Arches National Park
Guide

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Introduction

There is no better place to see a beautiful sunset than over Arches National Park. This park is known for its breathtaking rock formations -- home to more than 2,000 unique and natural stone arches plus impressive pinnacles, giant fins, and balancing rocks. Arches is a place like none other in the world -- you won’t find its variety of landforms, colors, and textures anywhere else. Indulge your creativity by naming what the formations look like to you, and lose yourself in this amazing red-rock wonderland with you stay here in your RV.

There are many ways to immerse yourself in the beautiful Utah landmarks. Take a scenic drive through or get hands-on by backpacking, camping or rock climbing. No matter how you wish to experience the park, there are designated areas, maintained trails, and knowledgeable park rangers to help you stay safe while you see it all.

Spring and fall are the most popular times to visit the national park, due to the weather being neither too hot nor too cold. Summer is also a very popular time, but the weather is hot. Fortunately, because the park is located in the Utah desert, that means that the temperature drops lower in the evening and early mornings, so be sure to dress and pack in layers. You won’t have to worry about humidity though, especially if you’re camping overnight. It’s the perfect kind of weather for lying under a brilliant view of the stars, surrounded by magnificent red-rock formations.

There’s something for everyone to enjoy at Arches. Whether you are new to hiking or are a professional backpacker, there are options for everyone. Hiking trails provide for everything from short tours to days-long treks. And you don’t have to be a rock climber to get great views -- but if do you come to climb, opportunities abound. Camping here in your RV is a great way to experience the impressive beauty of Arches National Park.

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RV Rentals in Arches National Park

Transportation in Arches National Park

Driving

This is the best and most popular way of arriving and getting around once in the park. You can find the entrance to this park just north of the town of Moab, Utah. Just drive north on US 191 for 5 miles from Moab, or drive south on US 191 for 22 miles from Interstate 70. Once in the park, you’ll find that by bringing a vehicle of your own, you’ll have convenient access to various viewpoints and trailheads from taking the scenic drives.

Parking

While this park does have various places to park your vehicle, parking is limited due to popularity, especially during the tourist season. If you’ve brought an RV, consider leaving it at your campsite or outside the park in order to save you from the trouble of trying to find a place to park it.

Public Transport

While driving is the most popular and preferred method of transportation throughout the park, there are also the options of taking a bike tour or a commercial tour. Biking is only recommended for those with plenty of experience -- the path is narrow and you have to be aware of the heavy car traffic. With a commercial tour, though, you can have leave the driving to someone else and learn about the sights along the way.

Campgrounds and parking in Arches National Park

Campsites in Arches National Park

Reservations camping

Moab KOA

In the middle of some of the most gorgeous canyons the United States has to offer, you will find Moab KOA, the closest KOA to Arches National Park. Full of amazing sights and creatures with three dynamic national parks nearby, this area has tons to explore. Moab KOA also has the amenities to round out your stay with Wi-Fi, cable TV, a pool, a sauna, sites for rigs up to 80 feet, and much more to sustain you in between the sight-seeing trips. Moab KOA and the surrounding scenic areas provide plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors whether you enjoy biking, hiking, walking, or just relaxing.

Green River KOA

Surrounded by nature on a grand scale, Green River, Utah, is within 90 minutes or less from three national parks: Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef. Stay close to all the sights while at the Green River KOA, conveniently located right on the I-70 Business Loop. Big rigs up to 80 feet will find shaded, full hookup sites ideal, as they have cable TV and up to 50-amp electrical service. Pets are allowed in some areas of the campground. Propane and firewood are available for purchase. Keep fit at the pool and stay connected with Wi-Fi during your stay.

Devils Garden Campground

Camping is available here at the park at Devils Garden Campground, located 18 miles from the entrance. RVs up to 40 feet in length are allowed During the popular months between March 1st and October 31st, all campsites must be reserved no less than 4 days in advance and no more than 6 months in advance. At the facilities, you can find drinking water, grills, picnic tables, and both pit-style and flush toilets, but no RV hookups.

First-come first-served

Devils Garden Campground

As this is the only campground within Arches National Park, it stays pretty packed and requires that you make reservations through most of the year. If you come during the times between November 1st and February 28th though, all campsites are on a first-come/first served basis.

Alternate camping

BLM Campgroudns

Within the Moab area, the Bureau of Land Management Maintains 26 campsites. These sites are based on a strict first-come/first served basis and do not allow reservations, except for large groups. Up to 10 people and 2 vehicles are allowed for up to 14 days at a time. These sites tend to be cheaper than inside the park or at a commercial campground, but there are no hookups or drinking water, so be sure to plan accordingly. Being cheap and also close by, these sites are great for those who visit the park.

Group Campsites

Devils Garden Campground also offers sites for large groups. Devils Garden sites are for groups of 11 or less, and sites at Canyon Wren are for 35 or less. There’s even sites at Juniper Basin for groups of up to 55 people. Group reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance, but these sites do not allow RV camping.

Private Campgrounds

Outside the national park, you can find various commercial campgrounds in Moab that offer full RV hookups, showers, laundry facilities, running water, and much more. These campgrounds tend to be very open to first-come/first serve, however, they generally accept reservations.

Seasonal activities in Arches National Park

Spring

Wildflower viewing

In the spring, Arches National Park comes to life with all kinds of wildflowers. The wildflowers that you’ll find here aren’t like they are in other places of the world. Instead, they have specially adapted to the environment with waxy coverings on the leaves to help them survive. The wildflowers here are perfect for photographers.

Commercial Tours

If you don’t want to take your personal vehicle, you can choose to take a commercial tour. This way, you’ll not only get to see the same spectacular views, but you’ll also get to learn all about the park and its formations as you go along. You also won’t have to focus on driving, which will allow you to fully experience the drive.

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing also requires a permit and it follows much of the same rules and regulations as canyoneering, but all groups are limited to 5 people. Be sure to take special precautions when rock climbing - knowing what weather to expect, being careful of your footing, and coming with the right equipment and skill levels are all very important.

Auto Touring

The roads through Arches National Park offer lots of breathtaking views, and there are plenty of overlooks that you can stop at to get out, look around, and take pictures. There are different routes you can take, depending on how much time you’re willing to spend on the road. This is a great way to see the arches here in the park.

Canyoneering

There are many places to go canyoneering in the park, but many regulations that must be followed in order to preserve the park’s formations. You must have a permit in order to go canyoneering, and if you’re going to Fiery Canyon or Lost Spring Canyon, groups are limited to 6 people. Other places are only limited to groups of 10. Be sure that you come prepared and familiarize yourself with the park’s canyoneering regulations.

Summer

Other Ranger Programs

There is a wide range of ranger programs in the park. You can go on different guided tours, learn all about the park’s history and nature at different talks, and learn new skills such as painting and stargazing. The rangers here will be glad to answer any questions and help you in any way they can.

Community Artist Programs

In the summer, you have the opportunity to hang out with and learn from artists in the community. You might be able to learn a few things from them and even try making art for yourself. Visiting this park is the perfect way to gain some inspiration for any artist.

Evening Amphitheater Programs

From May 6 to September 29th, the park offers an evening program at the Devils Garden Campground Amphitheater. Times on these can differ, but they tend to start around sundown. These are usually between 45 minutes to an hour, and are great entertainment for all ages.

Interactive Morning Programs

You can also catch a short, interactive program in the mornings at the park. Locations and times vary, but there is normally one program every day, lasting five to 15 minutes, and between the times of 10:15 am to noon. These programs can offer a little bit of fun information that can be exciting for the whole family.

Stargazing

The summertime is ideal for stargazing due to the drops in temperature at sundown. The best spots to stargaze in the park include Balanced Rock Picnic Area, the Windows, Garden of Eden Viewpoint, and Panorama Point. All of these offer romantic views of the open starry night sky that are better than you’d get anywhere else. The farther you are away from the city, the brighter the stars shine through.

Fall

More Hiking

Hiking options at this park range from easy to difficult, so you can be assured that there is a hiking opportunity for everyone, regardless of their skill level. Some trails are as short as .3 miles, such as Balanced Rock and Sand Dune Arch. Others are much longer like the Primitive Trail at Devils Garden which is 7.2 miles. There are many options, so pick and choose which trails you’d like to experience.

Fiery Furnace Hikes

Hiking the Fiery Furnace trails can prove to be a challenge and is not recommended for everyone. Children under the age of 5 are not allowed on the trail, and children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. The hike is physically demanding and requires good hiking shoes or boots, at least a quart of water to carry on you, and a backpack so that you can navigate the difficult trail hands-free. You’ll be guided by a park ranger, but you’ll still have to face loose, irregular, and broken sandstone, high drop-offs, narrow ledges, and narrow spots to climb through. Be aware of the heat exposure and physical requirements before entering the Fiery Furnace. This hike is available from April 15th to September 29th. If you’re willing to accept the challenge, this popular hike is a great experience.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding can be a fun way to experience this national park. While some areas are restricted for horseback riding, the park is still very open and offers plenty of options for places to ride. Just be sure to clean up after your horse and remember that grazing is not allowed.

Biking

Biking is allowed on the park’s roads and outside of the park, but not on any of the trails or off-road. The city of Moab has lots of options for biking though. Keep in mind when biking in the park, that car traffic can be a concern, and biking is only recommended for regular and experienced cyclists.

Backpacking

Backpacking can be a fun thing to do at the park, but be sure to come prepared and expect rough terrain. A permit is required and seven days are allowed for backpacking overnight. Be sure to pack all that you’ll need, especially water, and be sure that you know what kind of weather to expect when you go.

Winter

Relax

There’s no better place to get away than to come to Arches National Park, especially in the winter. Make sure you have heating, and bundle up with your blankets, sweaters, and hot chocolate in your RV. If you really need silence and seclusion from the world, this is the place to come to.

Photography

The beautiful sunsets, the stunning natural rock formations, the lack of crowds - what more could you ask for in a perfect photography opportunity? These conditions have people coming from all over to snap shots of it all. Bring your best camera with you and get some stunning pictures that you’ll definitely want to show off.

Sunrise & Sunset

Arches National Park is well known for its breathtaking sunsets. The wonderful high overlooks along with the unique rock formations just make the perfect background for a setting or rising sun. The oranges in the sky even match the orange rocks. If you’re looking for something romantic to do, watching a sunrise at Arches National Park is the way to go.

Bookstore

Do you wish to take some of the park home with you? You can do just that by buying a book from the bookstore located inside the park. Here, you’ll find all kinds of educational and fun books related to the park. Visiting the bookstore is also a good way to get a break from the cold when you visit in the winter.

Winter Hikes

Hiking in the winter can definitely be a challenge, and if you’re willing to brace the cold air and risks that come with it, it is recommended that you use traction devices, trekking poles, and your most keen eyes to look out for hidden trail markers and slippery spots. Hiking here in the winter is not recommended for those that are less experienced. Be aware that temperatures can get as low as 0 degrees during this time, so plan accordingly. The good news about visiting during this time of year is the park won’t be crowded like it is during the warmer months.

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