Arches National Park 3-, 4- and 5-Day Itinerary

May 29, 2024

Are you planning a trip to Arches National Park? If you are interested in adventure, gorgeous views and memorable photographs, Arches does not disappoint. Over 1.5 million people visit this park every year. This year, you could be one of them!

To help you navigate the park, we have created an easy Arches National Park itinerary with several variations to follow. The best itinerary depends on how much time you have and what activities you are interested in. We recommend spending at least three full days exploring the park!

Panorama of Delicate Arch in Arches National Park Utah

How to Spend Two Days in Arches National Park

If you are wondering what to see at Arches National Park in two days, start with these seven major landmarks on the Arches National Park map:

  • Courthouse Towers
  • Petrified Dunes
  • Rock Pinnacles
  • The Windows Section
  • Fiery Furnace
  • Devils Garden
  • Klondike Bluffs

Because the park is not very large, you can visit several of these locations in a single day. Regardless of the length of your visit, the Windows Section is a must. It offers beautiful views and famous arches and is located near the center of the park. Devils Garden is a favorite for active hikers — this hike has several challenging sections but is doable for anyone who is OK with a little scrambling up and down rocks.

You can view two fascinating rock formations, the Petrified Dunes and Rock Pinnacles, along the scenic drive between Courthouse Towers and the turn into the Windows Section. Past the Windows Section, a right turn takes you out to see Delicate Arch, an iconic landmark in Arches.

You will need a special permit or a ranger guide to gain entry into the twisting tunnels of the Fiery Furnace, a winding maze of sandstone rocks. It is very easy to get lost on this trail, and traversing it takes more skill and strength than other trails in the park. Visitors who want a more isolated experience can drive all the way to the north of the park and explore the rocky Klondike Bluffs area.

How Does Timed Entry Work at Arches National Park?

To help manage traffic in this popular park and keep parking accessible, the National Park Service uses a reservation system with timed entry to Arches National Park.

You can visit the official National Park Service page to make Arches National Park reservations. You must book reservations several months ahead of time, and they can sell out quickly due to high demand. You can also enter the park without reservations either before 7 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

To enter between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., you will need both a timed entry ticket and your National Park pass or park entrance fee. You can choose from several different pass options depending on how long you plan to stay. Learn more about park passes on the National Park Service website, and choose the option that best fits your budget.

Wispy bird-like clouds over iconic Balanced Rock against the La Sal Mountain in Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.

Arches National Park Itinerary for Three Days

If you have scheduled three days to explore Arches National Park, here is an itinerary you can follow to get the most out of your time:

Day 1: Hiking and the Windows Section

Follow this itinerary for some hiking and stunning viewpoints:

  1. Enter the park before 7 a.m. without a reservation or after 7 with a timed entry reservation.
  2. Hike the 1.8-mile Park Avenue Trail, out and back, to see Courthouse Towers.
  3. Stop at the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint.
  4. Stop at the Petrified Dunes Viewpoint.
  5. Stop to see Balanced Rock and eat a packed lunch.
  6. Turn right and explore the Windows Section over the afternoon. Some rock formations to see include the Parade of Elephants, Turret Arch, North Window, South Window and Double Arch.
  7. Eat a packed dinner, then head out of the park to spend the night at your campground.

Day 2: Devils Garden and Rock Formations

Day two has more great viewpoints along a scenic drive:

  1. Enter the park, drive past the Windows Section and stop at Panorama Point.
  2. Pass the right turn toward Delicate Arch and drive north to Salt Valley Overlook and Fiery Furnace Overlook.
  3. Keep driving north to Devils Garden and complete one of the many hikes in the area.
  4. Eat a packed lunch.
  5. Explore the Skyline Arch Trail.
  6. Drive south and turn left toward the historic Wolfe Ranch, settled in 1898.
  7. Hike the trail out to Delicate Arch, or opt to view this iconic rock formation from the Delicate Arch Viewpoint. Catching the sunset at this location is stunning!
  8. Drive out of the park to your campground for the night.

Looking through Tower Arch in the Klondike Bluffs area of Arches National Park, Utah.

Day 3: Tower Arch Trail

Close out your three-day Arches National Park trip itinerary with a gorgeous hike on Tower Arch Trail:

  1. Enter the park in the morning. Just before the Windows Section, take the Willow Flats road on the left. Turn right to keep driving north into the park, toward Klondike Bluffs.
  2. Hike the Tower Arch Trail. It should take a couple of hours and has some challenging sections.
  3. Drive back toward Devils Garden along Salt Valley Road, and eat a packed lunch.
  4. Revisit your favorite location during the afternoon.
  5. Enjoy the scenic drive out of the park on your last day!

Check out the National Park Service website for more information on each hike, so you can prepare and choose the hikes that best match your fitness and comfort level.

Arches National Park Itinerary for Four Days

If you have time for a fourth day, you can choose from several different activities to finish your trip with something special. Here are some suggestions:

  • Option 1: Drive to the Fiery Furnace and tour the twisting trail with a park ranger. If you have been there before, consider getting a self-guided exploration permit so you can take this trail yourself. It is very easy to get lost, so go with a group, and make sure you have a good sense of direction. If you go with a ranger, the tour will take about two hours and 30 minutes.
  • Option 2: Drive south to the Canyonlands to explore a second national park during your last day. A Canyonlands National Park itinerary should include the Island in the Sky and Needles District. If you have time to explore more of this beautiful park, you should! You can find the Island in the Sky section near the northern park entrance, about 30 minutes from Arches National Park. The southern part of the park, the Needles District, is an hour and a half away from the entrance to Arches.
  • Option 3: Book a jeep tour! Moab, the town closest to Arches, is famous for its desert jeep tours. You will not believe the roads these vehicles are able to take through the beautiful scenery in Utah. This high-adrenaline activity is a great choice if you are traveling with kids — it may be your child’s favorite memory from the trip.

Arches National Park Itinerary for Five Days

Planning a five-day trip to Arches means you have even more time to explore the surrounding area and savor every moment. You can easily spend five days inside Arches National Park, especially if you are a rock climber or photographer.

Adding a fifth day to the above Arches National Park sample itinerary also gives you leeway for additional hikes and other activities. We recommend using this day to explore a section of Arches that you missed, try out an activity you did not previously have time for or explore more of Canyonland.

The Turret Arch in the Arches National Park, Utah.

More Information and FAQs on Arches National Park

Explore these answers to common questions about visiting Arches National Park.

Things to Do at Arches National Park

You will find several must-see sights at Arches National Park, and people come from around the world for many different reasons, including:

  • To see the beautiful views
  • To hike the trails
  • To stargaze
  • To rock climb in permitted areas
  • As part of a National Park loop

Arches National Park offers a scenic drive. While some people soak in the scenery from their car, others prefer hiking, rock climbing or posing for stunning photography against the red sandstone scenery.

What Are the Utah Mighty Five?

There are five national parks in Utah, commonly referred to as Utah’s Mighty Five. Visitors often visit Arches and the other four parks in one big loop, since they are all relatively close to each other. The Utah Mighty Five include:

  • Zion National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park

Each one of these parks has unique features. Visiting all five in a row can help you appreciate the diversity found in Utah’s desert climate. Camping, RVing or road-tripping throughout these Southwest parks makes for a stunning journey. If you only have time for two parks, consider visiting Canyonlands and Arches — they are very close to each other.

A woman walks through North Window Arch with Turret Arch in the background

What Gear to Pack for Arches National Park

The gear you will need to visit Arches depends on when you visit the park and what activities you plan to do there. For example, rock climbers will need to pack climbing gear and pay for a climbing permit. Hikers should dress in layers so they can adjust to changing temperatures.

In addition to any specialized gear, everyone visiting the park should bring these essentials:

  • Water: During the summer, it gets incredibly hot in Arches. Taking water with you on long hikes and staying hydrated throughout your visit is crucial. You can generally find additional water at the Visitor Center and Devils Garden campground.
  • Sunscreen and sun-blocking clothes: Sunscreen and clothing that protect you from the sun are essential during the summer.
  • Food: The park does not have restaurants, so make sure you pack in everything you need — snacks, meals, energy drinks and more.
  • Hiking Boots: Although some of the trails are flat, others may be sandy or slippery. A good pair of hiking boots with traction is essential for exploring and enjoying the park.
  • Arches National Park Map: Cell coverage is limited in the park, so your phone may not work. Bring a paper map or pick one up when you get there!

What Is the Best Month to Visit Arches National Park?

To avoid extreme temperatures, most people visit Arches between April and May or mid-September and October. Although the weather will be more comfortable, you will likely find more people hiking and taking photos alongside your group. For a less crowded experience, you may prefer to visit during the off-season, weather permitting.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Arches National Park?

Arches is in a high desert region, so visitors can experience a wide range of temperatures during a single day. Temperatures in July and August can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while winter snows can lead to trickier trails. However, by checking the weather and preparing well, visitors can come and enjoy the park year-round.

The famous Sand Dune Arch in the Arches National Park, Utah. A red rock arch under a blue sky with wispy clouds.

How Many Days Do I Need in Arches National Park?

The best itinerary for Arches National Park depends on you — the length of your vacation, what you would like to do and any nearby locations you would like to visit. We recommend exploring Arches National Park and the surrounding area for a minimum of three days.

Is It Worth Driving Through Arches National Park?

Yes, the scenic road through Arches National Park is a wonderful way to enjoy this park. You can see many interesting features from the road, and you can pull over in several places to enjoy the view.

If you have trouble getting around but want to see some of the famous arches, several of them are located near the road. For instance, Double Arch is only a five-minute flat walk from the nearby parking lot. You can view Delicate Arch from a distance at the Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint, located only 100 yards away from its parking lot.

The Park Avenue walk is under a mile and offers stunning views of Courthouse Towers, a collection of huge rock monuments near the entrance to the park. The trail connects the Park Avenue Viewpoint and Courthouse Towers Viewpoint and is mostly flat except for some steep stairs at the end.

While not wheelchair accessible, Park Avenue is good for a short hike — especially if you skip the stairs and come back the way you came. Walking between the rock formations will make you feel tiny and immerse you in the beautiful landscape.

Stay at Kampgrounds of America to Visit Arches National Park

Arches National Park is full of stunning geology and exciting activities. Staying at a campground puts you close to the action, and the Moab KOA Holiday, just 15 minutes from the park, has options for every style of travel. Stay in a Tent Site, RV Site, Camping Cabin or Deluxe Cabin.

This location offers Wi-Fi services, laundry and bathroom facilities, a KampK9® dog park, a pool and incredible views of the surrounding scenery. When you visit, you will be greeted by friendly staff dedicated to giving you a great experience.

Reserve your stay with the Moab KOA Holiday online to start planning your visit to Arches National Park!

About the Author: Kampgrounds of America

Kampgrounds of America is the largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds in the world, with over 500 locations across the United States and Canada. Founded in Billings, MT in 1962, KOA’s family of campground brands – KOA Journey, KOA Holiday and KOA Resort – today serve more than a million camping families each year. KOA is dedicated to “connecting people to the outdoors and each other” by providing people with a variety of camping experiences and the information they need to make the most of their camping trip. Read more of their camping and travel resources by visiting

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