Even during the Timed Entry Pilot Program (April–October, 7am–4pm), visitors may still encounter long lines at the entrance booth and busy parking lots. Hikers wisely avoiding summer heat may fill up trailhead parking lots before 8 am. Outside of the Timed Entry Pilot Program hours/months, full parking lots may cause the park to temporarily restrict access until congestion lessens. Periods of restricted access can last 3-5 hours.
Plan ahead. Use the restroom prior to getting in line, and have snacks and water on hand. Ensure you have a full tank of gas prior to your arrival, as there are no opportunities to get gas inside the park. Plan alternative options for places to visit if the park is restricting access when you arrive.
The website content below may not reflect park conditions and operations during the Timed Entry Pilot Program (April through October, 7am to 4pm), yet may become accurate again at the program's end. We are keeping the content here for reference by people planning visits at other times of year.
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When you visit Arches in the busy season, you can expect long lines, busy parking, and delays. Rangers at Arches tell you what to expect and ways to avoid the crowds.
Early morning and evening visits provide their own benefits. The lighting is better for photography and viewing the park features, temperatures are cooler, and the parking areas and trails may be less crowded.
More than 1.5 million visitors come to Arches National Park each year, and that number is growing. During Arches' busy season (March through October), you may experience limited parking at all destinations in the park.
What are the best times to arrive?
The park is open 24 hours a day. Late afternoon and evening hours offer beautiful sunsets and reduced crowding, and naturally dark night skies sparkle overhead. During summer months, many trailhead parking lots fill by 7:30 am.
Temporary entry delays
Once parking lots fill up, staff may delay vehicles from entering the park until space opens to accommodate more people and vehicles. During these temporary delays (which may last three to five hours), vehicles may not park near the entrance sign or anywhere along the road to wait. Consider visiting other nearby attractions.
Lines at the entrance station
As soon as the park reopens from a temporary restrictions, long lines form on the entrance road and may continue into the afternoon. If the line backs up to the park entrance sign, your wait can last up to an hour. Use the restrooms before waiting in line; there are no restrooms along the entrance road.
If the entrance road is backed up, you may not stop on the highway or near the entrance sign to wait. Come back at another time, or consider visiting other nearby attractions
You can check traffic conditions in the area around Moab and Arches National Park at the Utah Department of Transportation Traffic Site.
Inside the park
Once inside the park, you can expect increased travel times and congestion along the scenic drive. Parking lots may be full for much of the day. Park rangers regularly work in parking lots to help you find your way. Please follow their instructions.
What time of year is busiest?
From March through October, visitation at Arches is extremely high. These holidays and weekends are especially busy:
Where are the crowds?
When parking lots are full, please remember:
If you do find a parking spot and go for a hike, expect to see a lot of other people on the trail. It is not uncommon for hundreds of people to visit Delicate Arch at sunset.
How can I avoid the crowds?
Last updated: August 2, 2023