Set in southeastern Utah’s other-worldly red rock landscape, Arches National Park is one of the United States’ most iconic destinations. From towering arches to beautiful vistas, you’ll want to book an RV vacation to this stunning national park as soon as possible.
Here are five tips to have an amazing trip.
Know Where to Camp
Arches National Park has just one campground, Devils Garden. The campground is open year-round, with reservations available March 1 – Oct. 31. The rest of the year is first-come, first-served. Reservations open six months in advance on recreation.gov and fill quickly, so be sure to plan ahead if you’re hoping to snag a spot in the park. Note that if you have a campground reservation between April 3-Oct. 3, 2022, you do not need to buy a separate timed-entry pass that is required of everyone entering the park in this time period.
Several sites can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length at Devils Garden. However, it is a dry campground with no hookups. If you need electricity or water, there are many options in and around the surrounding town of Moab. Moab is an extremely popular destination, especially in the spring so making advanced camping reservations is highly recommended.
Avoid the Crowds
Arches is notorious for its crowds, especially March – October. The park often hits capacity with lines forming at the entrance station early in the morning during busy season. Parking can be very hard to come by.
The best way to avoid the crowds is to visit during the winter. While temperatures can be cold, with highs ranging from 30-50 degrees during the day, the crowds are gone and the red rocks are stunning with a dusting of snow.
Can’t travel in the winter? Plan to enter the park early in the mornings or later in the evenings to avoid the majority of the crowds.
Beat the Heat
Arches National Park is in the middle of the desert and summer temperatures can often top 100-degrees. Shade and water at the park are verging on non-existent, making summer exploration challenging. The best ways to beat the heat are to visit the park in the fall through spring. The weather is very mild in the fall and spring, though those are the most crowded seasons. Winter is a great option for avoiding the heat.
If you are traveling in summer, be sure to plan your days accordingly. Start hikes early in the morning and bring plenty of water and sun protection. Make sure you have a plan for somewhere to cool off at during the hottest hours of the day. Never leave pets in your RV without air-conditioning in the summer.
Keep an Eye on Conditions
Arches’ scenic drive is paved and accessible by RV. There are, however, several unpaved roads in the park. Salt Valley Road between Klondike Bluffs and Tower Arch is accessible with two-wheel drive in dry conditions, but after rain or snow the road can become impassible without four-wheel drive. Always check road conditions at the visitor center before venturing onto any unpaved roads.
Flash flooding is always possible in the desert, even when rain hasn’t actively occurred in the area you’re in. Keep and eye on the weather forecast and the skies and don’t enter slot canyons or other areas of low ground when rain is forecasted. Never try to drive through a flooded portion of the road.
Don’t Miss Canyonlands
Part of the allure of this area of Utah is that there’s so much to explore. From state parks to BLM land to national parks, public land abounds. Nearby Canyonlands National Park shouldn’t be missed on a trip to the Moab area.