Perfect Arches National Park 1, 2, & 3 Day Itinerary

Nestled in the heart of southeastern Utah’s high desert, Arches National Park is a mesmerizing landscape, home to over 2,000 natural stone arches, towering pinnacles, and vast fins of rock. It’s one of the most incredible places to visit in the whole state of Utah.

My first visit here was on a camping trip in 2001, and I simply couldn’t get enough, and planned several other trips here with friends and family. For the last 17 years, we’ve been bringing our kids here and as Utah locals, we spend a lot of our free time in the desert in and around Arches National Park. The area has a stong hold on our hearts and memories. With all of our experience exploring Arches National Park, we’ll show you the best way to maximize your time, what sights you absolutely can’t miss, and the hidden adventure spots that most people skip over in the Arches National Park Itinerary.

Arches national park

Best Time to Visit Arches National Park

The best time to visit Arches National Park is during the early spring (March and April) and fall (mid-September to October) months. During these periods, the temperatures are more moderate, making hiking and getting out to explore much more comfortable compared to the sweltering heat of the summer. These seasons also offer spectacular colors, with spring bringing wildflowers and fall showcasing a range of autumn hues against the red rock formations.

Park avenue arches national park

Summer temperatures are regularly above 105°F, which not only makes daytime activities uncomfortable but also poses a risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Visiting Arches during winter will be the least crowded time to visit Arches. The temperatures can get pretty cool, often dropping below freezing at night. While it doesn’t snow much in Arches, the colder temperatures in winter can leave ice on some of the more shaded trails. Personally, winter is one of my favorite times to visit Arches and with just a few layers, the colder winter temperatures aren’t a problem.

Arches National Park is open year-round, so you can choose the best time for your family visit to Arches.

One Day in Arches National Park: A Perfect Itinerary

Arches National Park, with its stunning landscape of contrasting colors, landforms, and textures, offers an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Utah’s high desert. If you have just one day to explore this iconic park, planning your itinerary carefully ensures you experience its most majestic sights. From sunrise to sunset, here’s how to make the most of your day in Arches National Park.

While this itinerary covers the highlights, there’s much more to see if you find yourself with extra time or decide to return for a longer visit or are looking for bigger bucket-list adventures in Arches and Canyonlands.

1 Day Arches Itinerary Morning:

Hike Park Avenue

Begin your day early to beat the crowds and the heat with a hike down Park Avenue. This 1-mile trail (one way) offers an awe-inspiring introduction to the park, with towering monoliths and massive fins reminiscent of skyscrapers lining a city street. The morning light casts incredible shadows, making for dramatic photographs.

Capture the Moment at Balanced Rock

Balanced rock arches national park

Next, make a quick stop at Balanced Rock, one of the park’s most iconic features that’s just off the road. This giant balancing rock, as tall as three school buses, is an easy walk from the parking lot. It’s a perfect spot for a memorable photo, especially in the soft morning light, and a stop here can be done in 5-10 minutes.

Explore the Windows Section

Dedicate the rest of your morning to exploring the Windows area, which houses a high concentration of arches within a short distance, including Turret Arch, North and South Windows, and Double Arch. These easy-to-access landmarks offer a fantastic view of what makes Arches National Park so unique, with relatively short trails leading up to and around each arch. All 4 of these arches are accessible from the Windows Parking area, so plan on staying there for a bit.

1 Day in Arches Afternoon Itinerary

Hike Delicate Arch

delicate arch hike

As the sun climbs higher, head towards the Delicate Arch trailhead for what is arguably the park’s most famous hike. This 3-mile round-trip hike is moderately challenging, with no shade, so be sure to bring water, sun protection, and snacks. Reaching Delicate Arch—a freestanding natural wonder—provides a moment of pure magic. Standing beneath or near it, you’ll feel the grandeur of nature’s artwork. The afternoon light begins to warm the colors of the arch, making it a photographer’s dream. The hike takes 2-3 hours total depending on your fitness level and how long you want to hang out at the arch after you get there. To get the best parking spot, go later in the day, but early enough that you’ll be back to your car 45 minutes before sunset.

Evening at Arches National Park

Watch the Sunset at Garden of Eden

garden of eden arches national park utah

After a day of exploring, there’s no better way to conclude your visit than by watching the sunset at the Garden of Eden. This less crowded area offers panoramic views and remarkable rock formations that glow under the setting sun. It’s one of the best places to watch the sunset in Arches National Park and it’s super easy to get to as well. Depending on the time of year and how late the sun goes down, this is also a great spot for a picnic!

2 Day Arches National Park Itinerary

If you’re spending 2 days in Arches National Park, you’ll get to see many of the things that most visitors miss when they just spend one day. Planning a 2 day Arches Itinerary will give you more time to get further into the park, where fewer crowds are.

Visit Arches National Park Day 1

Follow the 1 day in Arches National Park itinerary above.

Morning of Day 2 in Arches

Start your day at the Devils Garden Trailhead. Here you there are 9 different arches that all take off from the same trailhead. If you want something simple, just go up to Landscape Arch, viewing Pinetree and Tunnel Arches along the way. Landscape Arch is the longest arch in North America and is a pretty spectacular scene. This hike is just under 2 miles. The trail to Landscape Arch is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, making it a perfect Arches hike with young kids.

If you want to go farther, you can keep going along the trail for as long as you want. To see all of the arches in Devils Garden, the hike will be about 8 miles long and will take 3-4 hours. As you hike through Devils Garden, not only will you see lots of arches, but you’ll be surrounded by spires, fins, and other amazing geology that make this area so unique.

Afternoon of day 2 in Arches

After lots of hiking on the morning of your second day in Arches National Park, the afternoon will be a bit more slow paced. Eat a picnic lunch at the Devil’s Garden picnic area and then head south to Sand Dune Arch. If you’ve got kids, this is a place that they’ll want to stay for a while and play, since the whole area is like a giant shaded sandbox (with an arch to make the scenery better). You’ll see kids with buckets, shovels and sand toys enjoying playing in the powdery soft sand of Sand Dune Arch.

After you’ve spent enough time at Sand Dune Arch, keep hiking to Broken Arch. Contrary to what the name suggests, Broken Arch isn’t broken at all, but got its name for the large crack in the middle. This is a pretty straightforward hike through juniper trees.

Sunset at Arches

Plan on watching the sunset at Park Avenue or Balanced Rock. Both are easy to get to and won’t take much energy after your long day of hiking Arches National Park.

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Day 3 in Arches National Park

Fiery Furnace

Fiery furnace hike

With this National Park itinerary, we’re saving the absolute BEST for last! The Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park is a natural labyrinth of narrow sandstone canyons, towering spires, and arches that create a captivating maze unlike any other. This unique geological feature gets its name from the deep red and orange hues of the sandstone, which seem to glow like flames under the intense sunlight, especially at sunset. Unlike the park’s more open landscapes, the Fiery Furnace offers an immersive experience that feels both intimate and expansive. Navigating through its complex network requires a sense of adventure and a willingness to explore, as there are no marked trails or signs within this natural maze. The area is accessible only by guided tours or with a special permit, ensuring its delicate ecosystem is preserved and that visitors have a knowledgeable guide to lead them through the twisting canyons and cul-de-sacs.

delicate arch hike

Exploring the Fiery Furnace is one of the best ways to really see what Arches is like without crowds and trails and to really immerse yourself in the park. The most difficult thing about hiking the Fiery Furnace is that yu must have a permit to go there. There are 75 permits issued per day and in order to be issued a permit, you have to do a safety and conservation training with a National Park Ranger. Permits open 1 week before you want to enter and cost $10/person. If you’ve never been to the Arches Fiery Furnace before, you’ll want to go on a Ranger Guided Tour. The chances of getting lost here are incredibly high, so going with a ranger is the safest optino for your first visit.

Inside of the Fiery Furnace, you’ll be scrambling over slick rock, chimmying through slot canyons and walking under hidden arches. You’ll want to be reasonably fit for this Arches National Park adventure.

Evening on Day 3 in Arches

Watch the sunset at Skyline Arch.

How many days should I spend in Arches National Park?

I think that the ideal length of time to spend in Arches is 2.5 days, though you’ll need at least 5 days in the Moab area. While you’re here, plan on spending time in Canyonlands National Park just down the road and experiencing some of the best outdoor adventures in Moab and our favorite hikes with kids in Moab.

What To Know About Arches Timed Entry Ticket Reservation System

The Timed Entry Reservation System implemented at Arches National Park is a measure designed to manage the influx of visitors and mitigate overcrowding, ensuring a sustainable and enjoyable experience for all. Timed Entry Tickets are required for all visitors from April 1- October 31 from 7am-4pm daily.

To obtain a reservation, visitors are required to book their entry time slot through This process involves selecting a specific date and entry window for visiting the park. Here is when reservations are released:
April reservations (April 1–30) open January 2 at 8 am MST
May reservations (May 1–31) open February 1 at 8 am MST
June reservations (June 1–30) open March 1 at 8 am MST
July reservations (July 1–30) open April 1 at 8 am MDT
August reservations (August 1–31) open May 1 at 8 am MDT
September reservations (September 1–30) open June 1 at 8 am MDT
October reservations (October 1–31) open July 1 at 8 am MDT

Arches national park visitors center

While it is possible to get into the park really early in the day before reservations are required at 7am, there is often a long line of cars trying to get in then, so a reservation is the best option. A small number of tickets will be available the day before and are released at 7 pm MDT through These sell out VERY FAST, so keep that in mind as you plan your trip. There is a $2 processing fee per reservation.

Arches National Park offers an extraordinary landscape of contrasting colors, landforms, and textures that beckon explorers of all ages and interests. Whether you have just one day to soak in the iconic views, two days to delve a bit deeper into the park’s vast network of trails, or three days to immerse yourself fully in its natural beauty and backcountry wilderness, Arches provides a multitude of ways to connect with the natural world. Each itinerary is designed to maximize your experience, from witnessing the ethereal glow of sunrise at Park Avenue to the unforgettable sight of sunset at Delicate Arch.

With thoughtful planning, each visit can be tailored to include a mix of the park’s most famous landmarks as well as its hidden gems, offering a balance of adventure and tranquility. Remember, no matter the length of your stay, the key to an amazing visit to Arches National Park lies in respecting this fragile ecosystem. Stay on designated paths, carry out what you carry in, and always use water and other resources sparingly. As you explore Arches National Park over one, two, or three days, you’ll not only discover the timeless beauty of its landscape but also the importance of preserving such treasures for future generations to enjoy.

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