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Top 10 things to see and do at Arches National Park, Utah

Earlier this year we visited Arches National Park in Utah and made this YouTube video called ‘Arches Top 10’. We totally understand that some people may enjoy that same information in written form so if that is you, then please read on 🙂 ! We spent three full days at Arches National Park exploring, hiking, and doing our best to really savor every moment there. We also felt that three days was the perfect amount of time to enjoy this incredible 76,518-acre park. However, we know that often times people are visiting the park for a day or two so we’re saving you some research time with the information below:

Park Rules 

It’s always good to know the park rules before you go. The park rangers will give you a flier when you enter the park with most of the park rules, plus you can make a stop at the visitor center should you have any questions. We’ve selected a few important rules you should know:

  • In 2010, Arches topped 1 million visitors. Because of the large inflow of people, starting April 1st, 2022 you will need to get a timed entry pass to enter the park if you plan to visit anytime between April through October.
  • Arches (and all National Parks) are no drone zones. This means that you cannot land, launch or operate any unmanned aircrafts in the park. Please understand that the park service is very strict about this policy so they will find you and fine you (it’s happened to various friends of ours. Additionally, they may even force you to take content off of Youtube and all socials – we’ve seen that happen too).
  • The park is open 365 days a year/ 24 hours a day.
  • In 2019, Arches National Park received its designation as an International Dark Sky Park. In order to preserve the natural darkness of the park, using artificial lights to illuminate the rocks for photography is prohibited. Sometimes you may get lucky with passing cars like we did. We highly recommend stargazing here at night!
  • Pets must be leashed and are not allowed on trails (even in a carrier, bag, carried, or in a backpack-style carrier). Service animals are allowed but unfortunately, not emotional support animals. See the Arches website for all the details!

What to know before you go

We’ve collected a few important things to note before you go into Arches National Park.

  • There is little to no cell service in the park itself but there is some coverage at the visitor center.
  • The sun is quite intense (even during colder days) and there are very few shady spots. Pack ample sun protection including: sunglasses, long sleeves, sunscreens, hats, etc.
  • The highest elevation in the park is 5,653 ft at Elephant Butte and the lowest is 4,085 at the Visitor Center. If you’re coming from sea level, you may experience altitude sickness so please research and prepare before arriving.


These are the very abbreviated facts about Arches National Park – let’s just say, these are the ones we found to be super notable. 

  • The rock color at Arches is due to the Iron Oxide in the Sandstone. The greenish rocks in the park also contain Iron but are in a non-oxidized state.
  • In 1971 Arches became a National Park (it was a National Monument prior)
  • There are over 2,000 arches in this park

Okie dokie! Let’s go to the whole reason you actually clicked on this link. Drumroll please…!

Arches National Park Top 10 (according to us and the Internet)

#10 Petrified Dunes Viewpoint

Once upon a long time ago, this used to be a vast sand dune caused by sand drifts originating from winds of the northwest. Over time, these sand drifts were covered by other layers of particles and were then compressed and through other natural processes became Navajo Sandstone. It now has its original dune-like appearance because of erosion over millions of years. What makes this scene even more unique, is the contrasting mountain range in the background called the La Sal Range.

#9 Garden of Eden

The Garden of Eden is often overlooked because you have to take The Windows Road and then make a right onto the Garden of Eden View Point (road). Even though it was relatively well marked. This spot is great because you’ll have the opportunity to see beautiful rock formations contrasted with the La Sal Mountains. While here, see if you can spot adventurous climbers on the rocks. If you are looking to do a climb yourself, be sure you have the necessary permits and/or check if climbing is allowed in the area you’re looking into.

#8 La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

This is a spectacular viewpoint because not only do you get to see the La Sal Mountains framing the Petrified Dunes, but you get 360-degree views of the area (including Courthouse Towers). In our opinion – worth it and you don’t have to walk anywhere to enjoy the vistas. 

#7 Fiery Furnace

The Fiery Furnace gets its name from the warm glow cast upon the rocks when the sun sets. Located near the center of the park, Fiery Furnace is a collection of narrow sandstone canyons, fins, and natural arches. You can enjoy these colorful narrow structures from the lookout or you can acquire a special permit here to see it from below and within (either with a ranger tour or self-guided). 

#6 Park Avenue and Courthouse Towers

Park Avenue and Courthouse Towers are the first major area after the Visitor Center because it’s so vast and you are greeted by giant squared-off towers and monoliths that resemble Monument Valley at the Utah/Arizona border. From there you can take the Park Avenue Trail (which is a 2 mile out and back easy hike) – we didn’t do this hike during our visit but it is on our list! Just LOOK at those beautiful towers!

#5 Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock is actually attached to the tower beneath. Because the landscape is ever-changing at Arches National Park, one day it will likely fall and join “Chip off the Old Block” (a nearby formation that collapsed in the Winter of 1975/76. Click here to see the before and after. There are paths along Balanced Rock to enjoy it up close and personal. Our favorite view of Balanced Rock was walking up the hill on the dirt road to get a higher perspective of it. Just take a look at your park map for the bathroom and picnic area because that is where we are referring for you to go.

#4 Windows Section and Turret Arch

This beautiful natural wonder is what inspired preservationists to protect Arches. This section has spectacular formations in it, such as the Parade of Elephants, Turret Arch, North and South Windows and more. The Windows Loop and Turret Arch Trail is an easy 1.18 mile loop that will let you see North and South Windows and Turret Arch. If you time your hike appropriately, you will be able to enjoy the sunset lighting up the rocks in gold as well as see the sun peeping through Turret arch.

#3 Double Arch

These awe inspiring twin arches can be reached by a short easy stroll from the parking lot. Some interesting facts about Double Arch are that the larger opening of the two is the 3rd longest in the park (spanning 144 feet) and has a height of 112 feet (the tallest in the park!). It really is worth it and is also a beautiful spot for photos. If you happen to come at the right time, the sun will poke through one of the smaller openings in the rock.

#2 Delicate Arch

THIS IS THE ARCH YOU SEE ON THE UTAH LICENSE PLATES!!! (Insert tons of excitement in that sentence!) There are two ways to enjoy this amazing gravity defying arch! You can see it from the Delicate Arch viewpoint or you can do the 3.2 mile out and back hike. A couple of points to note – the hike is WORTH IT but it can be challenging. In the winter/early Springtime, pack crampons and/or hiking poles because parts of the trail do get icy. Because you are walking on sand, the rocks can get quite slippery. Lastly, pack lots of water and sunscreen. Do take caution when walking to the Delicate Arch because the amphitheater it sits on has a steep drop-off and people have fallen there (we’ll just let you research that on your own). In our Delicate Arch Hike YouTube video (min 9:47) we do mention what is, in our opinion, the best place to sit with the best view of the Arch (and you don’t have to cross the sketchy amphitheater!). 

#1 Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch is the world’s longest natural arch because it spans 290 ft and has an opening of 306 ft. It surpasses Kolob Arch at Zion National Park by a whopping 3 ft. In order to enjoy Landscape Arch you’ll need to go on an easy 1.9 mile out and back walk. Landscape Arch is incredibly delicate (especially after a huge chunk fell off in 1991) so the trail that goes underneath it remains closed to visitors but you can still enjoy it from a fenced off area. 

Closing thoughts by Anna D and Adam

That concludes our Top 10 Places to visit at Arches National Park. It’s so incredibly difficult to decide where to visit but we hope this list gives you plenty of information to enjoy a grand majority of the park. 

Please consider subscribing to our YouTube Channel and if you would like to watch more Utah videos, check out our Utah YouTube Playlist here.

Please comment below on any of your other favorite spots in the park so whoever is reading this can add them to their list.

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