How long does it take to visit Arches National Park?

Whether you are planning to visit Arches National Park or you are just curious about how long it takes to visit Arches National Park, you found the perfect article to cover your query.

It takes at least two hours to visit Arches National Park. However, adding one more hour is a good idea if you do not want to rush it. Basically, the area can be covered very quickly via car, but you should stop at several points to enjoy your visit. We will get deeper into how to visit Arches National Park later in the article.

Visiting Arches National Park without a guide

Traveling without guides is often thrilling. We are free to visit how we want to. Arches National Park is totally visitable on your own. It is not like Antelope Canyon for instance, where it is forbidden to visit on your own.

But there are still things you should know about visiting Arches National Park on your own.

How long does it take?

First, you should know how long it takes to visit this National Park. As mentioned in the introduction, it is not a huge area like Death Valley for instance. It is way smaller, and you can drive through Arches National Park in around 2 hours.

However, driving does not mean visiting. Whereas you totally can drive and stop several times in under 2 hours, you will probably feel like you rush the park.

Since there are tons of different arches to see, the best would be to take at least half-a-day to visit Arches National Park. This way, you will be able to drive from your house, chill in the park, and get back to your house without rushing the park.

There are so many arches in the park that if you rush it, you will feel bad about it. If you want to see what the main arches of the park look like, I recommend that you read the other article I wrote about Arches National Park, where I describe what you can see in the area.

Is it easy to visit all on your own?

It is really easy to visit Arches National Park on your own. Simply stop in the car parks where you enjoy the view, walk to the rocks, take some pictures, head back to the car, and repeat. Simple as that.

However, if you want to learn about how those arches formed, and have specific pieces of information about some rock formations, the best would be to book a guided tour. This is what we are going to discuss now.

Visiting Arches National Park with a guide

Visiting Arches National Park with a guide is a great idea if you want to experience deeper the Arches National Park. Basically, if you travel to Arches National Park on your own, you will have a great time enjoying the scenic views, but you will not learn a lot about this place’s history.

On the other hand, it is the guides’ role to explain how every arch was formed. Hence, booking a guided tour could be a good option if you are a geology lover or just a curious person.

stone arch in arches national park at sunrise photo
Delicate Arch is one of the most famous arches of Arches National Park. When it is photographed, it does not look really big. But in fact, it is 52 feet (16 m) high. Picture from Nate Foong.

How long does it take?

Guided tours in Arches National Park take between 4 and 5 hours. They are usually all-included tours, with snacks, drinks, and park entrance fees included in the price.

If you want to see the different options available, I recommend that you directly check Moab Adventure Center, where they will give you all the details needed to prepare your guided tour. A tour is usually around $100/person.

Note that I am not affiliated with any of these tour organizers and that I simply recommend them to you because they are the most serious guides I found during my research.

Is it worth it?

When you land on the Moab Adventure Center website, you can see that there are three different options to visit Arches National Park.

There is a sunset tour, a morning tour, and a fly tour. There is no afternoon tour because sunrise and sunset are the two best times to get great shots.

The best thing about guides is that they know when the sun will give great expositions to every arch. Hence, they will take you to every arch at the best time possible to photograph it.

On the other hand, if you are on your own, you may have trouble finding the right exposure and angle to take great pictures. The sunset tour proposed by Moab Adventure Center is a good option to discover Arches National Park.

For the most part of this tour, you are on a bus. This could sound boring, but in fact, it’s easier to enjoy the landscape when you are a passenger than when you are the driver. Then, the bus will stop several times at the best points of the park.

So, to answer the original question “Is it worth it visiting Arches National Park with a guide?”, I would answer that it is if you want to learn from the guide’s expertise.

If you do not care about arches formation and taking great shots, it is useless to book a tour. However, if you want to have great exposure shots and learn about the arches, it is a good option to choose a guided tour.

What should I see in Arches National Park?

There are more than 2,000 arches in Arches National Park. It would be ambitious to say that you will see them all in 3 hours. However, there are some rock formations that you should not miss if you plan on visiting Arches National Park.

person in blue hoodie skateboarding in arches national park
The kind of views you can get approching Arches National Park in Moab Valley. Picture from Jaxon Lott.

I mentioned those arches in my other article “What to See in Arches National Park?“, but I will summarize them here for you. So, what should I see in Arches National Park?

When you visit Arches National Park, you should see the following rock formations.

  • Park Avenue
  • The Three Gossips
  • Balanced Rock
  • North and South Windows
  • Delicate Arch
  • Landscape Arch
  • Double O Arch

Those rock formations are not only arches but also scenic landscapes that you should see when visiting Arches National Park.

Double O Arch and Landscape Arch are definitely the two arches that get the most photographed, but the other places mentioned in the list are also incredible.

Thank you for reading the article. I did my best to cover the question of the timings in Arches National Park. Now you know that visiting Arches National Park can be done in a relatively short period of time, but that rushing it would be a shame.

That is why I recommend visiting Arches National Park during a full morning or a full afternoon. This way, you can enjoy the sunrise or the sunset and still have time to chill in the park.

If there are some points I forgot to mention, or if you have any additional questions about Arches National Park, you should definitely leave a comment or e-mail me. I will be happy to get in touch with you and answer your request.

The activities in Arches National Park

As Arches National Park is a sought after destination for rock climbing, canyoneering, hiking (and some occasional skateboarding), it’s important to mention a note on travel credit cards vs travel insurance. While some travel credit cards have the option of limited travel insurance, it is very unlikely they will cover you for any medical emergencies. Depending on your contract, travel credit cards may cover you due to airline problems and hotel bookings, losing your luggage, or if your travel plans change because of familial medical problems. If you’re seeking any form of medical coverage while on your travels, you may want to consider another form of travel insurance rather than depending on your travel credit card.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *