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When is the Best Time to Visit Arches National Park?

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Arches National Park draws in thousands of visitors with its unique natural architecture and remote location. If you’ve ever visited the park, then you know it can almost feel like you are on another planet.

However, there are better times than others to experience the park’s otherworldliness. Trust us, we know because we’ve visited every season of the year!

The summer can get hot, the winter can get cold, and the spring and the fall can bring unpredictable weather, so we are here to help you find when the best time to visit Arches National Park for you is.

When is the best time to visit Arches National Park?

entrance sign that says "Arches National Park"

Because Arches National Park has a forest of rock formations instead of trees, there isn’t a lot of growth or color change from season to season.

So picking the best season comes down to activities, temperatures, and visitors.

In my opinion, fall is the obvious answer to this one. The temperatures are perfect, not getting too cold at night or too hot during the day, and there are plenty of things to do near the park other than just hiking and camping (keep reading to see what those are). 

The best time to visit Arches National Park to get the most out of your trip will be the fall season.

Best time to go to Arches National Park by type:

Delicate Arch under a blue sky
  • Fewest crowds: The best month to visit to avoid the masses of crowds that plague the summer months will be January. The holiday breaks have passed, and the temperatures are at their coldest, but if you want to feel alone in the park, January is the time to go. 
  • Best for hiking: April is the best month in Arches for hiking. The temperatures stay just below 80 degrees, and although the park is popular at this time, many of the trails won’t be too crowded. 
  • For camping: The best time to go to Arches National Park for camping is in May. Be sure to reserve your campsite as May will be getting into the busy season, but the temperatures aren’t too hot or too cold for lounging around the campsite or getting up early and exploring the park.
  • Best weather: October brings Arches the best weather yearly. That 60-degree weather just can’t be beaten.

Visiting Arches National Park by the Season

So, which season should you head to Arches? We’ve been during every season of the year, so find a breakdown below.

Spring in Arches

arch with sand underneath

The temperatures start warming up in March to about 64 degrees on a good day, but once it hits April and May, the weather can not be beaten. April stays around 70 degrees, and May tops out at about 80.

There is a bit more rain to be expected in this season, but generally, the weather is perfect for hiking and exploring the park. Due to the beautiful weather, many visitors are attracted to the park at this time, so expect to see a good amount of people enjoying Arches right alongside you.

Pros & Cons of Visiting Arches in the Spring:

  • Pro: National Park Week is in April annually. This week offers fun programs and events to honor our national parks!
  • Con: Due to the influx of visitors, lines to get into the park can be long.
  • Pro: The temperatures aren’t too hot, and you can hike easily during the day without getting overheated.
  • Con: You will have to get a timed entry pass to visit during this time of year.

Arches Spring Activities:

  • Although the trails might be a little bit packed, you can not pass up this opportunity to hike some of the park’s most popular hikes, like the Delicate Arch, in the beautiful weather.
  • Reserve a campsite at Devil’s Garden and spend the night nestled between soaring rock formations.
  • Participate in a free one-mile ranger-led walk that will provide you with fascinating information about the ecosystem of the park.

Tips for Visiting in the Spring:

  • Even if parking lots begin to fill up, make sure to only park in the designated areas and stay on the roads; a parking spot will show up eventually.
  • Check out the Arches website or Twitter to get up-to-date information about the weather and traffic in the park.
  • Book your timed entry pass sooner rather than later!

Summer in Arches

purple and orange sky with a rocky outline

If you do it wrong, summer in this park can be miserable. But for many families, this is the best time of year to visit Arches National Park. So we’re here to provide you with tips and tricks on how to make your summer trip to Arches top-notch.

Although the weather gets a little hot (temperatures can go above 100 degrees Fahrenheit) and the crowds can be overwhelming, there is a lot of good to be found in the summer at Arches too.

Pros & Cons of Visiting Arches in the Summer:

  • Con: Summer storms can cause flash flooding in the park.
  • Pro: Temperatures will be warm well into the evening so that you can explore the park for an extended period of time.
  • Con: If you don’t get an early start, you may have to wait in line to enter the park. You will also need a timed entry pass.

Arches Summer Activities:

  • Like I mentioned earlier, the temperatures at night are warmer, so they are perfect for camping and stargazing.
  • There are many guided tours available to fully experience the park, highly recommended for your first time.
  • The Moab Music Festival begins in August.

Tips for Visiting in the Summer:

  • The weather can get up to over 100 degrees in the summer, so be sure to dress accordingly and bring lots and lots of water.
  • Arrive early in the day or in the late afternoon, the weather is cooler, and the golden lighting is perfect for photos. (We also always get to this park early enough for sunrise in summer to ensure we can get parking.)

Fall in Arches

view of the iconic delicate arch with an otherworldly landscape

The weather starts to cool down a bit in the fall; temperatures lower to around 70 degrees in September and get lower to the 50s to 60s in October. November starts to get a little more chilly, but not unbearably so.

Visitor numbers are still pretty high into September, but the end of October and the start of November are the sweet spots for getting those cool temperatures, and the park is less crowded. 

Pros & Cons of Visiting Arches in the Fall:

  • Pro: Fewer visitors to crowd the park amenities and trails.
  • Con: Night temperatures make it harder to camp at this time.
  • Pro: Great lighting for photos both at sunrise and sunset.
  • Pro: More reservations are available than in the summer months, because there are less visitors. Plus, the reservations end in early October.
  • Con: Behind July and August, the fall months get the most precipitation.

Arches Fall Activities:

  • The Moab Music Festival continues into September.
  • The Red Rocks Art Festival happens in October and has all sorts of art mediums for visitors to participate in and enjoy.
  • The regular park things: hit the hikes and explore the beauty of the park in the fall season.
  • The Moab Folk Festival occurs at the beginning of November, go and experience lots of cool music and events at this festival.

Tips for Visiting in the Fall:

  • Although this time of year is less busy, plan to hike the popular trails in the morning or late evening and hike the lesser visited trails during the middle of the day to avoid crowds.
  • If you are staying to camp or stargaze, be prepared with layers when the temperature plummets!

Winter in Arches

snow sitting on top of a red arch with the sun peeking through

The best time to visit Arches National Park, or any park in Utah for that matter, for solitude is winter. From late November to March, the park is left alone from most of the world.

It will be cold if you visit the park at this time, the lows will come to well below 30 degrees, and the highs can get to 50, but snowfall is minimal. The crowds spike a bit during the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, but overall, the park will be all yours during the winter months.

Pros & Cons of Visiting Arches in the Winter:

  • Con: If there is snow or ice, it can make finding and hiking the trails difficult and possibly dangerous.
  • Pro: The barren winter intensifies the beauty of the rock formations and colors, making for some stunning pictures.
  • Con: There are no ranger-led activities at this time.
  • Pro: The visitor center is still open seven days a week from nine to four pm. 

Arches Winter Activities:

  • Camping is still available in the winter! Spots are first-come-first-serve. 
  • If you’re not a fan of trekking through the park in the cold, do it in your car! The scenic drive is just as beautiful in the winter.
  • This is the best time to go to Arches to hike the most popular trails without the crowds. 

Tips for Visiting in the Spring:

  • Be wary of road and trail conditions after a snowstorm.
  • When hiking, bring traction devices and trekking poles to assure your safety.

This gorgeous park deserves to be revered in all its novelty, and as you have now seen, there are better times of the year to do that than others.

I hope you were able to find the best time to visit Arches National Park is for you, so let’s not waste another second and get to it. Start planning your trip!

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