Contact Arches National Park, P.O. Box 907, Moab, UT 84532 (tel. 435/719-2299; www.nps.gov/arch).
Books, maps, and videos on Arches as well as Canyonlands National Park and other southern Utah attractions can be purchased from the nonprofit Canyonlands Natural History Association, 3015 S. U.S. 191, Moab, UT 84532 (tel. 800/840-8978 or 435/259-6003; www.cnha.org). Some publications are available in foreign languages.
For more detailed descriptions of the park's hiking trails and backcountry roads, purchase Hiking Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, by Bill Schneider, at the visitor center or through the Canyonlands Natural History Association.
For area information, contact the Moab Area Travel Council, P.O. Box 550, Moab, UT 84532 (tel. 800/635-6622 or 435/259-8825; www.discovermoab.com). When you arrive, stop by the Moab Information Center, at the corner of Main and Center streets, open Monday through Saturday 8am to 8pm and Sunday from 9am to 7pm from mid-March through October, with shorter hours the rest of the year.
This multiagency visitor center has information from the Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Grand County Travel Council, and Canyonlands Natural History Association. You can get advice, watch a number of videos on Southwest attractions, pick up brochures on local businesses and outfitters, and purchase books, videos, and other materials. A board displays current weather conditions and campsite availability.
The attractive Arches National Park Visitor Center is just inside the entrance gate. It offers maps, brochures, and other information, and a museum explains arch formation and other features of the park. Be sure to take time to watch the orientation film, Secrets of Red Rock, shown in the auditorium. From April through October the visitor center is open daily from 7:30am to 6:30pm; the rest of the year it's open daily 8am to 4:30pm. On Christmas Day, the park is open but the visitor center is closed.
Fees & Permits
Entry for up to 7 days costs $10 per private vehicle or $5 per person on foot, motorcycle, or bike. A $25 annual pass is also available; it's good for Arches and Canyonlands national parks as well as nearby Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments. Campsites cost $20 per night, and guided ranger walks into Fiery Furnace cost $10 for adults and $5 for children 5 to 12. Required permits for overnight trips into the backcountry, available at the visitor center, are free.
Special Regulations & Warnings
Ground fires are not permitted; the campground provides grills, but you must bring your own firewood. Be aware that although the desert terrain appears hardy, it is easily damaged. Rangers ask that hikers stay on trails and be careful around the bases of arches and other rock formations.
Seasons & Climate
Summer days are hot, often exceeding 100°F (38°C), and winters can be cool or cold, dropping below freezing at night, with snow possible. The best time to visit, especially for hikers, is in the spring or fall, when daytime temperatures are usually between 60° and 80°F (16°-27°C) and nights are cool. Spring winds, although not usually dangerous, can be gusty, so hold on to your hat.
Avoiding the Crowds
This is a popular park, attracting about one million visitors annually. Expect to find crowded parking areas and a full campground daily from March through October, with the peak month being August. The quietest months are December, January, and February, but it can be cold then. Those wanting to avoid crowds might gamble on Mother Nature and visit in November or late February, when days can be delightfully sunny and just a bit cool, or bitterly cold, windy, and awful. As with most popular parks, avoid visiting during school vacations, if possible.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.