Visiting Arches Nationwide Park with Youngsters

Arches Nationwide Park Utah

Prompted by the pandemic, we switched from worldwide journey to home highway tripping, and we gravitated to the Nationwide Parks. Between 2020 and 2023 we made 19 visits to 9 US Nationwide Parks in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California and Colorado. An $80 Annual Pass for the National Parks pays for itself in a short time!

Our favourite park is Arches Nationwide Park. I visited thrice with children and as soon as solo and, going into our first go to, knew nothing in regards to the park aside from that it was presupposed to be stunning. What we found was that it was simple and completely excellent for teenagers of any age, as lots of the finest arches are very quick walks from parking areas. There are average and lengthy hikes for adventurous households, however it’s additionally nice for households with toddlers and younger children, with rocks to play on all over the place. Right here’s the place we stayed, what we did and what we suggest for households at Arches Nationwide Park Utah.

Sunrise near Turret Arch in Arches National Park
Dawn close to Turret Arch in Arches Nationwide Park

When to Go to Arches Nationwide Park

Arches Nationwide Park Utah is open 12 months a 12 months, 24 hours a day. As with many of the world’s vacationer websites, spring and fall are optimum occasions to go to – you’ve typically good climate and fewer folks round. Having mentioned that, Arches is lower than 4 hours from Salt Lake Metropolis and the weekends within the spring and fall can nonetheless be crowded. What you’ll discover:


Arches NP is chilly within the winter they usually get snow periodically. Temperatures are within the 20s, 30s and 40s. The upside: you’ll have some arches to your self, and room charges are much more inexpensive. And weekends aren’t unhealthy in any respect, so it’s secure to go to any day of the week and head into the park any time of day.

Spring and Fall

Lows shall be within the 30s and 40s and highs will be anyplace from the 50s to the 80s. Clearly Could and October are hotter than April and November. There’s not a lot precipitation any time of 12 months. However as I discussed above, weekends can get crowded. For those who do go to on a weekend, attempt to keep away from heading into the park in the midst of the day, when there will be delays on the entrance cubicles and also you’ll discover extra folks at each arch.

Summer time

Summer time at Arches Nationwide Park is sizzling. Excessive temps will be over 100 levels, with lows within the 50s and 60s. You possibly can nonetheless have a great go to, however I extremely suggest heading to the park earlier than dawn, mountaineering early, after which leaving the park by 10am and returning after 5pm to hike extra and luxuriate in sundown. You’ll keep away from the general public, and the very best temperatures, that means.

Arches National Park with Kids: Late afternoon in the middle of summer
Early night in the midst of summer season

The place to Keep at Arches Nationwide Park

Versus a number of different parks, there aren’t any lodges inside Arches Nationwide Park. However the park entrance is lower than 10 minutes from Moab so that you don’t have to be on-site. We’ve stayed at 5 completely different locations in and round Moab:

Moab Springs Ranch was our favourite place to remain. It’s between Moab and the Arches entrance gate so the drive to the park is a couple of minutes shorter, and the entire cabins are distanced from one another so throughout a pandemic it felt properly secure. It was additionally the one place we stayed final 12 months that had fully contactless check-in and check-out protocols. Parking was just a few steps from our door. The draw back: you’re not on the town, so it’s a drive, albeit a brief one, for meals. We discovered parking in Moab to typically be simple.

Arches National Park with Kids: Our cabin at Moab Springs Ranch
Our cabin at Moab Springs Ranch

Field Station Moab has one of the best setup for households that we’ve seen anyplace. Our room had 4 queen/double beds, together with two as bunk beds. Why can’t different resorts do that? Past the right room setup, the lodge has a enjoyable out of doors journey vibe. A superb location between the park and city.

Field Station Moab
Area Station Moab

The Best Western Canyonlands Inn is in the midst of Moab and we liked the pool, the laundry (one among our solely highway journey resorts in two years that has a laundry room for company), the included breakfast and the free espresso all day within the foyer. It was a simple stroll to get lunch and dinner on the town.

California road trip - Playing at Best Western's Canyonlands Inn
Enjoying at Finest Western’s Canyonlands Inn

Hoodoo Moab (a Hilton property) is on the town and is a typical, albeit good, lodge. We had been capable of park and stroll to many eating places, though it nonetheless made sense to drive/park if we had been choosing up from locations greater than two or three blocks away.

Arches National Park with Kids: Our room at Hoodoo Moab
Our room at Hoodoo Moab

Inca Inn is an affordable motel if you wish to lower your expenses – not fairly walkable to city and a bit of farther from Arches than Moab Springs Ranch, however for those who’re not going to spend a lot time in your room it’s a great choice. Understanding I used to be going to go away earlier than breakfast, the entrance desk individual gave me a big bag of fruit and snacks the evening earlier than – a pleasant contact.

Arches National Park with Kids: Inca Inn. I didn't take other photos - sorry!
Inca Inn. I didn’t take different pictures – sorry!

We additionally need to strive Under Canvas Moab (glamping) in some unspecified time in the future, since we’ve had nice stays at different Beneath Canvas properties. They’re closed in winter.

What to Do in Arches Nationwide Park Utah

As I mentioned above, Arches is straightforward. There’s one entrance and only one primary highway by means of the park, with a couple of aspect roads resulting in completely different arches. You possibly can see the highlights in a day or you may spend a number of days exploring. Simply don’t go in the midst of the day in the summertime or on a fall/spring weekend! It’s much more fulfilling early within the day and within the night with out crowds.

Arches National Park with Kids: Playing near Sand Dune Arch
Enjoying close to Sand Dune Arch

I’ll record the principle websites right here so as of our favourite to least-favorite together with how lengthy we spent at each. For those who solely have sooner or later you may decide and select which of those you need to do.

Eye of the Whale Arch

It’s a bit of unfair itemizing Eye of the Whale Arch first. It was positively our favourite arch, and it’s near the remainder of the park, however it’s not simply accessible with no 4WD automobile with excessive clearance.

To get to Eye of the Whale Arch, head into the park to Balanced Rock and switch left onto the Willow Flats highway. The highway is ok for 3/4 of a mile, however then you have to flip proper onto a really tough 4×4 highway for the remaining two miles. You can too hike or trip a mountain bike.

Arches National Park with Kids: Sunrise through Eye of the Whale Arch
Dawn by means of Eye of the Whale Arch

The arch itself is reasonably fascinating, however the space round it’s a large playground. We spent two hours simply strolling, operating and sliding round. The children had a good time! And even in the midst of summer season, we noticed nobody else there throughout these two hours.

Arches National Park with Kids: Sliding down after passing through Eye of the Whale Arch. With Tava Adventures.
Sliding down after passing by means of Eye of the Whale Arch. With Tava Adventures.
Arches National Park with Kids: Running around near Eye of the Whale Arch
Working round close to Eye of the Whale Arch

Sand Dune Arch

Sand Dune Arch is roughly a half-hour drive from the Customer’s Middle / Entrance Gate. Drive previous the 2 primary aspect roads of the park (the roads to The Home windows and to Delicate Arch) and several other miles farther on the car parking zone for Sand Dune Arch shall be in your proper and properly marked. Park and stroll only a few minutes alongside the path to a slim canyon which ends up in the arch. The sand is thick when you enter the canyon, so I extremely suggest taking off your sneakers, relying on how a lot scrambling you’re going to do.

Arches National Park with Kids: Near Sand Dune Arch
Close to Sand Dune Arch

Our youngsters had a good time enjoying in and across the arch for half an hour, and arriving within the late afternoon we noticed nearly nobody else there on both of our visits. You possibly can stroll a bit of bit additional than the arch, however it will get difficult shortly.

Sand Dune Arch at Arches National Park
Sand Dune Arch

The Home windows

Simply previous Balanced Rock, take a proper and the highway will finish after a couple of minutes on the Home windows trailhead. Take the path/sidewalk and also you’ll shortly get to the North Window Arch and South Window Arch in your left, or Turret Arch in your proper. There’s an choice to hike a barely longer path (the Primitive Loop) however actually you may simply keep on the paved trails and see the principle arches.

Arches National Park with Kids: The very easy path to Turret Arch
The very simple path to Turret Arch
Arches National Park with Kids: Walking behind the South Window Arch
Strolling behind the South Window Arch
California road trip - Sunrise through the North Window
Dawn by means of the North Window

We’ve visited at dawn and sundown. Each are stunning, though I believed dawn was a bit of nicer from a light-weight perspective. For those who’re feeling extra adventurous you may climb by means of the North Window and rock hop a bit of to get to some extent the place you may see Turret Arch by means of the North Window Arch. It was fairly at sundown, and even higher at dawn.

Arches National Park with Kids: Turret Arch through the North Window Arch
Turret Arch by means of the North Window Arch at sundown
Arches National Park - the Windows at sunrise
And at dawn
Arches National Park -  The view from my sunset/sunrise spot at the Windows
The view from my sundown/dawn spot on the Home windows

We spent 30-45 minutes right here every go to. And a observe: there’s nearly no cell service in Arches Nationwide Park, however we had been capable of get a good sign at The Home windows.

Double Arch

The car parking zone for Double Arch is possibly 30 seconds previous the lot for The Home windows, so go to each areas whilst you’re there. It solely takes 5 minutes or so to achieve Double Arch from the parking space, on a flat path, after which you may merely take pleasure in it or you may climb round. Plan for possibly half an hour at Double Arch.

Arches National Park - Double Arch
Double Arch
Double Arch at Arches National Park
Double Arch

Delicate Arch

Different lists begin with Delicate Arch as a must-see. It’s the enduring arch within the park, and it’s even on Utah’s license plates. However the hike is average and takes 45 minutes to an hour from the parking space (a couple of minutes down Delicate Arch highway from Arches Scenic Drive). I first hiked to Delicate Arch at dawn with two 10-year-olds. We left Moab at 5am, arrived on the Delicate Arch car parking zone at 5:30, began strolling at midnight with headlamps, and arrived on the arch at 6:15, roughly 20 minutes earlier than dawn. We spent an hour on the arch after which hiked again down which was a bit of sooner. General it’s a dedication of two.5 hours. It really works properly for dawn, however I wouldn’t hike it with children in the midst of a sizzling summer season day – there’s nearly no shade.

Arches National Park with Kids: Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch
Arches National Park with Kids: Sunrise at Delicate Arch
Dawn at Delicate Arch
Arches National Park with Kids: Hiking down from Delicate Arch
Mountaineering down from Delicate Arch

One other journey, on the finish of September, I hiked as much as Delicate Arch at sundown. I left Moab at 5pm and arrived on the car parking zone at 5:30pm. The lot was already full and I managed to squeeze into an area throughout the highway on the RV parking space. Even that lot stuffed up minutes later. If you wish to hike to the arch at sundown throughout the summer season or on a spring/fall weekend, get there early!

I arrived at Delicate Arch at 6:20pm and it was crowded – much more so than at dawn. There have been most likely 200-250 folks. I didn’t need to be round that many individuals (hiya COVID), so I hiked again out and round to the alternate viewpoint, determining a route as I went. Extremely really useful! I arrived at an excellent spot overlooking the arch and was joined a couple of minutes later by 4 others and we watched the sundown collectively (7:07pm) after which hiked again down collectively earlier than it was too darkish to see the trail.

Arches National Park with Kids: Delicate Arch at sunset
Delicate Arch at sundown
Arches National Park with Kids: Delicate Arch from the alternate viewpoint
Delicate Arch from the alternate viewpoint

Panorama Arch

On the very finish of Arches Scenic Drive is the Satan’s Backyard Trailhead. We hiked the very simple, mostly-flat path to Panorama Arch, stopping to see Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch alongside the best way. General I didn’t suppose this was a spotlight, given that you may’t get very near Panorama Arch, however it’s a great stroll for households. And there’s a for much longer mountaineering path previous Panorama Arch for those who’re adventurous.

California road trip - Landscape Arch. You can't get closer.
Panorama Arch. You possibly can’t get nearer.
California road trip - In Devil's Garden
In Satan’s Backyard
California road trip - Pine Tree Arch
Pine Tree Arch

Park Avenue

Whenever you’re driving into Arches Nationwide Park, the primary car parking zone you attain is for Park Avenue. That is nice overlook only a quick distance from the highway and is value a fast cease. We didn’t hike the path from there.

California road trip - Park Avenue
Park Avenue

Balanced Rock

Likewise, Balanced Rock is value a fast cease. You’ll drive previous it quite a few occasions within the park so chances are you’ll as properly park and stroll up shut as soon as.

Arches National Park with Kids: At Balanced Rock after sunset
At Balanced Rock after sundown

Different Issues to do in Moab

Moab isn’t that fascinating, however my children liked the Colorado River. Extremely suggest getting moist! The 2 methods we did this:


Driving up Freeway 128 (a a lot prettier highway than Freeway 191 between I-70 and Moab), you’ll observe the Colorado River. There are quite a few locations to tug over the place you may stroll to the river and swim. Our favourite was proper at mile marker 10 – it’s a decently simple path to the river, and the river itself is vast and really calm there. We swam for nearly an hour.

California road trip - Swimming in the Colorado River. We had it to ourselves!
Swimming within the Colorado River. We had it to ourselves!


Our second journey to Arches we booked a half-day non-public rafting expedition with Mild to Wild Rafting. We obtained an early lunch on the town after which met up with buddies on the rafting HQ close to city at midday. We hopped into a non-public shuttle bus and drove up Freeway 128 to the Citadel Valley part, getting a security briefing alongside the best way, after which obtained on our raft.

This had been NOT high-adrenaline rapids! The rapids alongside the Colorado River close to Moab are Class I and Class II. We didn’t want helmets, and several other occasions we jumped within the river and floated alongside the raft. For those who’re wanting critical rafting, this isn’t a visit for you. However it’s excellent for households and there was nothing scary for younger children. We went when the excessive was 100+ however the raft, though we had been within the solar, felt quite a bit cooler. Take water and sunscreen and benefit from the float!

Arches National Park with Kids: Peaceful rafting!
Peaceable rafting!
Arches National Park with Kids: I took this photo when I was floating ahead of the raft for a little while
I took this photograph once I was floating forward of the raft for a short time

A One-Day Arches Nationwide Park Itinerary

It’s exhausting to give you one excellent itinerary, since folks go to at completely different occasions of the 12 months, with completely different climate, and with children of various ages.

For a household with children over possibly 7 or 8 visiting throughout a extra crowded time, and when the climate is sizzling, that is what I’d suggest:

  1. Depart Moab roughly an hour and a half earlier than dawn and drive to the Delicate Arch trailhead.
  2. Hike to Delicate Arch for dawn.
  3. Drive over to Balanced Rock for a fast photograph.
  4. Drive to Double Arch and climb/discover.
  5. Head again to Moab for a late breakfast and occasional. We just like the Jailhouse Cafe for breakfast.
  6. Calm down a bit of after which head up Freeway 128 and go for a swim within the river, or for those who can slot in a half-day of rafting (relying on daylight), go for it!
  7. Within the late afternoon drive to Sand Dune Arch and play.
  8. Drive over to The Home windows for sundown.
  9. Head again to Moab for dinner. Antica Forma has nice pizza.
Arches National Park with Kids: Hiking down from Delicate Arch after sunrise
Mountaineering down from Delicate Arch after dawn

We by no means wished to be within the park in the midst of the day due to crowds and warmth. If these weren’t issues, and if we had meals with us, there’s not the identical incentive to go into city after a dawn hike.

Arches National Park with Kids: Playing near the parking lot for Sand Dune Arch
Enjoying close to the car parking zone for Sand Dune Arch close to sundown

Fast Suggestions for Arches Nationwide Park Utah

  1. Convey loads of water with you. I noticed folks mountaineering as much as Delicate Arch when it was 95 levels they usually had nothing with them. Dumb.
  2. You may get a cell sign close to The Home windows, however nearly nowhere else.
  3. As a result of there’s no cell protection, you may’t stream. SiriusXM was our soundtrack together with something we had downloaded from Spotify.
  4. Climbing on the arches themselves is prohibited, however you may stroll by means of a lot of them.
  5. There’s a lesser-known rest room down Willow Flats highway a bit of from Balanced Rock.
  6. There’s loads of actually good Nationwide Park content material (and different journey as properly) on GoTraveler. Value testing earlier than you go to Arches and different parks.

Your Recommendation for Arches Nationwide Park

What did we miss? Properly, we missed the Fiery Furnace hike, however we couldn’t get a mountaineering move this summer season. However what else did we miss? What had been your favourite issues to do with children at Arches Nationwide Park? What’s your favourite arch?

Arches National Park with Kids: Everywhere you drive (and stop) in Arches National Park is amazing
All over the place you drive (and cease) in Arches Nationwide Park is wonderful