Exploring Arches National Park

America's National Parks span from the deepest gorge in the Grand Canyon with the oldest rocks known on Earth to the windy, snow-capped peak of Denali surrounded by fresh volcanic formations. But Arches National Park has largely flown under the radar until very recently. With the huge influence of Instagram, fellow travelers are beginning to discover all-new locations that any travelbug must experience. Arches National Park has been one of the most-visited parks in the NPS system in the past several years because of it.

Turret Arch underneath the La Sal Mountains
Turret Arch underneath the La Sal Mountains

Like many NPS locations, there just isn't anything else on Earth quite like Arches. Sure there are arches here and there through the world's various landscapes, but no other location provides such a huge quantity (over 2000 individual arches) with such a varied shape and size. Everything from the massive Landscape Arch to world-famous Delicate Arch and even the lesser-known but very cool Sand Dune Arch are all within driving and even walking distance for those determined to have the ultimate wilderness experience.

Losing your cell signal and finding adventure is very easy here, and you won't need to go off-road to travel through this desert wonderland. You'll be dwarfed by not just the larger-than-life arches here, but the high rock walls of the weathered mountains as well.

If you're unfamiliar with exploring the desert, don't fret. Temperatures can fluctuate wildly season-to-season, but it doesn't mean that you need to be worried about spending time outside.

Be sure you've brought the appropriate layers, footwear, and water. Most of Arches National Park won't require high-end hiking boots, but it's always a good idea to plan for uneven footing and inclement weather. Ordinary tennis shoes that are designed for smooth man-made surfaces will be torn apart by this landscape, and open-toed footwear will leave your feet exposed to hot surfaces, thorny plants, insects, sunburn, and a variety of other hazards. Shoes that don't securely fasten to your feet can be slippery and are not recommended. After all, you won't want to miss the uphill hike to Delicate Arch. Walking this trail in shoes not designed for hiking will be pretty miserable.

Delicate Arch - Arches National Park
Delicate Arch - Arches National Park

Hydration is key. When I lived in Phoenix, we would have visitors either have to be rescued or die on Camelback Mountain right in the middle of the city. They thought that because they had hiked before or were in great shape, they wouldn't need water. You'll need it. Just bring it.

Most importantly, bring your camera. You won't want to miss the colorful and spectacular sunrises and sunsets here. Plus, there's so much more to explore outside of the biggest attractions and it will take your breath away. A DSLR or Mirrorless camera from Nikon, Sony, Canon, or Fuji will give you the best results

Be aware of park restrictions designed to protect the landscape and the enjoyment of it. Drones are never allowed on any NPS property, and "light painting" is also prohibited in Arches National Park specifically.

Want to join the adventure?

All of these spectacular arches and other features are available to enjoy across our selection of guided hiking and non-hiking tours. Choose to follow our guide in your own vehicle, or jump on board our van or awesome NPGT Jeep Wrangler.

Book your tour today and start planning the adventure of a lifetime!

Enjoy the photography? Get your own prints or digital downloads in our store.

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