Hiking Arches National Park Trails

Hiking Arches National Park trails is the best way to visit the park. The park is home to countless short hiking trails that feature jaw-dropping rock formations. From hoodoos to expansive archways, this area offers up some impressive geological features that beg you to come closer. In this guide to hiking Arches National Park, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about visiting the magnificent landscape.

When is the Best Time to Hike in Arches National Park?

You can hike year-round in Arches National Park, however, spring and fall are the best months for exploring the park. Temperatures are typically cooler and the weather is more predictable. This also coincides with the busy time for the park, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.

Summer is another popular time, but keep in mind that soaring daytime temperatures make it difficult to get motivated for a hike. Not to mention, you’re more likely to suffer from dehydration and heat exhaustion.

If you don't mind the cold, then winter is another lovely time to visit Arches National Park. Typically, the crowds are far fewer, meaning you’ll find more solitude in the park. Lucky visitors might visit after a dusting of snow, making for a truly breathtaking experience.

Expert Tips for Hiking Arches National Park

When it comes to hiking Arches National Park, there are several things you need to know before you go. Here are a few tips for hiking in the desert:

  • Don’t bust the crust! Did you know that the black, raised crust soil is actually alive? This cryptobiotic soil plays a vital role in erosion control and it takes time to grow. So stay on the trail and follow all the signs. If you do find yourself off-route, stick to hard surfaces, and avoid busting up this soil.
  • Be prepared for the heat. Even when the temps are in the 70's, it’s still very hot in the desert. Pack sun protection, plenty of water (3 liters for a big hike isn’t uncommon), and bring salty snacks to stay healthy out there.
  • Bring a first aid kit. The desert is a rough place. Cactus spines, prickly bushes, and scraped up legs aren’t uncommon. Make sure you have tweezers in your first aid kit.
  • Get there early. Arches National Park can get super crowded with limited parking. Plan to be in the park before the sun gets up for your best chance to beat the crowds.
  • Follow all signage. Rangers, signs, and closures are all around to keep you safe and protect this precious landscape. Always follow the rules while in the park.
  • Pack it out. If you bring it in, you bring it out. This includes all trash (toilet paper, fruit peels, gum, anything). 
  • Use the toilets. Toilets can be found at most trailheads and the visitor center. Nothing breaks down in the desert and it’s unlawful to go to the bathroom and not pack out your human waste.

Pro Tip: Planning to visit for multiple days? Pick up an America the Beautiful Annual Park Pass. You’ll save money and be able to access hundreds of national parks and other national recreation areas throughout the country.

What to Expect While Hiking in Arches National Park

One of the best parts about hiking Arches National Park trails is the accessibility. Most trails are short and easy, making this a great spot for newbie hikers. Although, experienced desert hikers will enjoy the easy terrain and well-marked trails. You’ll also be able to go on several hikes in a day, so be sure to plan an itinerary that works for you.

The Most Spectacular Arches National Park Hikes

There are many great hikes in Arches National Park. Of course, there are the classics, like Delicate Arch, but there’s a lot of other noteworthy hikes you should add to your itinerary:

Overall, be sure to carve out some time for hiking Arches National Park. You won’t be disappointed with the gravity-defying rock features that make up this unbelievable landscape.