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Arches National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. And for good reason, it is full of incredible rock formations, over 2,000 stone arches, and stunning views. Our full-time travel family of 5 have hiked to all of the arches listed below and can say that each one is unique and beautiful in its own way.
Delicate Arch: 3.4 miles
This arch is a free-standing arch and has become a widely recognized symbol of the state of Utah.
The family friendly hike to Delicate Arch is a steady uphill hike and considered moderate with an elevation gain of 480 feet. The hike is about 3 miles roundtrip which starts on a flat, sandy trail from the parking lot. Along this sandy path is a Wolfe Ranch cabin where you can rest and read informational signs about the cabin. Once you start hiking on the slickrock it can be a bit confusing so follow the cairns (rocks stacked on top of each other). Just take your time and enjoy the views along the way. The last half-mile is up hill, but it is worth it when you get to the top and see Delicate Arch up close.
As you get closer to the Delicate Arch the trail narrows. You have to climb over a bit of a ridge also in order to get into the 'bowl' area where the Delicate arch is. The opening beneath the Delicate Arch is 46 feet high and 32 feet wide, making it the largest free-standing arch in the park and let me tell you, it is not until you get up to the arch that you recognize how massive it is!
Our family started the hike prior to sunrise and only had to wait in line to get a photo for 5 minutes. After taking photos we sat in the Delicate Arch bowl, had a snack and took in the views. By the time we started back on the Delicate Arch trail by mid-morning the line was quite long.
Even though this hike is moderate, it is definitely a family friendly hike at Arches National Park. However, the Delicate Arch hike has NO shade, and I would highly recommend doing this hike early in the day.
Hidden Arches and Broken Arch: 1.4 miles
Hidden Arch is one of our kids' favorite arches in Arches National Park. This arch is not seen from the road or parking area. You have to do an easy, family friendly hike, less than .5-mile round trip to see the Hidden Arch inside the formations. This family hike does require you to do a bit of scrambling but nothing too difficult for most families with kids, because if your kiddos are anything like mine, they love to climb over some rock formations. The family friendly trail is a beach-like trail is sandy due to the wind-driven accumulation that takes you between two sandstone formations. The arch is shaded, ground-level, and the kid's loved playing in the cool, red sand.
From this same trailhead you head east about .8 miles from the parking lot to the Broken Arch. This arch isn't actually broken, but rather has a large hold in the middle of it and wearing VERY thin.
If your family trip to Arches National Park is limited, I would definitely recommend these two-family friendly hikes. Both arches are cool because they are set back in a little valley away from all of the crowds and gives the kids some room to get their energy out.
Devil's Garden Trail to Landscape Arch: 2.0 miles
The Landscape Arch is a MUST see and a very family friendly hike at Arches National Park! This arch is located at the end of Devil's Garden Trail which is an easy, flat trail perfect for kids AND adults who do not like hiking up hill. The Landscape Arch at Arches National Park is 306 feet long, making it the longest natural stone in Arches National Park, and the 5th longest in the entire world! I definitely think this arch should have been named the Delicate Arch because it is VERY thin at the top of the arch at about 6- 10 feet wide. This arch however, unlike the other family friendly hikes listed here, you are unable to stand underneath of it. There is a wooden fence or barrier due to the delicacy of this arch but there is plenty of room and little formations for the kids to climb on while you take in this stunning arch.
Double, Windows & Turret's Arch: 1.3 miles
The parking area for these three arches was the busiest. And I do have to say that the craziness of the area took away from the beauty of these arches. The trail to the Double Arch is short-about .5 mile on a gravel path with a few rock stairs at the end. It leads to the tallest arch in the park. You don't even have to get out of the parking area for this arch as its viewable without hiking.
The trail to the upper parking lot goes to two arches- Window's and Turret. To get to the Turret Arch there are some rocky stairs. This family friendly hike is great if you have kiddos who like to scramble on rocks because underneath this formation is a pile of rocks! We did not hike up the Window's trailhead, because it was so busy. The Window's Arch is one of the most popular arches at Arches National Park. The trail head section for this arch by the time the kids were tired of climbing at the Turret Arch was a single file line to reach the arch.
These three family friendly hikes to view three arches is a very convenient because there is a very large parking lot WITH bathrooms. However, this section of Arches National Park gets busy FAST.
Balanced Rock: .3 miles
This rock is slowly eroding away and someday will no longer be balanced! This easy, kid friendly hike is an easy .3-mile hike round trip which has a covered picnic area and bathrooms. We hit this on the way out of the park on Day 2.
Our family travel trip to Arches National Park included two days in a row starting at sunrise, arriving at the first parking lot and watching sunrise. Day 1 we watched the sunrise while hiking to the Delicate Arch and then went over to the Hidden and Broken Arch. We left the park by 11AM and the gates were closed by then due to the park being full! The second day of our family travel trip we hiked to Landscape Arch at sunrise then went over to the Window's section and finished at Balanced Rock on our way out. I would recommend keeping an eye on the parks Twitter or webpage. When we got back to the RV resort both summer days their Twitter page said that the park was at capacity by 8:30AM!
These are 6 family friendly hikes at Arches National Park but there are many more options depending on your fitness level and how much time you want to spend hiking. Arches National Park is definitely worth adding to your list of places to visit with your family! Have you ever been? What was your favorite hike?