in the park.
Also at this time of year you will definitely need a reservation to get into the park. Reservations tend to open up 3 months in advance so be sure to plan ahead and make your bookings.
Fall in Arches National Park (September, October and November)
FAll in Arches is very similar to Spring in terms of weather. The temperature range from 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much more pleasant that the temperatures in Summer.
Also you have less risk of trailheads closing due to rain, snow and ice as in Summer and Winter. Therefore if you want to do lots of hiking Fall can be a perfect time to visit.
Crowds are still high in Arches in Fall, but not as high as in summer. Though when we visited over Memorial Day we found the crowds did swell due to the National Public Holiday.
The Best Time of Day to Visit Arches National Park
So now you know how the seasons will affect your visit crowds and weather for your visit we will turn our attention to the best time of day to visit Arches National Park.
Even with timed reservations being instituted during Peak season the park can get exceptionally busy and rangers may instigate crowd control measures such as holding traffic and turning cars away from filled lots.
We recommend arriving to Arches National Park as early as possible. When we visited Arches we headed into the park for sunrise as this helped avoid the crowds and the heat of the day.
After 9am, we saw that many of the car parking lots that we had had virtually to ourselves first thing in the morning were actually full by 9am and visitors at this time struggled to get parked and head out on trails.
Also if you are visiting in Summer, you will not want to be on the trails around midday to early afternoon. The sun is at its highest and strongest at this time of day and there is very little shade in the parks so it can be too hot to walk the parks at this time.
If you are visiting Arches in Summer though be sure to check out our guide to what to pack for Arches in Summer.
Best Month to Visit Arches National Park for Crowds
Arches is the third most visited National Park in Utah and one of the most popular parks nationally with over 1.5 million visitors every year. As such you can expect there to be some level of crowds whatever time of year you visit the park.
However if you want to experience less crowds for your visit to this amazing park we would recommend visiting in Winter i.e. December, January and February. The colder temperatures and possibility of snow and ice tends to put people off visiting in this month.
However there is always a risk that some trails will shut due to inclement weather so you will have to weigh up whether this risk is worth it for the reward of less crowds based on what you want to do in the park.
Best Time of Year to Visit Arches National Park for Cost
It should come as no surprise that the best time of year to visit Arches National Park in term of costs is the same as with crowds.
Hotel costs surge due to supply and demand, and as the parks are quietest in Winter, the hotel costs are also at their lowest.
We have been checking the prices year round for hotel rooms and between November and February you will find the accommodation costs to be at their lowest in Moab.
However due to the temperatures you are unlikely to be able to use amenities such as the pool in your hotel as it will be too cold.
And remember if you plan on visiting more than one national park on your trip or within a year, you are better to purchase an annual National Park pass aka the America the Beautiful Pass which will give your whole vehicle (regardless of amount of people in it) access to the parks for a whole year!
Best Time to Visit Arches National Park for Activities
If guided activities are your thing then you should definitely avoid winter. During the Winter months in Arches National Park, Ranger led activities do not run. This means there are no guided hikes, learning opportunities and more. It may be best to hold off your visit to Spring if these things are of importance to you.
And while ranger activities will be plentiful in summer you have to think about how comfortable you feel in the park out on hikes during the heat of the day. Although I must say rafting in the Moab area is a great thing to do in Summer.
However to get a full day of activities in the park we recommend traveling in Spring or Fall. In spring and fall you will still be able to go on guided activities but you will be able to make use of more of the day as the temperatures are not as high as in summer.
Best Month to Visit Arches National Park for Weather
If you want to have the most comfortable weather for hiking and activities, then the Spring and Fall seasons are best.
In Winter the parks can get very chilly, and it can be very cold, or too cold for some, to go stargazing. And the snow and ice may shut some trails.
While in the summer the temperatures can exceed 100F, which can be too hot to be hiking in the middle of the day.
For this reason we recommend Spring and Fall as having the most comfortable temperatures for spending whole days in the park.
Worst Time to Visit Arches National Park
In my opinion there is no bad time to visit Arches National Park, it really depends on what you want to get out of trip as to which is the best month.
However for many people the combination of high crowds, high temperatures and high accommodation costs make summer the worst time to visit Arches National Park.
However having said that we did visit Arches in Summer, and despite all of the above factors we still had an amazing time.
FAQs About Arches National Park
What day of the week is best to visit Arches National Park?
As with many popular tourist attractions around the world, you will find that Arches is much busier at Weekends and on public holidays.
Therefore we recommend trying to travel to Arches Midweek away from the public holidays if you want to try and beat the crowds at arches.
How long do you need for Arches?
How long you need at Arches really depends on the time of year you travel and what you want to do.
If all you want to do is drive the scenic byway and maybe do a couple of shorter hikes, a day should be sufficient at Arches.
However if you want to do longer trail heads and want to stay out of the sun in summer or are up against less daylight hours in Winter then you may want to allocate two days in Arches National Park.
What time does Arches National Park fill up?
Usually you will find the car parking lots at Arches filled up by 9am. We recommend heading into the park for sunrise or around 6am to ensure that you get a space in a lot of your choice.