Ready for one day in Arches National Park? My cousin and I were able to go on 8 hikes, travel the length of the park, and witness a wedding all in one day! You can do it too!
Arches National Park is located right next to the town of Moab and features more than 2,000 arches. There are plenty of things for people to see at various activity levels. Make sure you put Arches on your list if you are traveling through the area!
Moab is a hub of various outdoor activities and parks. While we were there, it was Jeep Safari week so the town was packed with Jeep Wranglers. I recommend staying in town, because Devil’s Campground is the only campground in Arches and you will have to book months in advance. My cousin and I were in an RV and we were able to book a spot at Slick Rock Campground.
Make sure you prepare for the whole day in the park. Arches is extremely hot and sunny (especially in the summer), so make sure you slather on sunscreen and pack lots of water. There is no food sold there, so pack enough to fuel you for the day. You can find all the food we packed for the week here. Once you’re fueled up you’re ready to go!
Table of Contents
One Day in Arches Itinerary
Catch Sunrise at the Windows Section
The Windows Section is located a couple miles from the Park’s entrance. Plenty of people stop here, because it’s a short 1.2 mile hike and you can see four arches along the way.
The North Window, South Window, Turret Arch, and Double Arch are all situated along this loop. If you go for sunrise you can climb up to the South Window and watch the sunrise over the park. It’s a truly magical place to be in the morning. You don’t want to miss this area and you should definitely make a stop there!
Stop at the Visitor Center
I recommend stopping here either before you enter the park or early into your trip. You can get really helpful tips from the rangers, see if there are closures, or read the exhibits. I love to learn about the wildlife and the landscapes of each park I visit!
Also, you can try your luck at getting a permit to the Fiery Furnace, but this often sells out days in advance. This will cost you $16 and you will enter it with a guide. If you want more information on getting a permit you can access that here. The Visitor Center is a great resource for all of the best park information.
Drive the Entire Park
After you get information from the rangers, you can begin driving the 18 miles through the park. The scenic drive goes the length of the park and there are plenty of sights to stop at long the way! You will also want to allow time because this drive is often packed with visitors and there could be traffic
During your one day in Arches National Park, you’ll want to see some of the best features including:
Hike Landscape Arch & Double O Arch
The Double O Arch trail is a 3.9 mile moderate hike round-trip. The first part of the hike is easy and flat and about .8 miles into the hike you will get to the Landscape Arch. This arch is longer than a football field and it is truly astounding. There used to be lots of rocks situated under the arch, but they fell and now the arch looks precariously thin.
After you leave Landscape Arch you will continue into the Devil’s Garden area. Once you enter this area the hike gets a little more difficult. You will have to walk on narrow ledges and then at one point walk up a large sandstone rock face. The Double O Arch is the only spot where you can see two arches stacked on top of each other and it’s very cool! If you want you can continue on Devil’s Garden Loop, but we turned back around to have time for other things!
Visit Sand Dune Arch & Broken Arch
My cousin and I fueled up on PB&Js for lunch and realized we had a lot more time to kill until sunset at Delicate Arch. We decided that we would squeeze in another hike. The hike to Sand Dune Arch is a .3 mile walk through deep sand and under the shade. It’s a fun hike to do with kids, because they love to play around there. We took our shoes off and sat for a while to really rest and relax.
Once we put our shoes back on, we headed to the Broken Arch trail, which makes the hike a total of 1.7 miles roundtrip. This is a flat trail that goes out to the Arch. Once you get to the Broken Arch, you will have to climb up some steep rocks if you want to go through it or under it. The Broken Arch is not actually Broken, but it is eroding in the middle. This loop was really easy and enjoyable!
Watch the Sunset at Delicate Arch
If you’ve ever driven through Utah, you’ve seen the Delicate Arch on the license plate. It’s a state symbol and a must-see if you are going to spend time in the park! The Delicate Arch trail is a 3 mile moderate hike roundtrip. If you want to avoid crowds, then start this hike early in the day instead of going for sunset.
The trail starts with a fairly easy trail to follow with up hills and down hills, but soon you will get to a slick, steep rock face (careful it can be very slippery, especially if it has rained at all). Once you walk up the steep rock, you get to the last part of the trail walking around a rock mound to get to the arch. You will be able to view it through holes in the rock face before you get to the actual arch itself.
Sunset is a very busy time, many people are trying to scope out the best spot for a picture, and others are lining up to take one with the arch. The whole crowd stopped and stared as we viewed a wedding in front of the arch! Luckily, we were able to get plenty of good pictures and we were able to take the scenery in. The way back down is very steep, so take your time and step carefully!
Did you find this guide to one day in Arches helpful? Let me know in the comments!