How many days for Arches National Park do you need? In this guide we will tell you exactly how many days you need in the park and what you can achieve in your Arches itineraries.
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Considerations for how many days you need for Arches National Park
When you are looking at how many days you need for Arches National Park there are a couple of key things you need to consider:
- the types of activities you want to do
- the time of year you are visiting
- expected crowds
- where you are staying
Types of Activities
One of the things we loved about Arches was the fact there were hikes for every skill level. However depending of the types of hikes you want to do will depend on the time you need.
As we were visiting Arches National Park with kids we were sticking to smaller hikes of around an hour long. However if you plan on doing some of the longer hikes and plan to hike to Delicate Arch which is a 3 mile walk, you will obviously need longer in the park.
Time of Year
The time of year you are visiting will greatly affect how long you need in the park.
In the Winter, you don’t have as many daylight hours which will reduce what you can get done in a day.
However if you are visiting in Summer, chances are you won’t want to be hiking in the Midday sun when temperatures can top 100F. So you need to careful plan what is achievable based on the time of year you visit.
For more information on the best time to visit Arches National Park check out this post.
The time of year you travel depends on the type of crowds you will experience.
Peak time in Arches runs from April to October. The reason crowds will affect how much time you need is because after 9am, many of the parking lots can get full. If you are trying to get things done later in the day you may struggle to get parked which will affect what you can get done.
Where you are staying?
It is really important to get an early start to your day in Arches. Firstly, it will help you beat the crowds and heat.
Also, depending on where you are staying will depend on how long it takes you to get into the park. We recommend either camping in the park itself or staying in the nearby town of Moab. This will greatly reduce your transfer time into the park.
For more information on where to stay in Moab check out this post.
We recommend getting into the park for sunrise for around 6am to 7am. This way you will be able to ensure you get parked easily at the sites that have limited parking.
When we have been in the park we found that by 9am the parking lots can be full.
Can you see Arches National Park in One day?
One of the things we like about Arches National Park is that you can in fact see it in one day.
By comparison to other national Parks such as Yellowstone National Park for instance, Arches is relatively small and you can actually achieve a lot in one day.
Now obviously if you only have one day in Arches, you won’t be able to complete every trailhead. However you can see a lot of the must see Arches sights.
For instance, in one day in Arches you can see Delicate Arch. The Delicate Hike Trail is 3 miles and is one of the park’s biggest attractions.
On top of this hike you will be able to see some of the other must sees that are on shorter trails such as the Balanced rock, Windows, PArk Avenue, Double Arch and potentially even the Landscape Arch.
Do you Need Two Days in Arches?
Two days in arches National Park will ensure that you hit all of the Arches must see sites. For instance you will be able to see:
- Delicate Arch
- Devils Arch
- Landscape Arch
- Balanced rock,
- Park Avenue and
- Double Arch.
Having two days in the park will also take off the pressure if one of the days you find a specific car park lot full.
What Else to Consider for your Moab itinerary?
But before you book just one or two days in the Arches area it is worth pointing out that there is more to Moab than just Arches National Park.
From Moab you can also visit Canyonlands National Park. This National Park is split into three areas:
- Island in the Sky,
- Needles and
- the Maze.
As we traveled to Canyonlands National Park with kids, we stuck to the Island in the sky area as this has the easiest hikes. But depending on which bit you want to explore, will depend on how much time you will need in this park.
You could try to do Canyonlands and Arches in one day however you will miss some of the main sights.
Also nearby there is the amazing State Park – the Dead Horse Point State Park which in other parts of the country would be a national park.
Important Information for Visiting Arches National Park
Arches National Park is the 3rd most popular national park in Utah, and draws over 1.5million visitors a year.
Therefore to protect the park and its ecology and geology, they have instituted a reservation system during peak season.
Peak Season at Arches National Park usually runs from April through to October. During this period a timed reservation ticket is required.
Reservations usually open up around 3 months prior to visit date. But keep checking the website and make your reservation well in advance to get a time slot and the date you want.
Buy A National Parks Pass
If you are planning to visit more than one national park in the year (you are likely going to do at least two being based in Moab) then you might want to consider getting an annual national parks pass, aka the American the Beautiful Pass. If you visit multiple parks this will be a cost saving as for 80USD you will get the whole family (one vehicle) entry at all the US National Parks.