Picking the best hikes in Arches National Park isn’t easy. The park is full of amazing views and many of these views are accessible from the main park road, if not a short stroll from a pullout. However, to really see the park you have to get up close and personal, and getting out on the hiking trails is the best way of doing that.
The best hikes in Arches National Park range from a number of easy hikes to more difficult hikes. Depending on the weather and time of year, visitors to Arches really have a ton of options for all types of hiking capabilities.
It was a challenge to narrow down the list, but here are what we think are the best hikes in Arches National Park!
All of these hikes are included in our Arches National Park Itinerary and we rank them (and many others) in order of preference. We also include the elevation gain, the location of each trailhead and their overall difficulty. Finally, we also include details on what to pack for your trip to Arches, where to stay nearby, include useful maps and other details on the park. Our downloadable .pdf is reasonably priced and we also offer a 100% money-back guarantee. Check it out today!
DELICATE ARCH TRAIL
Delicate Arch Trail map, courtesy of the National Park Service
For those looking for a moderately challenging hike, the Delicate Arch Trail is definitely a must-do. This iconic arch is reached after climbing 610 feet in elevation with a total round-trip distance of 3 miles.
The trail starts with a steady uphill climb that lasts just over a mile. While not steep, this climb is exposed the entire way. After the climb, the trail is partly in the shade as hikers make their final push to the arch.
Delicate Arch is breathtaking. A large amphitheater-like formation rock allows hikers to rest (in the shade if you hike it in the morning) while taking in the view. It really is an amazing sight.
If you happen to hike in the middle of summer (like we did), be prepared for this challenge by taking plenty of water with you on the trip. Starting early in the morning is strongly recommended to avoid heat exhaustion. Also, this trail is very popular, so arrive by 8:30 in the morning if you are hiking during the busy times of year.
The trailhead is on Delicate Arch Road, which is about 12 miles north of the park entrance. Make sure you check out the petroglyphs and the Wolfe Ranch near the beginning of the trail.
DEVILS GARDEN TRAIL TO LANDSCAPE ARCH
Devils Garden Trail map, courtesy of the National Park Service
From the Devils Garden Campground there are several great hikes and one of the best in the park is the Devils Garden Trail to Landscape Arch. This is an easy-moderate hike that is relatively flat through red rock formations on its way to one of the most fragile arches in the park. This hike has a round-trip distance of 1.9 miles, will take approximately 1 hour and has a total elevation gain of just over 100 feet.
After starting from the large parking lot the trail starts on a paved trail (which can get quite crowded). After about 0.75 miles, the trail starts to get sandy and becomes a bit more difficult to hike on as it climbs a shallow incline up to landscape arch. This amazing arch extends more than 100 yards in total length and is sure to impress.
On the return trip, take a slight detour to visit Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch. Tunnel Arch (in particular) is a place for great photos.
The trailhead starts at the end of the Park Road, which takes about 45 minutes from the park entrance. This hike can get very crowded, so be prepared to be patient in the large parking lot.
Hike Option: Take the Devils Garden Trail another 1.1 miles to the Double O Arch and Dark Angel, or take the entire Primitive Trail for the full 7.2-mile loop to see Private Arch as well. This is a long journey in the heat, but if you come here in the winter or spring this can be a great option.
SAND DUNE ARCH TRAIL
Sand Dune Arch Trail map, courtesy of the National Park Service
One of the shortest hikes in Arches National Park makes for a great trail for families. The Sand Dune Arch Trail arrives at Sand Dune Arch only 0.2 miles from the parking lot. With approximately 130 feet of elevation gain, the short distance and small amount of climbing makes it great for families or for hiking in the heat of the day.
Sand Dune Arch is unique in that there is a narrow passageway that you have to pass through on the way to the arch, which is surrounded by sandstone.
On this hike it’s possible to find some shade to relax in (depending on the time of day). While short, this trail is highly recommended!
The trailhead starts from the Park Road just about 1.2 miles before the Devils Garden parking area.
Hike Option: Continue 0.6 miles further to Broken Arch. This arch is also accessible from the Devils Garden campground and makes for a nice loop along with Tapestry Arch.
Sand Dune Arch photo courtesy of James St. John
DOUBLE ARCH TRAIL
Double Arch Trail map, courtesy of the National Park Service
The Double Arch Trail is a great hike for families as well. At 0.5-miles (round trip), this trail barely climbs 30 feet on the way up to the site of an incredible set of arches. The trail is a sandy path, but it is well traveled and suitable for all ages.
This hike has a great reward for little effort and is a must-do.
The trailhead starts from the Windows parking area, located about 9 miles north of the park entrance. Be sure to visit the North and South Windows as well as Turret Arch while visiting this area as well.
FIERY FURNACE TRAIL
Fiery Furnace Trail map, courtesy of the National Park Service
The Fiery Furnace Trail was one of the highlights of our visit and is without a doubt one of the best hikes in Arches National Park. This 1.8-mile round trip, guided hike takes adventurers into the heart of a seemingly unnavigable rock formation full of surprises around every corner. There is a total of around 700 feet of elevation gain.
The hike is slow-paced, but goes through many different types of rock formations. You’ll see a few arches and get to experience rock scrambling and climbing through narrow passages. You should be in good shape, have good balance and at least some upper body strength. Don’t be intimidated by this hike, but just make sure you are up for it!
The trailhead starts at the Fiery Furnace Parking area, 13 miles north of the park entrance. Note that you must have reservations to take this guided hike and they are able to be made many months in advance. Reservations for Fiery Furnace can be made here.
FURTHER INFORMATION ON ARCHES NATIONAL PARK FROM JUST GO TRAVEL STUDIOS
- We cover information all these trails and more in our itinerary for Arches National Park.
- We covered the Fiery Furnace trail in detail in our blog, Hiking the Fiery Furnace Trail. This hike is incredible and something you’ll want to check out!
- After your trip, send us a photo so we can create custom, vintage-style posters, postcards and note cards that are personalized and made just for you!
ADDITIONAL USEFUL INFORMATION ON ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
- Nearby Arches National Park is Dead Horse State Park. Jamie (from “PhotoJeepers”) put together a great guide on what to do in Dead Horse State Park. She also has a ton of great info on photography.
- Traveling with a dog? Arches isn’t the best place, but Alicia (from “Girl on a Hike”) covers the best hikes with dogs in Moab.