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Are you looking for the best spot to see an Arches National Park sunrise? You’re in luck! Every time we visit Arches, we get up bright and early to catch the sunrise from a different place. We put together this post to showcase some of the best spots!
There’s something magical about watching the sun come up over the majestic arches in Arches National Park. If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of this natural phenomenon, there are a few great locations to view the sunrise.
In order to catch the sunrise, I recommend getting there are least 30 minutes earlier than the sunrise actually begins. There were a few times we got there as the sun was already rising, which meant we missed the most magical part. Don’t be like us!
Here are our top six picks for where to see the perfect Arches National Park sunrise.
One of the most popular places to watch the sunrise in Arches National Park is Balanced Rock. This iconic rock formation is located closer to the park entrance than some other locations on this list, making it easily accessible for early risers.
Plus, there’s a large open area in front of Balanced Rock that gives you a clear view of the sun as it rises over the arches.
Balanced Rock is the first place we ever caught the sunrise during our first ever trip to Arches National Park. It’s great because there’s a small parking lot that’s normally not full in the early morning, because everyone heads to Delicate Arch.
There is also a fence here that has sturdy poles that work well for a long exposure image if you forget your tripod like we did. It held our camera steady and allowed us to get some great photos, like the one above!
Courthouse Towers & Park Avenue
Located near the entrance of Arches National Park are Park Avenue and the iconic Courthouse Towers. For guests who are getting to the park and cutting it a bit close for an Arches National Park sunrise, this is a great place to pull off.
What’s so great about this spot is there’s a gorgeous viewpoint just a short walk from the parking lot. Plus, there are some educational boards there where you can read more about the rock formations in Arches if you want some history and science!
There’s also a moderate hiking trail here if you want to do a morning sunrise hike in Arches. It only takes about an hour to do and is slightly under 2 miles, so it’s fairly easy. The trail leads you into a canyon as you walk directly through Park Avenue and take in the rock formations, which will be beautifully lit up with the sunrise colors.
There are steep stairs on one end, and if you want to avoid them, head over to the northern end. Either way, whether you do the trail or not, this can be a good spot to catch the sunset.
We’ve caught the sunrise at the Windows before, and it’s one of the most iconic spots for an Arches National Park sunrise! That’s because they do provide a “window” of sorts both ways, allowing for epic views all around.
The parking lot here is also very large, so it’s a bit easy to get a spot here if you get to the park early enough. Just park your car and make the 1-mile trek up to the windows so you can take in the view and watch the sunset.
For this area, you may want to bring a headlamp (make sure it’s red light) because there are some steps that make up the majority of the trail. You don’t want to trip before you even make it up there, especially if you’re walking over with a morning cup of coffee!
For some incredible photos, stand or sit directly under the arches and snap a photo with the sun rising behind you. It makes for a great Instagram photo or even a keepsake souvenir. NEVER climb on the arches!
Located directly near the Windows is Double Arch. This is my girlfriend’s favorite viewpoint and arch in the entire park, and it’s because it’s so unique. As the name suggests, it actually has two arches in the same spot, and when you walk up to it, it almost feels like an amphitheater with the way the noise bounces around.
This is a short 0.6-mile walk/hike from the parking lot. It’s fairly well marked but be sure to stay on the trail instead of forging a new one; leave no trace. The walk over is fairly flat though it can be a bit sandy, so make sure you have your hiking boots.
Once you’re over at Double Arch, head up underneath it a bit to get a great photo like the one above. The arches here provide an incredible frame for your photos, making it near impossible to get an ugly Arches National Park sunrise photo.
The Panorama Point area is a spot that completely got an overhaul for the 2022 season. This spot is perfect if you want to catch the sunrise with kids or if you want a spot where you really only have to walk a few feet from your car to get a view.
There are also many rock slabs here that were placed intentionally for stargazing in the evening but also work perfectly for a spot to sit to catch the sunrise. This is one of our favorite spots to come in the park for a great view!
Be sure to come back here again in the evening for sunset. This spot does get pretty busy at sunset though, so you will want to snag a spot early. Plus, there are picnic spots here!
The most iconic spot to catch the sunrise in Arches National Park is at Delicate Arch. That’s because this landmark is featured on all of the Utah license plates and is the best hike in the entire park! Because of that, you will want to get to this parking lot even earlier; it can be hard to find a spot because so many people hike it in the morning.
The hike up to Delicate Arch isn’t that bad, but if you don’t like heights, be warned! This trail is about 3 miles long round trip, and starts off fairly flat. Then, it gets steeper as you climb all the way up a giant boulder and eventually make your way around to the arch. I wouldn’t recommend doing this hike if the rocks are slick from recent rainfall!
Again, this is one of those trails that you will want to do with a headlight, so make sure you have a red one ready to go. Grab some morning coffee and a granola bar and start the trek. It took us about 30-45 minutes to get to the top when we did it! Give yourself some leeway if you’re not used to the elevation.
Once you get to the top, you’ll notice that it will start to get busier. Especially in the peak season, a line may quickly start to form around the arch so people can get a photo. Consider getting your photo sooner rather than later.
Turret Arch is located right by the Windows and is one of the more underrated places to see an Arches National Park sunrise. It has a giant, tall arch that’s impossible to miss and is a stark contrast to the others that you can see throughout the park.
The walk up isn’t long at all, probably around 0.5 miles from the parking lot, if that! Once you get up there, you’ll be amazed at the view. Consider using the arch to frame your photos! We’ve found this to be one of the lesser-visited spots, similar to Balanced Rock.
What’s great about this spot is that you could technically see all three arches up here during sunrise if you’re up for the walk. Start at Turret Arch, make your way to the Windows, and then head on over to Double Arch to complete the loop!
Any of the pull-offs
Last but not least, if you’re not up for doing an early hike, consider going to any of the viewpoints around the park to catch the Arches National park sunrise. There are quite a few throughout the park, and truly, a lot of them are overlooked and underrated.
One that easily comes to mind is the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint, which is right at the top of the mountain past the entrance. This one looks out to the mountains and provides a gorgeous spot to catch the sunrise.
If you don’t want to stop there, keep driving through the park until you find a pull-off that has a view you’re happy with. They truly are located all throughout the park, so you can take your pick.
The nice thing about the viewpoints too is that you don’t even have to get out of your car if you don’t want to. You can easily enjoy the sunrise from the warmth of your car!
This post was all about the best places to catch an Arches National Park sunrise. We hope you enjoy your trip to Moab; it’s one of our favorite places!
Since you’re heading to Moab, check out more of our posts about the area below!
- 13 Best Restaurants in Moab, Utah
- 13 Mouth-Watering Spots for Breakfast in Moab
- 9 Amazing Tours of Arches National Park to Book on Your Next Trip to Moab
- 1 Day in Arches National Park: The Perfect Itinerary
- 13 Easy Hikes in Arches National Park
- 11 Best Hikes in Canyonlands National Park
- How to Spend One Day in Canyonlands National Park