Arches National Park with kids: Ultimate Guide (2020)

by Mar 3, 2020Blog, Utah

This post may contain compensated links. Find more info in our disclosure policy.

With its incredible rock formations and awesome kid friendly hikes, Arches National Park is one of the best National Parks to visit with kids. From the longer hikes to Delicate Arch and Devil’s Playground to the easily reached Balanced Rock and Skyline Arch, we loved the variety of the hikes that are still accessible with kids in Arches National Park.

For those of you planning a trip to Arches National Park with kids, we wanted to share the best hikes and our tips for visiting.

Arches National Park with Kids

Exploring the trails at Arches National Park

 

Arches National Park

Located in Moab, Utah, Arches National Park is home to over 2,000 natural stone arches. In fact, it boasts the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. Soaring arches share the park with suspended bridges and windows peeking out of the rock.  New arches are constantly forming and, occasionally, an existing arch will collapse.

The most iconic arch, Delicate Arch, is instantly recognizable from its appearance on Utah licence places.

Arches National Park with Kids

The iconic Delicate Arch

 

Arches National Park with kids: the best hikes

The best thing about visiting Arches National Park with kids is that it is still possible to hike the majority of the trails. Our suggestions for the best hikes in Arches National Park with kids are:

Arches National Park with Kids

Running free on the trails at Arches!

 

1 | Delicate Arch

Hike Length: 3 miles in total out and back with almost 500 foot elevation gain along the way.

Hike Difficulty: the hike is rated as difficult by the National Parks Service. We found the hike itself relatively easy but extreme care must be taken with kids at points where the trail edge is exposed to a sheer drop. The final section, where the narrow path has a drop on one side, is the most challenging part of hiking Delicate Arch with kids and lasts for a few hundred yards.

Younger kids: lots of opportunities to walk parts of the trail, carrier for the exposed parts. Our two year old walked parts of it but got tired and went for a nap in his carrier as we approached the final climb to the Delicate Arch.

The 52 foot tall Delicate Arch is the largest free standing arch in Arches National Park. Instantly recognizable from its appearance on Utah licence places, the Delicate Arch trail is one of the most popular in the park.

Arches National Park with Kids

Delicate Arch

 

After hiking across sandstone paths, slip rock and narrow paths, you will reach Delicate Arch soaring up from the top rim of a sloping amphitheater of rock. Many hike across the rim to stand under the arch itself but we didn’t feel comfortable taking the kids across the top of the rim and we loved the views from the end of trail.

Arches National Park with Kids

We loved the views across the amphitheater

 

Make sure to stop by the petroglyph wall and Wolfe Ranch at the beginning or end of the hike.

Arches National Park with kids tip: If you decide to skip the hike to Delicate Arch it is still possible to see the arch. There are two viewpoints, Lower Delicate Arch viewpoint and Higher Delicate Arch viewpoint, both of which offer a glimpse of Delicate Arch in the distance and require a much shorter walk. Be aware, the arch is far in the distance but it’s worth the drive out if it is your only opportunity to see Delicate Arch for yourself.

Arches National Park with Kids

Delicate Arch from the Lower Viewpoint

 

Read our guide to hiking Delicate Arch with kidsclick here!

Arches National Park with Kids

We made it to Delicate Arch!

 

2 | Park Avenue to Courthouse Towers

Arches National Park with kids tip: the hike we recommend is a one way hike from the Park Avenue Viewpoint to the Courthouse Towers viewpoint. This means you will need to arrange a drop off at the Park Avenue Viewpoint and a pickup at the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint – we split for this trail so one of us could hike one way with the kids and the other could drop off and pickup in the car. If this doesn’t work, then hiking part of the way is also an option.

Hike Length: 0.9 miles one way

Hike Difficulty: the hike is rated as moderate by the National Parks Service but this is based on a return hike where the steep descent into the canyon has to be ascended on the return.

Younger kids: lots of opportunities to walk parts of the trail, may need carrier due to distance

Despite the lack of arches, the Park Avenue trail showcases some of the most weird and wonderful rock formations in the park. Our favorites include the Queen Nefertiti, which resembles the profile of an Egyptian Queen, the Organ, Sheep Rock and the Three Gossips.

Arches National Park with Kids

Park Avenue

 

3 | Balanced Rock

Hike Length: 0.3 miles

Hike Difficulty: easy

Younger kids: easy walk

Another Arches favorite, the Balanced Rock is a towering rock formation made up of a sandstone boulder perched precariously on a larger mudstone rock. The gravity defying balancing act is mesmerizing and the short trail allows the opportunity for an up close view.

Arches National Park with kids tip: Balanced Rock is truly incredible at sunset against the backdrop of purples, reds and pinks on the horizon.

Arches National Park with Kids

Balanced Rock

 

4 | The Windows

Hike Length: 1 mile

Hike Difficulty: easy

Younger kids: the hike includes a gravel trail and a reasonable climb up some stone steps. Our two year old walked the entire trail but was exhausted by the end.

Arches National Park with Kids

Enjoying the Windows trail at the South Window

 

The Windows trail is made up of three arches: the North Window, the South Window and the Turret Arch and, as such, offers great rewards for a one mile hike! The North and South Windows are the highlight and peek like two eyes on either side of a sandstone nose.

Arches National Park with Kids

The North Window

 

The Turret Arch is a smaller arch but kids will love the novelty of being able to walk along the path through the arch.

Arches National Park with Kids

Turret Arch

 

5 | Double Arch

Hike Length: 0.5 miles

Hike Difficulty: easy

Younger kids: an easy hike along a flat gravel trail. Another great option for younger kids to stretch their legs.

Arches National Park with Kids

It’s an easy trail to Double Arch

 

Double Arch is so called because of the two giant arches springing from a single piece of rock. It is an easy half mile hike to check out one of the most unique rock formations in the park.

Arches National Park with Kids

Double Arch

 

6 | Sand Dune Arch

Hike Length: 0.3 miles

Hike Difficulty: easy

Younger kids: an easy hike which will allow younger kids to walk.

With its deep sands and access through a small slot canyon, Sand Dune Arch was our kids favorite Arches trail. It’s a fun trail with beach like sand and, at the end, you can walk under the Sand Dune Arch.

Arches National Park with kids tip: Sand Dune Arch is shaded for most of the day so this is a great one to save for the afternoon when high temperatures make for limited or uncomfortable hikes.

Arches National Park with Kids

Sand Dune Arch

 

7 | Broken Arch

Hike Length: 2 miles

Hike Difficulty: easy

Younger kids: lots of opportunities to walk parts of the trail, may need carrier due to distance

Despite its name, Broken Arch is not actually broken although it is cracked. It’s one of the most picturesque trails and arches in the park.

Broken Arch shares a parking lot with the Sand Dune Arch trail but the trail veers off across a large meadow.

Arches National Park with Kids

Broken Arch

 

8 | Skyline Arch

Hike Length: 0.4 miles

Hike Difficulty: easy

Younger kids: an easy hike which will allow younger kids to walk.

It’s a quick out and back on a flat gravel path to Skyline Arch and the trail is a popular stop on route to the Devil’s Garden. Carved out of a large rock face, the arch resembles a window in the rock and is visible most of the way on the trail. Kids will love seeing the rubble at the foot of the arch. The rubble has been there since the 1940 rock collapse which led to the arch doubling in size.

Arches National Park with Kids

Skyline Arch

 

9 | Landscape Arch at Devil’s Garden

Hike Length: 1.6 miles

Hike Difficulty: easy

Younger kids: lots of opportunities to walk parts of the trail, may need carrier due to distance.

Located at the very back of the park, Devil’s Garden is like a playground with 8 amazing arches visible from its trails. Although not all the hikes are kid friendly, the layout of the Devil’s Garden means you can pick and chose the trails you want to follow.

Landscape Arch was one of our favorite arches in the park. Longer than a football field, the arch is one of the world’s longest stone spans and stretches across the sky in an impossibly narrow arch.

Arches National Park with Kids

Landscape Arch

 

The trail is relatively easy and follows a well defined path which meanders over some moderate hills. The arch is viewed from nearby viewing platforms due to a 1991 rockfall during which a 60 foot slab of rock fell to the ground.

Arches National Park with Kids

Landscape Arch

 

10 | Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch at Devil’s Garden

Hike Length: 0.5 miles off the Landscape Arch trail

Hike Difficulty: easy

Younger kids: lots of opportunities to walk parts of the trail, may need carrier due to distance especially when combined with the hike to Landscape Arch.

Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch are located on a side trail which spurs off from the Landscape arch hike. Again, the path is well defined with some moderate hills.

Cutting through the rock like a tunnel, Tunnel Rock is visible in the distance from a viewing platform on the trail.

Arches National Park with Kids

Tunnel Arch

 

After viewing Tunnel Rock, the trail continues towards Pine Tree Arch and finishes a few feet from the arch itself. The views through the arch are beautiful with some great stone formations as the backdrop to the arch.

Arches National Park with Kids

Pine Tree Arch

 

Arches National Park with kids: other arches in Devil’s Garden include Navajo, Partition and Double O Arches. Getting to them involves scrambling up sandstone fins. Although the trails lead to some of the best views and arches in the park, we didn’t feel comfortable taking our younger kids even in their carriers. Older kids may be able to attempt the hikes.

Arches National Park with Kids

Warning signs in the Devil’s Garden

 

Tips for visiting Arches National Park with kids

  • Arrive early: There are small parking lots attached to many of the hikes but they can fill up quickly at peak times and it’s not possible to leave your car without finding a dedicated parking space. Over 1.65 million visitors entered Arches National Park in 2019 so it’s understandable that it can get busy

Arches National Park with kids tip: although the ever popular Devil’s Garden and Delicate Arch trails have larger car parks it is still a challenge to find a space so make sure to arrive early.

  • Bring a hiking backpack/carrier for younger kids: a carrier is invaluable on both longer trails and those with dangerous or exposed sections. Our toddler spent lots of time in his carrier during our time in Arches and we were so happy to have it as it allowed us to attempt almost all of the hikes in the park.
Arches National Park with Kids

A hiking backpack is great for the longer trails

 

  • Winter hikes: the trails can be very icy in the winter and there are warning signs indicating the increased difficulty of trails such as Delicate Arch at these times. It is essential to wear shoes with a strong grip or pick up some Yaktrax for your sneakers. Layer up and keep kids well wrapped up from the cold. Remember to add some extra layers for kids in carriers as they’re not running around and can get very cold.
Arches National Park with Kids

The trails were icy during our winter visit

 

  • Summer hikes: summer temperatures can be extreme so it is essential to hike outside the peak sunshine hours. Trails like Sand Dune Arch are among the few that offer any shade from the sun or driving along the main road, the Scenic Drive, is another good option. Bring lots of water, sunscreen and sun hats.
  • Junior Ranger: pick up a junior ranger booklet at the visitors center to help engage kids in the visit. A junior ranger badge and signed certificate is provided to kids who complete at least 5 exercises and 3 adventures and it’s a nice treat.
  • Multiple Parks: if you are planning on visiting multiple parks make sure to purchase an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. They coat $80 and cover entry for the pass owner and other passengers in the vehicle. We saved a ton of money by purchasing a pass at the entrance of the first National Park we visited.
Arches National Park with Kids

Arches National Park

 

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Us

Show Them The Globe is a family travel and lifestyle website inspiring you to travel more with your kids

Family Travel & Lifesyle

Learn how to make travelling with your kids easier and fun