Arches National Park is 77k square miles filled with over 2200 deep red arches and other formations that will make your kids WANT to jump out of the car and go check them out. There’s nothing quite like it anywhere else on earth.
First things first, this park is huge and does not have anywhere to get snacks or drinks, so you’ll need to be prepared to pack a lunch and take plenty of water. The bathrooms are what you’d expect to see in the middle of a red parched rocky place – they’re nothing more than brick porta potties, so be prepared for that one too.
We went in June (2018) and stayed in a nearby campground during our big 5 National Park trip. We recommend staying in Moab and checking out the town. There’s SO Much to do in and around Arches that it deserves to be considered for a longer trip than we gave it.
VISITING ARCHES NATIONAL PARK WITH KIDS – TIPS
- Arches is as dusty and rocky and slippery as it looks, this is not the place for slippery cowboy boots or loose flip flops. This is a hiking boot or great sneaker type of place.
- Pack a lunch and take plenty of water. There is no where to get any once you’re inside the gate.
- Get an early start to try to beat the crowds if you’re planning a one day trip.
- Plan ahead. Know which Arches or land forms you’d like to see before you go.
- Get gas before you go for the same reason as you’re taking food. There’s just no where to get it inside the park.
- Stop at the gift shop on your way out. There’s more than just your stamp and things to buy. There is a lot of historical and geological information you won’t want to miss.
The Windows. Probably one of our favorites. You can’t tell from this picture, but there were a solid dozen of teenager sitting in one of the windows on the other side (that picture is below).
HIKING THE ARCHES WITH KIDS
There are several places to park and hike to get a closer look at some of the arches. Some of the hikes, however, are rated strenuous, take several hours and are not great for kids. We recommend reading this article on Travel Awaits for a little more in-depth information on the trails.
It’s important to know what is involved in the trails before you decide to jump on them. Some trails, like Devils Garden Loop, has steep inclines on both sides. We opted to walk back to The Windows and take the opportunity to walk shorter trails that allowed us to get up close and personal with many of the Arches famous landmarks, including Delicate Arch.
You get an idea of how big one of the windows in The Windows really is when you see the size of the people and the size of the opening.
The Arches National Park is full of these statuesque stone pillars. It’s hard to wrap your head around them, honestly. It feels as though there’s no way they could just have formed like that. See that little tiny gap in the top right? How amazing of a little cave home would that have been?
Our trip to Arches was surreal. It was part of our two week long trip to Grand Canyon, Zion, Yellowstone, etc. in the Summer of 2018. What was even crazier is that we didn’t know our house was flooding from a burst pipe behind the wall in the kitchen while we were gone. We were having the time of our life and didn’t know that we’d come home to a house that we couldn’t live in because mold had formed from the water damage. Seeing these sights and others on this trip gave us all incredible wanderlust, but with the house flooding, it was also the start of our full-time traveling adventure.
Between Arches and Moab there was an amazing rock and fossil shop called Moab Rock Shop. Our son met and was able to talk with the gentleman that found and named the Utah-raptor. He literally cried. There were so many amazing finds in that little shop. It really did make the trip special for our kids.