Arches Overview

Arches National Park, situated in eastern Utah, USA, is a mesmerizing landscape of contrasting colors, landforms, and textures unlike any other in the world. The park covers an area of approximately 76 square miles (197 square kilometers) and is renowned for preserving over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, as well as a variety of unique geological resources and formations such as spires, balanced rocks, and fins.

Located just north of Moab, Arches National Park sits atop an underground salt bed, which is the main cause of the formation of the arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins, and eroded monoliths in the area. This salt bed, thousands of feet thick in places, was deposited across the Colorado Plateau some 300 million years ago when a sea flowed into the region and eventually evaporated. Over millions of years, the remnants of floods and winds have removed the younger rock layers, exposing the Utah sandstone that makes up the park’s breathtaking arches.

The park’s high desert environment features elevations ranging from 4,085 to 5,653 feet (1,245 to 1,723 meters) above sea level, creating a unique ecosystem that supports a diverse range of plant and animal life adapted to its extreme conditions. Visitors may observe a variety of desert wildlife, including birds, reptiles, and mammals, as they explore the park’s rugged terrain.

Arches National Park offers numerous trails for hikers of all skill levels, from short, easy walks to more challenging hikes that lead to spectacular viewpoints and iconic landmarks. The scenic drive through the park provides easy access to many major attractions, including Balanced Rock and the Windows Section, making it possible for everyone to experience the park’s extraordinary beauty.

With its iconic geological features and stunning natural beauty, Arches National Park is a testament to the natural forces of erosion and time, offering visitors a glimpse into a landscape that is both ancient and ever-changing.

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Park Map
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Arches National Park Highlights

Delicate Arch

Standing as an emblem of Arches National Park, Delicate Arch is a symbol of Utah’s rugged beauty. This freestanding natural arch spans 52 feet (16 meters) and is a sight to behold against the vast desert landscape.

Visitors can embark on the Delicate Arch Trail, a 3-mile round trip hike that leads to stunning views of this iconic formation.

Landscape Arch

Stretching an impressive 306 feet (93 meters) across, Landscape Arch is one of the longest natural arches in the world.

Visitors can marvel at its delicate, slender structure while hiking along the Devil’s Garden Trail, which offers stunning viewpoints of this captivating formation.

Double Arch

Double Arch is a unique spectacle featuring two massive arches joined at the base, creating an awe-inspiring natural wonder. Visitors can take a short stroll along the easy Double Arch Trail to admire this breathtaking formation up close.

Windows Arch

Windows Arch encompasses North Window, South Window, and Turret Arch, forming a captivating trio of natural arches.

Visitors can explore the Windows Section of the park to witness these magnificent formations and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock is a striking geological feature where a massive boulder precariously balances atop a slender pedestal.

Standing at 128 feet (39 meters) tall, this iconic formation is visible from various viewpoints within the park and serves as a testament to the forces of erosion and time.

Arches Abound

Arches National Park boasts over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, the highest concentration in the world. These magnificent geological formations have been sculpted by millions of years of erosion and weathering, resulting in an otherworldly landscape of graceful curves and towering rock formations.

Among the park’s most popular arches are Delicate Arch, known for its iconic silhouette against the Utah skyline; Landscape Arch, spanning an impressive 306 feet and considered one of the longest natural arches in the world; Double Arch, featuring two massive arches joined at the base; Windows Arch, a captivating trio of arches including North Window, South Window, and Turret Arch; and Balanced Rock, a striking formation where a massive boulder seems to defy gravity atop a slender pedestal.

These arches are not only geological wonders but also iconic symbols of Arches National Park’s breathtaking beauty.


Arches National Park, renowned for its natural sandstone arches and rugged terrain, also serves as a habitat for a variety of wildlife species adapted to the desert environment. Amidst the stark beauty of the Utah landscape, these animals thrive, each contributing to the ecological diversity of the park and offering visitors a glimpse into the resilience of desert life.

Mule Deer – With their large ears resembling those of a mule, Mule Deer are a common sight, gracefully navigating the rocky terrain in search of vegetation.

Desert Cottontail – These small rabbits, with their distinctive fluffy white tails, are often spotted at dawn and dusk, nibbling on the sparse desert vegetation.

Red-tailed Hawk – Soaring high above the park, the Red-tailed Hawk is easily identified by its reddish tail, keenly scanning the ground for prey.

Peregrine Falcon – The world’s fastest bird, the Peregrine Falcon nests on the park’s cliffs, diving at incredible speeds to catch smaller birds mid-flight.

Rock Wren – Adapted to the rocky environment, Rock Wrens are often heard before seen, their melodious songs echoing among the stone formations.

Common Raven – Intelligent and adaptable, Common Ravens are frequently observed across the park, their black plumage and large size making them unmistakable.

Mountain Lion – Though elusive and rarely seen, Mountain Lions roam the park, apex predators perfectly adapted to the desert’s challenges.

Collared Lizard – Vibrant and active during the day, Collared Lizards, with their distinctive neck bands, can be seen sunning on rocks or sprinting after insects.

Western Rattlesnake – A symbol of the wild desert, the Western Rattlesnake is respected by visitors and wildlife alike for its potent venom and iconic rattle.

Spotted Towhee – With their striking black, white, and orange plumage, Spotted Towhees are often found rummaging through the underbrush, their call a familiar sound.

Arches National Park’s wildlife, from the agile mule deer to the soaring peregrine falcon, showcases the adaptability of life in the desert, reminding visitors of the natural world’s enduring beauty and resilience.

Engaging Arches National Park

Embark on a memorable hike to witness the iconic Delicate Arch, a symbol of Arches National Park. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding red rock formations and culminates in an awe-inspiring sight of the arch against the backdrop of the Utah landscape.

Embark on a scenic drive along Park Avenue, a captivating stretch of road flanked by towering sandstone monoliths resembling skyscrapers. This leisurely drive offers numerous pull-offs and viewpoints, allowing visitors to admire the dramatic geological features of the park.

Capture the beauty of Arches National Park at the Windows Section, renowned for its stunning arch formations including North Window, South Window, and Turret Arch. Golden hour and sunset provide ideal lighting conditions for photography enthusiasts to capture breathtaking images of these natural wonders.

Navigate the labyrinthine passages of Fiery Furnace, a unique area known for its maze-like sandstone fins and narrow canyons. Guided tours or permits for self-guided exploration are available, offering adventurers a chance to discover hidden arches, towering spires, and intriguing rock formations.

Arches National Park Trails

Delicate Arch Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 480 feet (146 meters).

Description: This iconic trail leads to Utah’s most famous natural arch, offering an unforgettable view of the Delicate Arch standing majestically against the backdrop of the La Sal Mountains. The hike is moderately strenuous with no shade, but the path’s awe-inspiring endpoint rewards hikers with one of the most iconic sights in the American Southwest.

Devils Garden Trail

Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 7.8 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet (305 meters) for the full loop, including primitive trails

Description: Devils Garden Trail offers an adventure through a stunning landscape of sandstone fins, vast panoramas, and eight magnificent arches, including Landscape Arch. The primitive loop section adds a sense of solitude and challenge, traversing narrow ledges and sandy washes, making it a rewarding hike for those seeking a bit more adventure.

Double Arch Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 0.5 miles round trip with minimal elevation gain

Description: This short, easy trail leads to the breathtaking Double Arch, an impressive formation featuring two giant arches intertwined. The trail and the arch itself are family-friendly and provide an up-close experience with one of Arches National Park’s most remarkable structures, ideal for photographers and families.

Windows Loop Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 1 mile round trip with an elevation gain of about 150 feet (46 meters)

Description: Offering some of the best quick views in the park, the Windows Loop takes hikers to North and South Window Arches, as well as Turret Arch. This easy loop is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, providing stunning vistas and close encounters with massive arch formations.

Park Avenue Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 320 feet (98 meters), if returning the same way

Description: This trail showcases the park’s classic desert scenery, leading through a dramatic canyon flanked by towering sandstone walls reminiscent of New York City’s skyscrapers. The hike offers a relatively gentle path with magnificent views of the Park Avenue and Courthouse Towers area, making it a perfect introduction to the park’s landscape.



1. How many arches are there in Arches National Park?

Arches National Park, a mesmerizing landscape sculpted by time, wind, and water, is home to over 2,000 natural stone arches.

This incredible concentration of natural arches, forged from the park’s Entrada and Navajo sandstone, creates a unique and awe-inspiring desert landscape that attracts visitors from around the globe.

2. What is the largest arch in Arches national park?


Narrow arch in Arches National Park

The largest arch within the park is Landscape Arch. Stretching an impressive length of about 306 feet (93 meters), Landscape Arch is one of the longest natural stone arches in the world.

Its delicate frame, with certain sections measuring only 6 feet (1.8 meters) in diameter, makes it a remarkable sight and a testament to the natural forces that shaped this landscape.

3. What is the easiest arch to see in the park?


Delicate Arch Arches National Park

For visitors seeking an easily accessible and iconic feature of Arches National Park, Delicate Arch is the most straightforward to visit and undoubtedly one of the park’s most famous symbols.

Standing alone on the edge of a slickrock bowl with a dramatic backdrop of the La Sal Mountains, Delicate Arch is accessible via a 3-mile (4.8 km) round-trip hike that is considered moderate in difficulty.

Its solitary form, standing 46 feet (14 meters) high and 32 feet (9.8 meters) wide, has become synonymous with the state of Utah and offers one of the most recognizable and photographed scenes in the park.

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  • Discover Moab, Arches National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Lonely Planet, Arches National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • National Geographic, Arches National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • National Park Service, Arches National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Visit Utah, Arches National Park,, retrieved April 2024.