A day of family friendly hiking in Arches National Parks is one of the most popular ways to enjoy what mother nature has to offer. Many of the hikes are rated moderate making a day hike in Arches National Park the perfect activity for the entire family.
The stunning landscapes of Southern Utah are on full display pairing picturesque sandstone formations with a back drop of majestic mountains or bone dry desert. On a clear night, the dark sky is second to none with awe inspiring views of the milky way framed by world famous landmark views.
Table of contents
- Family friendly tips before you go
- Map of Arches National Park
- Park Avenue
- Balanced Rock
- The Windows and Turret Arch
- Double Arch
- Delicate Arch
- Delicate Arch Viewpoint
- Sand Dune Arch
- Broken Arch Loop
- Devils Garden and Landscape Arch
Family friendly tips before you go
Leave no trace!
The arches along with all national parks and forest land are treasures. Please do your part to help protect the natural environment for future generations to enjoy. Please carry out what you carry in, only walk on trails, and do not climb the arches.
Southern Utah can be hot and desolate, with shade coming at a premium. Be sure to pack water and sun screen. A common way to experience dehydration is to mistake the lack of sweat for not needing water. Your sweat will evaporate, which can be misleading. Be sure to drink up!
Bring a day pack with water and snacks
Great snacks to consider are fig bars, beef jerky, and trail mix. Just be sure to avoid chocolate or anything else that might melt. We often will pack a picnic and leave a cooler in the car, but don’t let your kids turn into a Snickers commercial.
I also recommend a water reservoir, like the Osprey 3L. The reservoirs will fit in almost any day pack as well as those hiking carriers for the toddlers.
If you are bringing a toddler, consider a pack with a sun shade like the Osprey Poco.
The best time to visit the park for a many reasons is either the early morning or late afternoon. Also consider visiting in the off season. The park will be less congested, enhancing the experience for everyone. These shoulder periods also offer more relief from the sun.
Map of Arches National Park
The National Park Service also has a great downloadable printable map of Arches National Park.
Below is a list of the best hikes in order of closest to furthest from the entrance.
2 Miles (3 KM)
The Park Avenue hike is the first encounter once inside Arches National Park. The family friendly hike descends between the shadows of the impressive canyon. It is relatively flat, but unless you have someone to pick up on the other side, double the distance.
0.3 Mile (0.5 KM)
It’s easy to blow by balanced rock on the way to one of the more formidable hikes. The accessible trail here and the stunning backdrop however, make for a great pit stop on the way in or out of the park.
The Windows and Turret Arch
1 Mile (1.6 KM)
The windows hike is a fun and easy network of trails that allow options for the kids to explore. All trails are interconnected and none are far from the parking lot. There’s a neat small rock formation just in front of Turret arch that makes for fun climbing.
0.5 Mile (0.8 KM)
Double arch is located on the opposite side of the parking lot near the windows hike. It is one of the most unique rock formations in the park. With the short distance and proximity to the windows hike, the combination of windows and double arch is a must do itinerary for families.
3 Mile (5 KM)
Perhaps the most famous arch in Arches National Park is delicate arch. The arch itself stands tall above a sloping formation known as the twisted donut with a stunning backdrop of mountains. Do not underestimate the hike, especially in the summer.
It is best to do this hike first thing in the morning to avoid crowds and heat. Sunset is another great time to hike, but it is also the best time to photograph the arch so expect large crowds at that time. Visitors should also be prepared for large crowds in the parking lot, often requiring to park on the adjacent street.
0.75 Mile (1 KM)
A quick and educational family friendly hike in Arches National Park that often flies under the radar is the quick jaunt to the historic Wolfe Ranch Cabin and the petroglyph trail. This trail is located at the same trailhead as delicate arch, but is considerably shorter. It’s hard to imagine a family lived here.
Delicate Arch Viewpoint
0.75 Mile (1 KM)
For those with a zoom lens and without the appetite to lose a significant amount of water weight schlepping along the trail, there is a delicate arch viewpoint a little further down the road. Note that delicate arch is not accessible from the viewpoint.
Sand Dune Arch
0.3 Mile (0.5 KM)
Further down Arches National Park scenic byway is Sand Dune Arch. This is a great stop for families with young children as the area is well shaded and the deep, soft sand may capture the kids attention more so than the stunning scenery.
Broken Arch Loop
2 Miles (3.2 KM)
Broken arch loop is a great option for those camping at Devils Garden Campground as the trailhead is near the entrance of the campground. Another bonus is it may be the only family friendly loop hike in Arches National Park.
Devils Garden and Landscape Arch
3 Miles (5 KM)
The trail from Devils Garden to Landscape Arch is sort of a choose your own adventure. The trail begins at the largest parking area in the park that is usually quite full. It begins in a well shaded canyon and continues on with mild elevation changes to landscape arch, or wherever your heart desires.
Hikers can choose to walk straight to landscape arch, or take a right to see either or both Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch. For more adventurous and fit families, continue on the primitive trails to Double O Arch and Tower Arch.