Arches National Park is known throughout the world and consequently, can be extremely busy. While it’s true that by visiting during the off-season can help reduce the crowds, you’ll continue to find people on the popular trails and outlook points. For crowd-averse people like Steve and I, we gravitate towards seeking out trails less traveled. So then what’s the secret to ditching the crowds at Arches National Park? Here are several tips about how to ditch the crowds at Arches National Park after multiple visits to the park.
During the high season, the line starts forming to the entrance of the park around 9am. My tip would be to pick a hike or arch that is the top of your bucket list and see it at sunrise. There’s nothing more depressing than getting to a spot that you’ve been dreaming about and it being swamped with crowds.
My suggestion would be to hit up Delicate Arch first thing in the morning as this is one of the most popular trails. Other popular trails that would be good in the morning would be Double Arch, North + South Window, or Turret Arch.
In the afternoon you have two options:
head back to your accommodation to rest or visit not-so popular spots during the busy time of the day. If you’ve got limited time then obviously you’ll want to stay in order to maximize your time. Check out the Devils Garden area. It’s toward the back of the park and there are numerous trails to explore which will cut down on some of the crowds.
Early evening hiking-
If you decided to rest during the day to either escape the crowds or heat (or both) then I would recommend to drive back into the park early evening as most will be exiting the grounds rather than arriving. Evening time would also be a great time to visit some of the popular trails as most tours will already be gone by that time of the day. Pro tip- bring a flashlight or headlight so you can stay out even longer and sometimes even find yourselves alone! Follow these tips when you know you’ll be hiking at night.
Additional ways to ditch the crowds in Arches National Park-
Visit secret arches-
Most people visiting Arches National Park are on the hunt to spot incredible red rock arches, but sadly, miss out on this arch because it is not found in the park! Located just west of Moab, the Corona Arch stands for all visitors to marvel at that are willing to make the short hike. Bonus- you’ll also be able to see the Bowtie Arch along the way! If you want a full description of how to find these two lesser known arches, read this!
Find a new outlook point-
I decided to do just that on my first trip to Delicate Arch on one afternoon. When I arrived I found a lot of photographers had already beaten me there and had taken their spots along the typical vantage points that you see in all the photos.
I decided to track down a more unique and less known spot along the trail. Worth it! I had the spot all to myself and got to enjoy the rising sun light up the arch. A truly magical experience that was well worth the 5am wake-up call. To find this trail, look to the right along your final ascent up to Delicate Arch. You’ll see an opening of rock before you turn the corner, if you already can see delicate arch, you’ve gone too far. You’ll have to scramble up the rocks a little ways but it’s pretty safe as long as you’ve got good shoes on.
I’m convinced there are plenty of spots left in Arches National Park that are still left undiscovered and all it requires would be a fresh, new vantage point! Of course, be safe and keep the rules while looking for new spots.
Hope you enjoy your time at Arches and I wish you luck in your endeavor to ditch the crowds! If you’re planning on seeing Zion National Park, learn how to ditch the crowds there too!
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