Hiking

A person in a red jacket hikes behind a person in a gray jacket. The trail they are walking is tan stone with green bushes around them. Up ahead of them is a large red arch with a blue sky with puffy white clouds behind it.
Hikers on the trail to North Window

NPS/Chris Wonderly

 

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Arches contains a variety of hiking trails, many of which are considered easy to moderate. Trails provide access to outstanding viewpoints and arches not visible from the road. Many trails use cairns (stacks of rocks) for markers and cross broad rock surfaces, requiring attention to follow.

Protect Yourself

Each year, park rangers respond to hundreds of search and rescue incidents in the park. Many involve heat and sun exposure, twisted knees or ankles, or getting lost. Before hiking, review our safety page for tips on having a safe and enjoyable visit.

Protect Your Park

Watch Your Step.
Help us protect biological soil crusts during your visit. Please walk only on trails, rock or in sandy washes (where water flows when it rains), and keep all vehicles and bikes on designated roads.

Protect Ephemeral Pools.
Sandstone basins called ephemeral pools or potholes are home to a variety of life. Tiny organisms depend on the water in these shallow pools. To protect these life forms, please do not swim, bathe, or drink the water in desert potholes, and do not walk through dry ones.

Keep off the Arches.
To promote visitor safety and the opportunity to view natural features undisturbed, climbing, scrambling, walking or standing upon, or rappelling off any arch is prohibited in the park.

Leave the Rocks as You See Them.
Graffiti—carving, scratching, chalking, or any type of marking—is illegal and unsightly. If you see someone marking on the rocks, please report it to a ranger. Learn how to be a good visitor to archeological sites.

 

Easy Trails

Trail Round-trip Distance Time Elevation Description
Nature Trail 150 ft
(45 m)
5-10 min 0 feet
(0 m)
Learn about native desert plants on a short nature trail behind Arches Visitor Center.
Balanced Rock 0.3 mi
(0.4 km)
15-20 min 35 feet
(11 m)
A loop trail at the base of a fragile, picturesque rock formation. The beginning of the trail is paved and may be accessible to wheelchairs. The paved path ends at a viewpoint where you can see The Windows and the distant La Sal Mountains. Continue around Balanced Rock by following a marked path on a gravel and slickrock surface.
The Windows 1 mi
(1.6 km)
30-60 min 99 feet
(10 m)
A gentle climb up a gravel trail and stone steps leads to the massive North Window, South Window, and Turret Arch. Return to the parking lot via the same trail, or take the slightly longer primitive route around the back side by starting at South Window viewpoint. First 100 yards of main trail may be accessible to wheelchairs with assistance.
Double Arch 0.6 mi
(1 km)
15-30 min 30 feet
(10 m)
A gently sloping, gravel-surfaced trail leads to the base of two giant arch spans which are joined at one end. May be accessible to wheelchairs with assistance.
Delicate Arch Viewpoints 200 ft
(61 m)
or
0.5 mi
(0.8 km)
10 min
or
30 min
0 ft
(0 m)
or
171 feet
(52 m)
Lower viewpoint is wheelchair-accessible. A moderately strenuous 0.5 mile (0.8 km) hiking trail climbs to the Upper Viewpoint, where Delicate Arch is visible across a steep canyon. You can't reach Delicate Arch on this trail; to hike all the way to the arch, start from Wolfe Ranch.
Sand Dune Arch 0.4 mi
(0.6 km)
15-30 min 0 feet
(0 m)
A short hike to a secluded arch among fins of rock. This is a shady spot with deep sand on the ground. Good for families. Do not climb or jump off arch.
Broken Arch Loop 1.4 mi
(2.3 km)
or
2 mi
(3.2 km)
30 min
or
60 min
59 feet
(18 m)
From the trailhead at the Sand Dune Arch parking area, the trail crosses a large meadow to Broken Arch. You can continue through the arch to the campground, then circle back through fins with sand dunes and some moderate scrambling.
Skyline Arch 0.4 mi
(0.6 km)
10-20 min 28 feet
(8 m)
Park at the Skyline Arch parking area for this short hike on a flat, well-defined trail. On a cold night in November 1940, a large chunk fell out of the arch, instantly doubling the size of its opening.
Landscape Arch
at Devils Garden
1.8 mi
(2.9 km)
30-60 min 40 feet
(12 m)
Park at Devils Garden trailhead. A hard-packed trail leads to a spectacular ribbon of rock, whose span is more than a football field in length. Some steep slopes may be accessible to wheelchairs with assistance. Short side trips to Tunnel and Pine Tree arches. Trail guide available at trailhead. After Landscape Arch, the Devils Garden trail becomes difficult, with rock scrambling, narrow ledges, and exposure to heights.
Courthouse Wash
Panel
0.8 mi
(1.4 km)
30-60 min 60 feet
(18 m)
Park at the Lower Courthouse Wash parking area, 0.5 miles (0.8 km) north of the Colorado River on the right side of US 191. Take a short walk south on the multiuse trail, descend onto the dirt, then climb up to a prehistoric rock markings panel (at the base of the cliffs, facing west). Bring binoculars to view the panels from a distance.

 

Moderate Trails

Trail Round-trip Distance Time Elevation Description
Park Avenue 1.8 miles
(3.2 km)
1 hour 322 feet
(98 m)
From Park Avenue parking area, the trail descends steeply into a spectacular canyon and continues down the wash to Courthouse Towers. If you have a shuttle driver, you can begin at one point and be picked up at the other. For roundtrip hiking, retrace your steps along the trail rather than walking along the park road. For an easier hike that skips the stairs, begin and end at Courthouse Towers Viewpoint.
 

Difficult Trails

Trail Round-trip Distance Time Elevation Description
Tower Arch 2.6 miles
(4.2 km)
2-3 hrs 290 ft
(89 m)
Trail climbs a steep, short rock wall, cuts across a valley and then meanders through sandstone fins and sand dunes. An alternate, shorter trail (0.3 mile [0.5 km] one way), begins at the end of the four-wheel-drive road on the west side of Tower Arch. Unpaved roads wash out quickly in rainstorms; check road conditions before heading out.
Delicate Arch 3 miles
(4.8 km)
2-3 hrs 538 ft
(164 m)
Open slickrock with no shade. The first half mile is a well defined trail. Follow the rock cairns. The trail climbs steadily and levels out toward the top of this rock face. Just before you get to Delicate Arch, the trail traverses a narrow rock ledge for about 200 yards (183 m).
Take at least 2 quarts (2 L) of water per person.
Double O Arch
at Devils Garden
4.0 miles
(6.4 km)
2-3 hrs 275 ft
(84 m)
Beyond Landscape Arch (listed above), the trail is more challenging as it climbs over sandstone slabs. Footing is rocky; there are narrow ledges with exposure to heights. Spur trails lead to Partition and Navajo arches. Dark Angel is 0.5 miles (0.8 km) farther. Trail guide available at trailhead.
Devils Garden
all Trails
7.9 miles
(12.7 km)
3-5 hours 286 ft
(87 m)
Full Devils Garden trail sysetm includes Landscape Arch, Double O Arch, Dark Angel, and the primitive trail. This challenging hike involves narrow ledges, steep exposures, uneven surfaces, rock scrambling, and few trail markers. Avoid when rock is wet or snowy, or for those uncomfortable with heights or exposure. Trail guide available at trailhead.
Fiery Furnace No trail The Fiery Furnace is a labyrinth of narrow sandstone canyons that requires agility to explore. One route is marked, but you could get lost.To enter the Fiery Furnace, you must accompany a ranger-guided hike or obtain a day-use permit. Reserve permits and hike tickets through Recreation.gov.

Last updated: May 19, 2022

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