The Best Time to Visit Arches National Park
Dreaming of visiting the iconic rock arches and pinnacles of Utah’s Arches National Park? Wondering when is the best time to visit Arches National Park? We’ve got the pros and cons of each season, so you can plan your trip to this fantastic national park with confidence.
Arches National Park is one of Utah’s “Mighty Five” National Parks, and one that should be on every family’s bucket list!
We visited Arches National Park on our Epic Cross-Country Road Trip as part of our Family Year Out when our kids were 4 and 7.
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Where is Arches National Park?
Arches National Park is located in southeast Utah, five miles north of Moab, Utah. It is very close to Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park. Many families stay in Moab and visit several parks during one trip.
Arches is located in a “high desert” region, at elevations up to and over 5,000 feet. It gets very hot summers, and cold winters, with rapid temperature fluctuations.
Don’t Miss: Arches National Park Hiking: Trails for the Whole Family
When is the Best Time to Visit Arches National Park?
The best time to visit Arches National Park is based on the average weather, and how crowded the park is during that time. The park is open year-round, 24 hours a day.
While we highly recommend visiting in the Spring and Fall, we’ve outlined the details of each season below so you can decide for yourself.
We visited Arches with our kids at the end of July and had a fantastic visit to the park.
Visiting Arches National Park in Spring
Spring is one of the best times to visit Arches National Park. Between March and May you’ll find the high daily temperatures shifting between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, making for pleasant hiking.
If you are lucky, you may get to see wildflowers in bloom!
Please Note: If you are visiting after April 3rd, you will need a timed entry reservation to enter the park.
Visiting Arches National Park in Summer
Summer is a very busy time in Arches National Park- it is flooded with road-tripping families (since the kids are off school), and temperatures soar into the 100+ range.
In August, storms are common, and flash floods can occur. Many trails offer very little shade, and the heat can be draining. Make sure to carry plenty of water and take breaks as needed.
We visited during this time and had a great visit. However, if visiting in the summer, you’ll need to start early in the day. An early start allows you to get parking close to your trailhead, and avoid the hottest part of the day.
During high season, some parking areas fill up by 7:30 am. The park recommends entering before 7 am or after 3 pm to avoid crowds. After this time, there may be a long line to enter the park.
Please Note: If you are visiting before October 3rd, you will need a timed entry reservation to enter the park.
Visiting Arches National Park in Fall
Fall is another fantastic time to visit Arches National Park. The weather is cooler- expect highs for each day to be in the mid-70s to mid-80, and the summer crowds will have thinned. This is a great time to hike around the park without worrying about excessive heat.
If you visit during the fall, consider making time for the La Sal Mountain loop. This 60-mile loop runs through Moab and includes large stands of Aspen that change color in the fall.
Visiting Arches National Park in Winter
Winter in Arches National Park can be cold- you’ll find daily temperatures sometimes only reaching 30- 50 degrees. Snowfall is uncommon but can cause road closures. This is a very peaceful time to visit the park, crowds will be thin. Get up early to capture any overnight snowfall on the rocks before it melts in the warmth of the day.
In December and January, you’ll find the lowest rates on accommodations in Moab, Utah.
Where to Stay Near Arches National Park
There is only one campground in Arches National Park. If you aren’t planning on camping, plan to stay in the nearby town of Moab, Utah. This town serves as a base for both Arches and Canyonlands National Park and has a great mix of cafes, restaurants, and shops.
Top Budget Hotel: Expedition Lodge. This hotel has a pool with a tube waterslide, a game room, and even rooms with bunk beds. A great family hotel, perfect for cooling off after hot hikes in the park.
Check Availability: Expedition Lodge
Need more options? Check out our full post on Where to Stay Near Arches National Park.
FAQ: Arches National Park
Arches National Park is known for having the highest concentration of natural stone arches anywhere in the world. Arches National Park is one of the “Mighty Five” National Parks in Utah, along with Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands.
Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to visit Arches National Park. The light during these “golden hours” just after sunrise and before sunset, shows the red rocks at their most dramatic.
We recommend at least 2 days to explore Arches National Park, although some people spend a lot longer. In two days you can see the most iconic arches in the park.
The fee to enter Arches National Park is $30- that is good for your full car (as of 2022), and lasts for seven days.
If you will be combining this visit with other National Parks, be sure to get an America the Beautiful Pass. This annual pass costs $80 and gets you unlimited access to National Parks for one year.
This pass covers entrance fees, it does not cover tour fees or lodging fees. 4th graders also get a free annual park pass for their families.
Arches National Park is full of natural stone arches, pinnacles, and balanced rocks. Delicate Arch is the most famous arch in the park and is featured on the Utah State license plate. It stands over 50 feet tall, and the hike to this arch is one of the most popular hikes in the park.
There You Have It: When to Visit Arches National Park
While we love Spring and Fall for visiting Arches National Park, you can make the most of any season! We visited in the hot summer months and still had a great time at this iconic park. Don’t miss out on some of Utah’s best rock arches!
Read Next: The Best of Bryce Canyon with Kids: 2 Days of Hiking and Hoodoos