We visited Arches National Park with kids in April as part of our Utah family road trip. 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 kid-friendly hikes will take your family 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 at Arches for everyone.
Before you visit Arches with your kids, get the latest on COVID regulations, closures and advisories with the latest Arches National Park updates from the National Park Service.
Arches National Park with Kids
- Can You Visit Arches National Park in One Day?
- Things to do in Arches National Park with Kids
- The 2 Best Day Hikes in Arches National Park with Kids
- 1. Delicate Arch Trail
- 2. Devil’s Garden Loop Trail
- 5 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
- Canyonlands National Park with Kids
- Arches National Park 4×4 Adventure
- Arches Junior Ranger Program
- Getting into Arches National Park
- Places to Stay Near Arches National Park with Kids
- What to Bring for Hiking in Arches National Park with Kids
- Which is Better: Canyonlands or Arches with Kids?
- Visiting Other Utah National Parks
- More National Parks with Kids
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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 with kids and two days in Canyonlands with kids.
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 to begin with one longer hike each day, then leaving the afternoon to visit the other must-see arches in the national park.
Had we not done those two more challenging hikes in Arches National Park, which we consider to be two of the best hikes in Arches National Park, then one day in Arches likely would have been enough time for a family visit.
Things to do in Arches National Park with Kids
As you would expect, the best thing to do in Arches National Park with kids is hiking as a family, 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 of things to do in Arches National Park for kids.
The 2 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 the Delicate Arch hike, we recommend arriving early so you won’t be disappointed with a full parking lot. The Delicate Arch trail is easily one of the best hikes in Arches, so expect it to be busy.
The hike to the Delicate Arch viewpoint is a moderately easy 3 mile (4.8 km) round trip. Everyone is on the hiking 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 Arches National Park scenery.
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 Delicate Arch trail, keeping kids on the inside of the hiking trail (away from the ledge) 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).
The first section of the Devil’s Garden trail takes you to Landscape Arch and is one of the best short hikes in Arches National Park. Landscape Arch is notable as one of the longest stone spans in the world. Almost anyone of any age and ability will be able to enjoy the kid-friendly hike along the flat & easy Landscape Arch trail.
At a minimum, it’s worth the drive to this most northern section of Arches National Park to see the Landscape 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.
While we hiked the Devil’s Garden trail with kids, we elected not to do the most northern part of the loop due to the danger. The sections of the Devil’s Garden trail 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 with our kids. It was an easy hike and wasn’t overly challenging, but it was 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.
5 Easy Hikes in Arches National Park
In addition to the longer hikes discussed above, there are many excellent easy hikes in Arches National Park to a wide variety of natural arches. If you are visiting Arches National Park with a toddler, many of these are short & easy walks that are perfect for hiking with a toddler.
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 an Arches National Park must-do hike.
The Park Avenue trail is one of Arches National Parks easy hikes. It runs through a gap between two absolutely massive stone walls (check out the shadow in Google Maps satellite view). Some of the stone walls are straight up, providing a really amazing effect. You’ll feel so small on this easy Arches hike 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 easy Arches National Park 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 the Park Avenue trail as 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 – rather than climb the steps, just turn around and go back.
If you hike Park Avenue trail one way (someone will have to drive your car to the other trailhead), the easiest direction to walk is to start at the south end and walk downhill all the way.
Facilities: 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 and kid-friendly 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 and kid-friendly Arches hiking trail.
The first and most popular Delicate Arch 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 its distance and climb, this Delicate Arch viewpoint gets you closer to the Delicate Arch than the lower viewpoint.
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 easy alternative hike to a Delicate Arch viewpoint. In fact, we felt the views from the lower Delicate Arch viewpoint are every bit as good as the views from the upper viewpoint.
We saw both the upper and lower Delicate Arch viewpoints in around 30 minutes. This is a typical pace with our two kids (aged 3 & 5). Without kids, we could have walked this easy Arches hiking trail in approximately 15 minutes.
Facilities: There are washrooms at the Delicate Arch Lookout trailhead, but no water stations.
3. Double Arch Trail
The Double Arch Trail is an easy kid-friendly hike in Arches National Park on a flat gravel trail through a scrub forest to a rare & dramatic double arch. It’s a great hike in Arches for toddlers.
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 with kids.
The short Arches hike 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 with kids.
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.
Facilities: There are washrooms in the Double Arch parking lot (on the Windows Loop side), but no water stations.
4. Windows Loop Trail
The Windows Loop Trail is another one of the best 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 arches on this easy hiking trail. 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 kid-friendly Arches National Park hike is quite fun. The hiking 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 kid-friendly Arches hiking 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 the impressive Turret Arch, but after a long day of hiking with kids in the Utah sun, we were done.
Facilities: There are washrooms in the Windows Loop parking lot, but no water stations.
5. Sand Dunes Arch Trail
If you’re looking for a super-fun thing to do in Arches National Park with kids, 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 real 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 had pails and shovels for their kids. Playing at the beach under the Sand Dunes Arch 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. The Sand Dune Arch is 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 Sand Dune Arch trail is a very short Arches hiking trail, clocking in at just 0.3 miles (0.5 km) each way, with very little elevation gain.
Facilities: There are washrooms in the Sand Dunes Arch trailhead parking lot, but no water stations.
Canyonlands National Park with Kids
Canyonlands National Park is very close to Arches National Park and 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 with kids? Explore the isolated corners of Arches National Park by 4×4.
This kid-friendly Arches tour on a 4×4 is 5 hours long and leaves from Moab. This Arches 4×4 Adventure tour visits famous rock formations, follows a former cowboy trail and even has dinosaur footprints!
Arches Junior Ranger Program
One of the very best things to do in Arches with kids is to participate in the Arches National Park Junior Ranger program. 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 national 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 followed this advice and arrived at Arches around 7:15am 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 with Kids
Moab, Utah is a great base for exploring Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.
Arches National Park Camping with Kids
The week we stayed in Moab was right after Easter and hotel prices were sky-high, so we felt lucky to be camping in Moab. 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 this Moab 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.
Vacation Home Rentals near Arches National Park
When we travel, we typically look at our Airbnb and VRBO options first. As a family, we enjoy having our own bedrooms, along with a full kitchen and laundry facilities. There are many great family-friendly Airbnb and VRBO vacation rentals in Moab.
5 Kid-Friendly Hotels near Arches National Park
And finally, if you’d prefer to stay in a kid-friendly hotel near Arches National Park hotel, we recommend these five hotels near Moab.
- Red Cliffs Lodge: The Red Cliffs Lodge is an excellent family hotel near Arches National Park. Located in a remote location along the banks of the mighty Colorado River, the Red Cliffs Lodge boats a horse corral, a western film museum, a pool and tennis courts. Everyone in the family can get a good night’s sleep in a 1 or 2 bedroom suite.
- SpringHill Suites by Marriott Moab: Only 6 minutes from the park gates, the SpringHill Suites is one of the closest family-friendly hotels near Arches National Park. Kids will love playing in the hotel’s awesome kid’s canyon, complete with a splash park, or in the two swimming pools, three hot tubs or the basketball court. Family-friendly rooms with a king bed for the parents and bunk beds for the kids are available.
- Moab Springs Ranch: Another of the very close family-friendly hotels near Arches National Park, the park gates are less than 10 minutes away. Families will enjoy staying in a cabin-style bungalow with two queen beds.
- Hyatt Place Moab: This family-friendly Moab hotel offers a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and a playground for the kids. After a day of fun at Arches National Park, families will appreciate staying in a 2-bedroom suite, giving everyone in the family a chance for a great night’s sleep.
- Under Canvas Moab: If you are looking to go glamping near Arches National Park, we recommend you check out Under Canvas Moab. Named one of the ‘Top 15 Resort Hotels in the West’ by Travel + Leisure, families have the opportunity to get a tent for the parents with an adjoining tent for the kids! A stay at Under Canvas Moab is an experience your kids will never forget..
If you’d like to see additional family-friendly hotels near Arches National Park, we recommend Booking.com. We use Booking for almost all of our family hotel stays as we find their ‘Top Picks for Families’ recommendations very helpful.
What to Bring for Hiking in Arches National Park with Kids
Moab’s national parks offers 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 kid-friendly things to do in Arches National Park, which were mostly hiking.
We’re minimalists when it comes to hiking gear, but here is what we would recommend you bring for visiting Arches National Park with kids each day:
The most important consideration when visiting Arches National Park with kids is to protect them against the sun. For sun protection we recommend kids wear hiking hats and sunscreen, while carrying hydration packs for the adults and kids will help keep everyone hydrated.
The National Parks Service Junior Ranger program encourages kids to pick up 3 pieces of garbage on every hike. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone did that? At a minimum, bring a small garbage bag to carry out your own trash, and even better, carry out someone else’s too.
If you plan on doing a lot of hiking in Arches with your kids, take a moment to check out our Tips for Hiking with Kids and the Best Hiking Gear for Kids. The miles will go faster and you’ll all have more fun with these hiking songs for kids.
Which is Better: Canyonlands or Arches with Kids?
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 family 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 kid-friendly hikes we did and where we stayed while visiting the Utah National Parks:
We also highly recommend a stop at Goblin Valley State Park with kids!
More National Parks with Kids
Visiting national parks with our kids is one of our favorite things to do on family vacations. If your family vacation plans extend beyond Utah, check out these amazing kid-friendly national parks in the US and Canada:
- Shenandoah with Kids
- The Blue Ridge Parkway with Kids (actually a National Parkway, not a national park)
- Great Smoky Mountains with Kids
- Joshua Tree with Kids
- Banff with Kids (Canada’s most beautiful national park)
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