We visited Arches National Park in April as part of our Utah road trip with kids. Our family loves being active and enjoying the beauty of nature, so visiting Arches National Park with kids was something we knew we had to do.
There is nowhere on earth like Arches National Park. Filled with world famous monuments like the Delicate Arch, the Arches National Park hikes take you through some amazing scenery. The great part is that there are easy hikes in Arches National Park along with some more challenging hikes, so there’s really something for everyone.
Arches National Park with Kids
- Can You Visit Arches National Park in One Day
- Things to do in Arches National Park with Kids
- Best Day Hikes in Arches National Park with Kids
- 1. Delicate Arch Trail
- 2. Devil’s Garden Loop Trail
- Easy Hikes in Arches National Park
- 1. Park Avenue Trail
- 2. Delicate Arch Lookout Trail
- 3. Double Arch Trail
- 4. Windows Loop Trail
- 5. Sand Dunes Arch Trail
- Other Hiking Trails Near Arches National Park
- Arches National Park 4×4 Adventure
- Arches Junior Ranger Program
- Getting into Arches National Park
- Places to Stay Near Arches National Park
- What to Bring for Hiking in Arches National Park with Kids
- Which is Better: Arches or Canyonlands
- Visiting Other Utah National Parks
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Can You Visit Arches National Park in One Day
Aside from our day driving from Zion National Park to Arches National Park, we spent 4 days in Moab with kids (who were 3 & 5 years old at the time) enjoying the wide variety of natural wonders that Arches and Canyonlands National Parks have to offer.
We split our time equally between Moab’s national parks with two full days in Arches and two days in Canyonlands.
We had planned on doing a couple of more difficult hikes in Arches National Park with kids, so we needed to make sure we had enough time. We planned our Arches National Park itinerary with one longer hike each day, then leaving the afternoon to visit the other must-see arches in the park.
Had we not done those two hikes, which we consider to be two of the best hikes in Arches National Park, then one day in Arches likely would have been enough.
Things to do in Arches National Park with Kids
As you would expect, it’s mostly hiking in Arches National Park but that’s not all. With plenty of kid friendly hikes in Arches, some fun short walks, exploring the various Arches and playing in sand, there’s plenty to do in Arches National Park for kids.
Best Day Hikes in Arches National Park with Kids
1. Delicate Arch Trail
The Delicate Arch in Arches National Park is the most Instagram-able, superstar attraction of the park. Given the popularity of this hike, we recommend arriving early so you won’t be disappointed with a full parking lot. This is easily one of the best hikes in Arches, so expect it to be busy.
The hike to Delicate Arch is a moderately easy 3 mile (4.8 km) round trip. Everyone is on the trail to see the Delicate Arch, but as a huge bonus, the Delicate Arch trail itself is a lot of fun with great views of the surrounding national park.
The middle section of the Delicate Arch hike is a large, sloped section of slickrock which kids of all ages will find fun.
Whether you are hiking to Delicate Arch with kids or not, be aware there is a potentially dangerous drop-off during the final 200 yards of this trail. We recommend taking extra caution during this section of the trail, keeping kids on the inside of the trail and holding hands.
Facilities: There are bathrooms within the parking lot at the Delicate Arch trailhead, but no water station.
2. Devil’s Garden Loop Trail
The Devil’s Garden Loop Trail is actually three separate Arches hiking trails stitched together with a total roundtrip distance of 7.2 miles (11.6 km).
Part of this hike is one of the best short hikes in Arches National Park that takes you to Landscape Arch. Anyone of any age and ability will be able to hike the flat & easy trail to see the Landscape Arch, one of the longest stone spans in the world.
At a minimum, it’s worth the drive to this most northern section of Arches NP to see this arch – it’s massive!
The Double O Trail and the Primitive Trail combine to make the trail through Devil’s Garden a loop. The most northern part of the loop is a difficult trail and potentially dangerous for small kids. So while we hiked the Devil’s Garden trail with kids, we elected not to do the most northern part of the loop. The sections we did hike, we’d consider to be some of the best hiking in Arches National Park.
In total, we were able to hike 5.4 miles (8.7 km) on the Devil’s Garden trail. It wasn’t overly challenging, if anything it just became a bit long for the kids. We still had an enormously good time enjoying the incredible scenery on these Arches National Park hiking trails.
Facilities: There are washrooms and a water station at the Devil’s Garden trailhead.
Easy Hikes in Arches National Park
Arches National Park also has plenty of easy hikes to all the various arches. If visiting Arches National Park with a toddler, many of these are easy walks that will be completely doable.
Here are best easy hikes in Arches National Park:
1. Park Avenue Trail
It’s easy to drive right past this hike near the Arches National Park entrance, but that is a mistake; Park Avenue trail is a must-do hike in Arches.
The Park Avenue trail is one of Arches National Parks easy hikes. It runs through the gap between two absolutely massive stone walls (check out the shadow in Google Maps satellite view). Some of them are straight up, providing a really amazing effect. You feel so small walking beneath these giants.
Park Avenue Trail is one of the most impressive short hikes in Arches National Park. We had passed the Park Avenue trailhead several times in the car and each time we said “WOW!” – we knew we had to make time for this hike.
While this is the longest and hardest of the easy hikes in Arches National Park we’ve listed here, it’s still quite manageable for anyone in reasonable shape. The Park Avenue hike is not a loop and is 0.9 miles (1.5km) each way.
If you start at the south end of the Park Avenue trail, it begins with a long set of stairs down into the valley and once the stairs end, the trail gradually declines the whole way to the north trailhead.
If you are doing a there-and-back walk and want it to be easy, start from the north end and walk south to the bottom of the steps, then turn around and go back. If you are doing it one way (someone will have to drive the car to the other trailhead), the easiest direction to walk is to start at the south and walk downhill all the way.
Facilites: There are washrooms in the Park Avenue trailhead parking lots, but no water stations.
2. Delicate Arch Lookout Trail
Delicate Arch is an Arches National Park must see; it’s the star attraction of the park. The main hiking trail to see Delicate Arch up close is a 3 mile round-trip with a steady incline all the way up (480 feet total elevation gain). If this isn’t possible, don’t worry as you can still enjoy good views of it from the Delicate Arch Lookout Trail.
The Delicate Arch Lookout Trail is a much shorter alternative, clocking in at 0.75 miles (1.2 km) and only 140 feet of elevation gain. There are actually two Delicate Arch viewpoints available on this short hiking trail.
The first and most popular Delicate Arch upper viewpoint trail is the longer walk of the two. It’s a short, uphill trail consisting mostly of steps made of stone. There are plenty of nice views of the valley below (which was nice and green in April) and lots of wildflowers, including a beautiful blooming cactus with red flowers. Due to it’s distance and climb, this Delicate Arch viewpoint gets you closer to the Delicate Arch than the other.
The second Delicate Arch viewpoint trail is a very short and flat walk from the parking lot. We always prefer the option that gives us more exercise, but if you are unable to do option #1, this is a very good alternative. In our opinion, the views of Delicate Arch from the lower viewpoint are every bit as good as the upper viewpoint.
We saw both viewpoints in around 30 minutes. This is a typical pace with our two kids (aged 3 & 5). Without kids, we could have walked this trail in approximately 15 minutes.
Facilites: There are washrooms at the Delicate Arch Lookout trailhead, but no water stations.
3. Double Arch Trail
The Double Arch Trail is an easy walk in Arches National Park on a flat gravel trail through a scrub forest to a rare & dramatic double arch. It’s one for the list of Arches National Park hikes for families.
When you arrive at the double arches, there is an opportunity to scramble up some slickrock, which kids will love. This gets you directly underneath the pair of arches, providing an excellent vantage point to enjoy this unique feature as well as the Windows Arches across the way.
At midday, you can find some rare shade by hiding under the shadow of the arches; a real treat, making this is a great place to stop for lunch or a snack while visiting Arches National Park.
The walk itself is nothing to write home about, but the Double Arch is so impressive that it’s one of the best things to do in Arches National Park.
The roundtrip distance of the Double Arch hike is 0.7 miles (1.1 km). There is negligible elevation gain unless you elect to hike up the slickrock underneath the double arch.
If you want to climb the slickrock under the double arches, you’ll need good shoes.
Facilites: There are washrooms in the parking lot (on the Windows Loop side), but no water stations.
4. Windows Loop Trail
The Windows Loop Trail is another one of the Arches easy hikes. It’s a 0.8 mile (1.3 km) loop that shares the same parking lot as the Double Arch Trail. The main attraction of the Windows Loop Trail hike are the side-by-side arches (as opposed to the front-to-back Double Arches), with a bonus third arch (the Turret Arch).
If you like climbing underneath arches, you will have the chance to do so with all three here. You can see the Double Arch from spots on this trail, but you really need to get up close to them to properly enjoy them.
This Arches National Park kid friendly hike is quite fun. The trail begins with a moderate uphill walk along gentle stairs to the North Window Arch. Here you can climb up and under the arch, which also provides a good amount of midday shade. The views of Arches National Park looking through the North Arch are pretty incredible.
The loop trail continues onwards to the South Window Arch. You can also climb up under this one, but it’s much steeper and not many people do (we didn’t). As we looped back towards the parking lot, we passed one last large arch – the Turret Arch.
There is a spur trail which allows you to get close to and climb under this impressive arch, but after a long day of hiking with kids in the Utah sun, we were done.
Facilites: There are washrooms in the Windows Loop parking lot, but no water stations.
5. Sand Dunes Arch Trail
If you’re looking for a genuinely kid-friendly activity in Arches National Park, look no further than the Sand Dunes Arch Trail. If visiting Arches with kids, this super short & easy hiking trail is a must-do. This short hike in Arches NP leads to a small arch with a sand dune underneath it. It’s basically a beach without an ocean!
Kids will love the ability to sit down in the sand and play. Several families we encountered were prepared for this and actually had pails and shovels for their kids. This is one of the best things to do in Arches for kids.
The sand dune is reason enough to visit, but it’s also nice and shady providing welcome relief from the hot Utah sun. Also an excellent thing to do in Arches with toddlers.
We visited Sand Dunes Arch based on a recommendation we received from another family we met while hiking to Landscape Arch.
We laughed as we got back to the Sand Dunes Arch parking lot and saw all the small sand piles from kids getting their shoes emptied before getting back in the car!
The easy walk along the Sand Dune Arch trail is a very short 0.3 miles (0.5 km) each way, with very little elevation gain.
Facilites: There are washrooms in the Sand Dunes Arch trailhead parking lot, but no water stations.
Other Hiking Trails Near Arches National Park
Canyonlands National Park is easily visited from Moab, UT. It has incredible views and there are kid friendly hikes in Canyonlands National Park that families will love.
We recommend saving at least a day for visiting Canyonlands National Park with kids.
Arches National Park 4×4 Adventure
Looking for other things to do in Arches National Park? Explore the isolated corners of Arches National Park by 4×4.
This kid-friendly 4×4 tour from Moab is 5 hours. This Arches 4×4 Adventure tour visits famous rock formations, follows a former cowboy trail and even has dinosaur footprints!
Arches Junior Ranger Program
Don’t miss the Arches National Park Junior Ranger program for the kids. While you are picking up your Arches National Park trail map, kids can pick up a Junior Ranger handbook from the Arches National Park Visitor Center and complete a certain number of activities within the book (the number increases with the age of the child).
The required Junior Ranger activities are age appropriate and will teach kids and parents alike some great things about Arches National Park. It also helps teach how to behave such that generations to come will be able to enjoy the park.
Getting into Arches National Park
The entrance to Arches National Park can get extremely congested, so to make the most of your visit get there as early as you can. Our Lonely Planet recommended to get to the park by 7am.
We thought this sounded excessive and asked our campground staff what they thought, and they agreed with the advice saying that lineups to get into Arches National Park can exceed an hour if you get there at 8:30.
We hate waiting in car lineups, so we heeded this advice and arrived at the park around 7:15 each day. The gates are unmanned at this time, so we were able to drive straight through with no delay.
We had an annual National Park Pass so we kept driving, but all others need to stop at the Arches National Park Visitor Center to pay the entrance fee. The Arches National Park entrance fee is $30 for a private vehicle, good for 7 days.
Places to Stay Near Arches National Park
Moab, Utah is a great base for exploring Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. post.
When we decided to do a road trip to Utah with kids from our home in Alberta, Canada we knew we wanted to make camping part of our experience. The week we stayed in Moab was right after Easter and hotel prices were sky-high, so it made sense to make Moab one of our camping destinations. It was the perfect base for visiting Moab’s national parks with kids.
We stayed at the Moab Rim RV Campark, which is located just outside of Moab but only a few minutes’ drive from town center. The campsites were small-ish, but there was still enough room for our enormous family-sized tent.
The one thing that set this campground apart from the rest is the service – I was only half-joking when I said, “The last time I had service this good was at the Four Seasons!”. The staff at the campground went far beyond the call of duty when it came to making sure we had everything we needed.
If you are planning on camping near Arches National Park, we highly recommend Moab Rim RV Campark.
When we travel, we typically look at our Airbnb options first. As a family, we enjoy having our own bedrooms, along with a full kitchen and laundry facilities. There are many great Airbnb vacation rentals in Moab. If you are new to Airbnb, get a nice discount on your first rental by using our signup link.
And finally, if you’d prefer to stay in a hotel for your Moab lodging, these five hotels are the highest-rated family-friendly Moab hotels on Hotels.com:
- Red Cliffs Lodge: book now on Hotels.com or compare prices on TripAdvisor
- Homewood Suites by Hilton Moab: Hotels.com — Tripadvisor
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Moab: Hotels.com — Tripadvisor
- Comfort Suites Moab: Hotels.com — Tripadvisor
- SpringHill Suites by Marriott Moab: Hotels.com — Tripadvisor
See more family-friendly hotels in Moab.
What to Bring for Hiking in Arches National Park with Kids
Moab’s National Parks offer some of the world’s best adventure activities. We found most of them to be beyond the capability of our young kids, so we focused our time on the family-friendly activities, which was mostly hiking with kids.
- Sun hats
- Hydration Packs for the adults and kids
- Garbage bag to carry out your trash
- Hiking backpack carrier for smaller kids
- Plenty of snacks to keep everyone energized
Which is Better: Arches or Canyonlands
Arches and Canyonlands National Parks couldn’t be more different despite their close proximity. Where Arches offers impressive arches with easy walking distances, Canyonlands hiking trails gives hikers incredible panoramic views.
You’ll still find an arch or two in Canyonlands and there are some incredible views to be had in Arches too. In all honesty, the parks are different enough that’s it’s worth allotting time for each.
We recommend at least two days for Canyonlands National Park as well, to visit both the Island in the Sky and the Needles areas of the park.
Visiting Other Utah National Parks
No trip to Utah would be complete without a visit to all of the Mighty 5 National Parks! We’ve got you covered with detailed posts on all the hikes we did and where we stayed here while visiting the Utah National Parks:
- Ultimate Guide to Bryce Canyon National Park with Kids
- Capitol Reef National Park with Kids
- Zion National Park with Kids.
We also highly recommend a stop at Goblin Valley State Park with kids!
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