You could easily spend a long weekend camping, hiking, biking, and exploring this scenic area. But if you only have one day to explore this mesmerizing park heres what you should do and how to spend it.
Rise early to beat the crowds and the heat. Start your day by hiking the Delicate Arch Trail. This popular 3 mile round trip hike is moderate to strenuous but worth every step. Once you arrive, you’ll understand why it gets so crowded, its beautiful and sits atop a graceful, slanting red rock. Delicate Arch is a staggering 45 feet high and 33 feet wide and you’ll be able to carefully walk on the slick red rock to stand underneath it in the center which creates some epic photos! The hike up to the arch is an adventure in itself as you carve up and around the mountain and the views are mesmerizing as distant canyons and the La Sal Mountains create the perfect backdrop. This hike should take about 2 hours round trip and is personally one of my favorite hikes that I’ve ever done.
Once you’re back at your car, continue going through the park towards Devils Garden Tailhead, which is at the end of the park. Stop at Sand Dune Arch, Broken Arch, and Skyline Arch along the way. Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch you can see from where you park your car but you can also hike a easy sandy trail to see them up close and personal. You’ll reach Sand Dune Arch first, keep on the trail then you’ll reach Broken Arch. In total it’s 1 mile round trip and takes about 45 minutes.
Skyline Arch is 1 mile up the road from the Sand Dune and Broken Arch Trailhead and you won’t have to walk far from your car to be able to see it.
You’ll be hungry by the time you reach Devils Garden which is the perfect place to eat. The Devils Garden campground has a picnic area so don’t forget to pack your lunch! After lunch start at the Devils Garden Trailhead and hike to Landscape Arch. This arch has a span of 360 feet, which is roughly the size of a football field. It is one of the longest unsupported rock spans in the world. This hike is an easy 2 miles round trip and should take about an hour.
Now, you’ll want to head back towards the park entrance, retracing your steps. This time you’ll stop at Panorama Point (after the Delicate Arch) to soak in the views and continue to the Windows Section of Arches. The Windows Section is a group of giant arches that can only be seen if you walk the 1 mile sandy trail loop. There is a second trail that is a half mile long and this leads to Double Arch, another iconic Arch. These trails are easy and suitable for any fitness level.
Garden of Eden Viewpoint is on the way back to the main road and worth a stop and offers a great panorama of the Salt Valley to the north. You can also see a small Delicate Arch from across the valley perched atop the red rock.
Lastly, you’ll stop at Balanced Rock before exiting the park. Once you see this boulder resting high atop a tall thin slab of red rock you’ll be like ‘Yup, that’s a balanced rock.’ There is also a picnic area here located across the road.
Alright you did it! You had an awesome day of hiking, exploring iconic arches, taking pictures and chewing up the scenery. Now head to Moab to rest your tired feet or if you’re in need of a victory beer like I always am, head to the Moab brewery to sip on a well deserved craft ale or lager. Bonus since you’ll be at the brewery the alcohol percentage will be true and doesn’t have to be a low 3 % so what are you waiting for, get your drink on.
Accommodation Recommendations in Moab:
- The Lazy Lizard Hostel – Simple dorm-style accommodations. All guests have access to a hot tub, kitchen, showers, common area with TV, bbq area, and a coin operated laundry machine. Ideal for someone on a budget wanted to explore this beautiful part of the country. Prices start at $11 per bed per night.
- Rustic Inn – Well-equipped, spacious rooms with a huge TV, 2 Queen beds and a nice kitchenette. Heated pool and free coffee in the lobby. Perfect mid range accommodation. Prices start at $140 a night.
- Gonzo Inn– Located 5 miles from the entrance to Arches National Park. This colorful southwest-style hotel features a courtyard with a pool and whirlpool, free Wi-Fi and a daily breakfast are provided. Prices start at $210 a night.
Click here to search for accommodations on your own.
- Devils Garden Campground
- BLM Lands
- Remember you are in the desert so have plenty of water on you at all times
- Sunscreen and a hat are needed especially in the summer as the sun is relentless
- There are no dining facilities in the park, just picnic tables
- Wear good walking shoes with rubber soles to avoid slipping on the slick rock
- It’s easier to go up slick rock slope than it is to come down
- Don’t forget your camera and extra memory card as you’ll want to take a picture every where you turn!
If you’re wanting to explore more of Utah check out my Best of Utah’s National Parks in 1 Week . Have you ever explored all the Utah has to offer? Leave a comment and let me know what you loved most about Utah? And for more of my adventures across the globe check out @imjess_traveling.