Did you know that there are over 2,000 stone arches in Arches National Park? In fact, you’ll find the densest concentration of stone arches in the world in this Utah National Park.
Arches National Park has a main road with panoramic views and numerous hiking trails. In the Parc des Arches you can choose between easy hiking trails and more difficult trails such as the Delicate Arch, the most famous of the park.
This post is about what to do in Arches National Park in one day. You’ll find a detailed one-day itinerary and lots of photos of arches to inspire you as you plan your trip.
Don’t forget to pack lunch, snacks and water for your visit to Arches National Park. There are no shops, gas stations, hotels or restaurants in Arches National Park.
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Don’t forget to pick up a map of Arches National Park and a brochure at the Visitor Center near the entrance. You don’t have to travel far to see the incredible arches.
The map is very handy, plus there is a list of trails in the Arches with the length of each hike and a description of the route.
In addition, the arches brochures describe how the arches in the national park were created. The transition from sandstone to arch took millions of years and new arches are slowly forming.
How did Arches National Park come to be?
Geologists don’t know exactly how the arches were formed, but they study the rock formations and draw conclusions from their research.
Basically, the current understanding of arcing is as follows:
- Millions of years ago, the ocean evaporated and left a huge salt layer.
- The salt layer is covered with a large amount of debris and sand.
- A layer of debris is compacted into a layer of rock…
- Unstable shifts in the salt layer that reposition some of the rock.
- Folds and cracks appear in the rock layer.
- Surface erosion cuts through the outer layers of rock.
- Water seeps into the cracks, forms ice, expands and moves away from the rocks.
- Wind and rain make the rock worse…
- Some stones collapse, but some remain in the form of arches.
1 day hike Parc national des Arches
Can you see the Achez National Park in one day? You can see many highlights in Arches, go hiking and enjoy car rides on the trail.
If you’re in the park early (at sunrise or earlier), take the morning hike to Delicate Arch and then drive through the park, making several stops at scenic spots like Fire Furnace.
Then either take the short trail to the Sand Dunes Arch, then the Broken Arch and the Tapestry Arch and have a picnic, or continue on the longer Devil’s Garden Trail. You can go all the way to the end or just join in and enjoy a picnic.
On the way back through the park, you can stop at Panorama Point, Courthouse Towers, Balanced Rock, Garden of Eden and Double Arch, and end the walk at sunset on Park Avenue or at Windows and Tower Arch.
Voilà! A magical day in Arches National Park.
Hourly route for Arches National Park
Some people like the hourly route when planning their vacation. If you’re in the same place for a few days, you can afford to be spontaneous.
But if you only have 24 hours to explore the city, a detailed itinerary will help you understand what you can see in a day.
Depending on the time of year you visit the Arches, you may want to modify this route as the days are shorter in the fall and winter.
In June, for example, there are 14.5 hours of daylight at sunrise around 6:00 am and at sunset around 8:30 pm.
In October, however, the sun rises around 7:30 am and sets around 6:30 pm, so you only have 11 hours of daylight. For day trips and guided tours, it takes 3.5 hours.
Also, buy your park admission ticket online before you arrive so you don’t waste time during your day at the park.
Route hour by hour on the arc
6:15 – 6:30 by car to the entrance station of the park
6:30 – 7:00 Travel to the Delicate Arch Road
7:00 – 9:00 Hike to Delicate Arch for coffee/snack.
9:00 – 9:15 Walk to the petroglyphs
9:15 – 10:15 Go to the furnace and take pictures on the observation deck.
10:15 – 12:30 Drive to starting point and walk Sand Dune ark, broken ark, tapestry arch
12:30 – 13:15 Picnic lunch
13:15 – 16:00 Option A : Drive to Devil’s Garden Trail and hike the trail or part of the trail.
13:15 – 16:00 Option B : Stage trip to the Garden of Eden, then walk to Double Arch, Windows and Tower Arch
4:00-7:30 pm Option A : If you didn’t take option B above, Scenic Drive to Garden of Eden, a short walk to Double Arch, the windows and arches of the towers, a stop at Balanced Rock, the courthouse towers, La Salle Mountain and the Park Avenue viewpoint.
4:00-7:30 pm Option B : This scenic drive, with stops at Balanced Rock, Courthouse Towers, La Sal Mountain Viewpoint, Park Avenue Viewpoint and the Park Avenue Trail, is especially beautiful at sunset.
7:30 – 7:45 Drive from Arki National Park to Moab
19:45 – 21:00 Dinner in Moab.
Where to stay in Moab
I recommend that you book your accommodation in Moab as soon as you know your travel dates in Utah.
To book a hotel, I use Booking.com, but if you want a house or apartment, check Airbnb.com, this is what I use for most of my accommodations because I like a full kitchen.
Accommodation options in Moab include Airbnb, hotels, motels, campgrounds and RV parks in Moab National Park and Arches.
I’m staying at the Big Horn Lodge on South Main Street. The location is ideal as you can walk to the grocery store, restaurants and shops. There is a grocery store across the street that sells beer.
When I booked my stay in Moab, it was at the very last minute, but I was happy to find a good hotel at a reasonable price.
At the Big Horn Lodge, I paid a total of $129 per night (in October), of which 14.82% was hotel tax.
Please note that hotel prices vary according to the season. There is a mini-fridge, microwave and coffee machine in the bedroom. There is also a restaurant on the premises that offers decent food.
Other national parks in Utah
There are five national parks in Utah: Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Zion and Arches.
If you’re planning a Mighty 5 trip and want to visit all five Utah National Parks, here’s how to get from Arches to the other parks.
- Canyonlands National Park is 25 miles away (about 30 minutes by car).
- From Arches to Bryce National Park, it’s 245 miles (about a 4-hour drive).
- Arches National Park is 310 miles (about a 5-hour drive) from Zion.
- From Arches National Park to Capitol Reef is 130 miles (about a 2-hour drive).
If you start with the Arc, you can visit Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce and finish in Zion.
However, if you are flying to Las Vegas, follow the reverse order: Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, then Arches.
In addition to the five major national parks, Utah has great state parks and national monuments that you should visit as well. Dead Horse Point National Park is just a short drive from Arches National Park, and you can combine this with a day trip to Canyonlands.
Cedar Breaks National Monument has a hoodoo similar to Bryce Canyon, but with fewer visitors.
If you have any questions or suggestions for visiting Arches National Park, please leave them in the Comments section below.
Have fun exploring Utah!
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Tags: National Parks, Utah
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