What do you most want to see in Arches National Park?
I want to hike beside a cool stream...
Creek plus Arch: Trail 1
I want to see a dramatic arch...
Iconic landmark or possible world record?
World record sounds great: Trail 2
Iconic is my middle name: Trail 3
I want a desert adventure...
How far do you feel like hiking today?
7-8 miles: Trail 4
2 miles: Trail 5
I want solitude from the crowds...
How advanced of a hiker are you?
I know the desert like the back of my hand: Trail 6
I prefer moderate hikes to route-finding: Trail 7
1. Grandstaff Canyon Trail (previously called Negro Bill Canyon Trail)
While this hike is not in Arches National Park, it’s just a few miles from the park entrance and well-worth a stop, especially if it is warm out since the trail follows a year-round stream that you can cool off in. This 4-mile roundtrip hike ends at Morning Glory Natural Bridge, which spans 243 feet, making it the nation’s sixth-longest.
When you reach the bridge, look out for the poison ivy that grows below the pool under the bridge. Do not touch its green shiny leaves that grow in clusters of three.
To get here, take Hwy 191 out of Arches National Park toward Moab and turn left on to Hwy. 128. Drive for three miles. The trailhead will be on your right.
2. Landscape Arch
What makes this 1.6-mile hike so fascinating is that Landscape Arch may be one of the world’s largest spanning arches. It measures longer than a football field from one sandstone base to the other. Hiking to and from the arch will take you about 30-60 minutes, depending on how fast you hike. Park at the Devils Garden trailhead.
3. Delicate Arch
See the arch on Utah’s license plates up close by bringing the family on the 3-mile roundtrip hike to Delicate Arch. At 64 feet high and 45 feet wide, it is Arches National Park’s largest freestanding arch.
Along the way, you will pass the Wolfe Ranch cabin and a wall of Ute Indian petroglyphs, giving you a sense of the diverse groups of people who inhabited the area before it became a national park on Nov.12,1971.
With virtually no shade on this hike, you will be really exposed to Utah’s relentless sun. Be sure to bring sun protection and a lot of water for everyone in the family to drink as well as snacks. Also, arrive early to avoid intense heat and crowds. While the parking lot was expanded in 2015, it still fills up quickly.
4. Devils Garden Primitive Loop
For a wonderful, long hike, try Devils Garden Primitive Loop trail. The longest maintained trail in the park, this 7.2-mile hike is for the advanced hiker as there are narrow ledges and exposure along the way. You’ll pass eight arches along the way, as well as the Dark Angel spire, a 125-foot feature that attracts rock climbers. Park officials discourage visitors from doing this hike when the desert is wet or snowy. To start your hike, park at the Devils Garden trailhead parking area.
5. Park Avenue
To see a really beautiful canyon, head to the 2-mile Park Avenue trail accessed via the Park Avenue parking area. You’ll warm up your leg muscles as you descend into a canyon right away. In this incredible canyon, you’ll see the Tower of Babel, The Organ and the Three Gossips, all sandstone formations that bear a striking resemblance to their names.
Continue to Courthouse Towers where there is a parking area. If you have two cars, you can avoid the uphill climb by leaving a car here before you start your hike. Otherwise, return on the same trail you came down. It should take between 30-60 minutes to complete this hike.
6. Fiery Furnace
With no maintained trails, no signs and no cairns, the Fiery Furnace is about as far as you can get from the rest of Arches National Park’s visitors. However, this labyrinth of narrow passages wedged between sandstone walls requires agility, navigation skills and fitness. Because of this, you must go on a ranger-led tour or get a hiking permit from the Arches Visitor Center. Permits cost $6 for ages 13 and over and $3 for kids 5-12. Kids under 5 are not allowed in the Fiery Furnace.
From April through September, park rangers offer daily tours of Fiery Furnace that last three hours and require rock scrambling, moving along narrow ledges above drop-offs and travel in loose sand. You can reserve your tickets up to six months in advance at recreation.gov. No sandals or high-heeled shoes are allowed.
If you do get a permit, rangers request you go with someone who has already been in the Fiery Furnace. Be aware that GPS devices do not work in the Fiery Furnace because of the towering sandstone walls. Everyone must watch an orientation video at the visitor center before they start their hike.
7. Tower Arch
Enjoy solitude on the remote but moderate 3.4-mile trail to Tower Arch. Located in the northwest section of the park, Tower Arch is accessed via Salt Valley Road, a dirt road that starts 16 miles from the park entrance. Carry a lot of water with you as you pass by sandstone fins and formations like Marching Men en route to Tower Arch. This hike should take between 2-3 hours.