Utah is full of stunning natural wonders! None more so than on Arches National Park Hikes. Our first day was spent exploring, mouth agape, stopping and starting and staring at all the amazing sculptures our Earth has created.
Arches National Park Hikes
While there is a lot to see from the car, Arches is best experienced on foot. You’ll miss a lot of the more striking views and formations if you simply stay in your car, so we’ve created a 3 Day Family Itinerary for Arches National Park. This guide will allow you to see and do some of the best hikes in Arches National Park and see some of the best trails in Arches National Park. Not to mention, checkout the best viewpoints.
The highlights of our Day 1 hikes at Arches include Park Avenue, Courthouse Towers, Balanced Rock, and ending the day with a hike in Devil’s Garden to Landscape Arch.
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
This is the first hike your family will come upon after entering the park. You can’t miss the entrance – it has a giant cliff whose front appears to be cut in half with a perfectly sanded stage left remaining. What you’ll view on this hike is the monolithic towering cliffs that jut up in every angle and from every vantage point.
Park Avenue is aptly named for the cliffs that resemble skyscrapers. The switchback trails through the towers are a sight to see!
From Park Avenue you can hike to Courthouse Towers which is a two mile roundtrip hike, or if you prefer to drive, you can get a beautiful view of each of these places from the Courthouse Towers turnoff.
As far as Arches National Park hikes go, this is the most popular. What makes this hike so popular is the view of the towers that shoot straight up as high as 4,800 ft/1463 m! Plus they’ve got cool names, like Baby Arch, Three Gossips, Ring Arch and the Tower of Babel.
A lot of the Arches National Park Hikes just look like plain desert. Though there are more than 2,000 arches located within the park boundaries, many aren’t visible unless you go on some of the more strenuous hikes.
While I get the amazing circumstances that turned these once sand dunes into rocks, it is a bit underwhelming to see in person. On your hike to Delicate Arch, you’ll traverse huge petrified dunes, which is a lot more interesting than the view you get from here.
You cannot miss the hike to Delicate Arch!
This is exactly what it sounds like. A large oval shaped rock balanced precariously atop a large pillar that weighs over 3,600 tons! It’s much too large to fit in this space, yet it remains, bewildering everyone who sees it.
Technically, it isn’t balancing at all, but tethered to the pedestal with natural rock supports. Eventually though, the weight of the rock will cause it to topple over, so see it before it’s gone!
There is a short hike at this location, but the bread and butter of this view is specifically the balanced rock. You won’t need to look for any signs to indicate you’ve arrived. You’ll spot this oddity on your family trip to Arches long before you see the crowds.
Devil’s Garden to Landscape Arch
This two mile round trip hike gives you an opportunity to see many arches, including one of the most famous: Landscape Arch. The trail starts in Devil’s Garden. The entrance to the path is marked by two giant rock walls sliced in half. On this easy hike you’ll see lizards and other desert wildlife, views that stretch to the horizon, twin trees, and of course, 7 other natural arches.
Devil’s Garden gives park goers the opportunity to see arches in the initial stages. Fins, are the geologic term for the beginning stages of the arches before erosion has given way to separating the salt deposits from the rock.
The paved path ends at Landscape Arch. This is the longest arch in the park spanning 300 feet across, which just 9 years ago lost a huge chunk of it’s bottom layer. It remains intact, but 73 feet smaller in girth than it once was.
You can continue the hike from this point, over the sandy ground and even climb underneath the famous arch. But take precaution, because you never know when it might break. 9 years ago when it lost a chunk from the bottom, several hikers were resting underneath it’s arch and narrowly missed getting hurt by the falling rocks!
If you continue along the path, the views from the opposite side of this arch are even more stunning without any rocks behind it. This is also an amazing area of the park for camping and stargazing.
► For Kids: A family trip to Arches is a great adventure for kids of all ages. Most of the Arches National Park hikes are easy to navigate and offer a fun learning opportunity for kids to see both geology and geography at play, plus history too.
Once you’ve completed all of the Arches National Park Hikes, you’ll want to visit all of Utah’s amazing National Parks! Check out Fox in the Forest for incredible things to do at each of Utah’s 5 Mighty National Parks!