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The best half day hikes in Arches National Park

The best half day hikes in Arches National Park

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best half day hikes in arches national park utah

Arches National Park is best viewed on foot and some of my favourite hikes so far were in Arches National Park. Sure, you can drive around it pretty easily and see some incredible scenery. But, to really experience it you’re going to have to get out of your car, put on some good shoes, grab a bottle of water and get hiking.

The good news is that none of these hikes need take you days to complete. Even the longest maintained hike (there’s some that have unmaintained trails which will take several days) will only take half a day to complete. Nothing is too steep either so the hikes are accessible to most people. We saw people of all ages, fitness and preparedness hiking so you’ve got no excuse!

These are the best hikes half day hikes in Arches National Park – don’t forget your water!

Devil’s Garden Trail

devil's garden trail arches national park

The Devil’s Garden Trail is the longest maintained trail in Arches National Park and it’s also the best day hike in Arches National Park. It’ll take you a long time, but if you’re fairly speedy you’ll be able to fit in this in the morning and the hike to Delicate Arch in the afternoon as we did.

On the Devil’s Garden Trail you’ll pass; Landscape Arch, Navajo Arch, Partition Arch, Pine Tree Arch, Tunnel Arch, Double O Arch, Private Arch and the Dark Angel. You can see what all of these look like in my write up of the Devil’s Garden Trail.

Once you’ve got to Double O Arch you can choose whether you’ve got the energy (or time) to hike to Dark Angel. It’s only a short walk further and it’s a pretty cool rock but not as cool as the arches. From Dark Angel you’ll have to walk back the way you came to Double O Arch and from here you can decide whether to repeat your steps or go along the primitive trail.

The primitive trail has one extra arch, Private Arch, and it’s pretty quiet. There’s more rock scrambling on this section of the trail which makes it all the more fun! I’d definitely recommend it.

Length: 7.2 miles in total including primitive loop (I think, but nothing seems to agree on the total distance. This is from the park newspaper which should be correct)
Time to complete: 3-5 hours
More details: Hiking the Devil’s Garden Trail

Delicate Arch Trail

best half day hikes in arches national park delicate arch

The second best half day hike in Arches National Park has to be the hike to Delicate Arch. Delicate Arch is undoubtedly one of the most impressive arches in the whole park. It’s not supported within a larger, more stable looking rock like the other arches and stand along on the top of a cliff.

The hike here is fun but it is busier as the arch is the most recognisable part of Arches National Park. It’s also the arch on many Utahn’s license plates.

This hike is pretty exposed so make sure to take plenty of water and stay on the lookout for the cairns (stacked up rocks) which mark the way you should go.

Length: 3 miles roundtrip
Time to complete: 1-3 hours

Broken Arch Trail & Tapestry Arch

broken arch best half day hikes in arches national park


This trail crosses a big meadow as you head from the parking lot over to the arch. You can add an extra mile to the trail if you wish by heading over towards Tapestry Arch. Be aware that this extra mile involves quite a bit more scrambling than the first 1.3 miles!

These trails were probably the quietest ones we saw in the whole of Arches National Park.

Length: 1.3 miles round trip to Broken Arch. Add 1 mile to Tapestry Arch
Time to complete: 1/2 hour to 1.5 hours

The Windows & Turret Arch

best half day hikes in arches national park

This is a very easy and quick trail to do and you can add an extra 1/2 mile by heading over to Double Arch before or after visiting the windows.

From the windows you’ll also be able to see Turret Arch, I think the best view of Turret Arch is from The Windows but you can walk up closer to Turret Arch if you wish.

Return via the same trail you took or take the slightly longer (more fun) primitive trail which loops around the back The Windows. We saw absolutely no one on the primitive trail. It wasn’t tricky, nothing like the primitive trail on the Devil’s Garden Trail and I’d highly recommend it as an alternative way to get back to the car!

Length: 1 mile round trip
Time to complete: 1/2 hour to 1 hour

Park Avenue

best half day hikes in arches national park

This is the first trail you’ll come across upon entering Arches National Park. It’s fairly steep to begin with as you descend into the canyon. Then you’ll go past Courthouse Towers (impressive rock formations) and finishes up near Sheep Rock.

A lot of people seem to arrange for someone to drive the mile and pick them up at the end of the trail but obviously you could just walk back the way you came.

Length: 1 mile (each way)
Time to complete: 1/2 hour to 1 hour

Where to stay near Arches National Park

You’re most likely to be either camping near Arches or staying in a hotel in Moab. Take a look at my guide to Moab if that’s where you’re basing yourself while visiting Arches National Park. Here’s a few suggestions of top hotels near Arches National Park.

Camping near Arches National Park

If you’re camping in an RV or didn’t manage to get a camping spot at Arches National Park then take a look at Up the Creek campground. It’s a campground in Moab which is within walking distance of the best restaurants and shops in the town. Here you’ll get hot showers, proper toilets and more – luxury camping!

Want more Utah travel ideas?

The best arches in Arches National Park | That Adventurer

Monday 22nd of May 2017

[…] May 17, 2017 The best half day hikes in Arches National Park […]

Rob | Chapters & Adventures

Sunday 21st of May 2017

Looks incredible. One day I'll tick 'American Road Trip' off the buck list.

Hannah Kacary

Sunday 21st of May 2017

I hope you get to do it!

Anne Sutherland-Smith

Wednesday 17th of May 2017

Thanks for sharing a great overview of the hiking options - we are planning to visit Arches National Park in the future so this is very good information to help us plan our visit.

Hannah Kacary

Thursday 18th of May 2017

I hope you have a great time! Glad you found this useful :)