If your family loves hiking and exploring the natural world, then Arches National Park in the southeastern part of Utah should be high on your list of vacation destinations. This national park features stunning natural arches from sandstone and canyons to explore and photograph along with the occasional shallow pools. At the visitor’s center, you can get trail maps, see a lecture on the area, visit the gift shop, and sign the kids up for the Junior Ranger program. Many visitors to the park look for a Utah vacation rental in the nearby town of Moab so they can relax and spread out after a day of hiking. Before you lace up your boots, check out this list of the eight best day hikes in Arches National Park.
1. Devil’s Garden Hiking Trail
This is a primitive trail that you can join from or on the way to the Landscape Arch. As you’re on the path to the Landscape Arch, there’s a point where most people turn around, and this is the start of the Devil’s Garden trail. Keep your balance as you navigate the narrow ledges, the patches of slick rock scrambles, and uneven paths.
Despite the challenges, this five-mile trail hides some amazing sights, including the Navajo Arch, Partition Arch, Double O Arch, and Dark Angel. Pick up a trail guide at the trailhead to keep your group on the right trail and bring plenty of water for this hike that can take up to four hours.
2. Fiery Furnace
Fiery Furnace is a maze of narrow canyon walls for you and your family to climb and squeeze through. There isn’t an official trail to follow, but you can take a hike through this area with a ranger-led excursion or sign up for a day-use permit. It’s better to wait for a ranger-led tour since it’s really easy to get lost in the area.
Whether you decide to go it alone or with a ranger-led group, it’s an exciting experience. Small markers guide you around a counter-clockwise route, where you need to keep your eyes open and your feet carefully placed to avoid damaging this natural ecosystem. Pets and children younger than five aren’t allowed on this day hike.
3. Tower Arch Trail
The Tower Arch trail is your chance to escape the crowds and enjoy some family time exploring this area. Start at the Klondike Bluffs Trailhead. You find this trailhead at the end of a dirt road that’s well-maintained. From start to finish, the hike covers 2.7 miles to the arch and back. You even get the chance to take some great photos under the arch.
Although this day hike is pretty easy to navigate, there are a couple of places that tilt sharply up and down. You might want to leave smaller children at your vacation rental with an older family member. The trail crosses the valley, and then you find yourself navigating sand dunes and sandstone fins.
4. Delicate Arch Trail
You might recognize the Delicate Arch from the iconic photographs of the park or maybe just from all the Utah license plates that you see on the road. Either way, this is the must-do hike in the park. Fortunately, the trail runs for almost three miles but might be a little strenuous for younger family members. It climbs steadily, and the last little bit finds you on a narrow, rocky ledge.
Pack plenty of water for this hike. You won’t find a lot of shade on this trail that’s mostly a slick rock trail. While hiking this trail, you gain around 480 feet in altitude, and it takes approximately two and a half hours.
5. Park Avenue Trail
Start out this moderate hike at the Park Avenue parking area and test your balance as soon as you start along the steep trail to the stunning canyon floor below the lot. From the bottom, follow the wash to the Courthouse Towers for a spot to rest and enjoy a cool drink. At the end of the two-mile trail, you have a choice on how to get back to your car.
You can arrange for one of the shuttle services to pick you up and drive you back or return the way you came. However, the national park service asks that you don’t walk back to the parking lot on the service road.
6. Broken Arch Loop Trail
Start this hike at the Devils Garden Campground or Sand Dune Arch Trailhead along the Scenic Drive and bring the entire family and even your pup on a leash. This easy loop trail runs two miles long. Depending on where you start, you get to cross a meadow before finding your way between the sandstone fins. Towards the end of the loop, the kids might need a helping hand with the slick rock scrambles.
This gorgeous arch isn’t well-known as some of the others so you might have the trail to yourself. Bring water for your hike and take plenty of photos.
7. Landscape Arch Trail
Everyone is going to have a great time on this two-mile trail that is easy to navigate and treats you to a stunning view of the gorgeous Landscape Arch. Stare in wonder at this arch that soars into the air and marvel at how the thin lines of the arch appear so delicate.
Park at the Devils Garden trailhead and follow the gravel-surfaced trail to the ribbon-like arches that run for a considerable length. On the way back, take one of the side trails to see the Tunnel and Pine Tree Arches. This trail is easy enough to navigate that you could take a family member in a wheelchair although they’d need a little help on the slopes.
8. Double Arch and Windows Loop Trail
Okay, so this one is actually two trails, but both of them are short and located close to each other. Start with the Double Arch trail that runs half a mile over a gravel surface. When you arrive at the arch, check out the two arches. Each of the arches shares one starting point and different ending points.
In less than 20 minutes, you can start walking the Windows Loop trail. Along the way to the Window Arches, deviate from the trail to check out the Turret Arch. The Window Arches are another set of lovely twin arches.
Ready to go? Check out these amazing Moab vacation rentals on Tripping.com.