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The Ultimate Guide to Arches National Park Camping

Have you been thinking about camping at Arches National Park? This guide gives you all the details you need to know to have a great Arches National Park camping trip! You’ll find information about the campground and amenities, things to do while you’re there, what types of wildlife you can expect to see, and more!

The Devil’s Garden Campground is a great place to stay while exploring the beautiful natural arches in the park. Keep reading and you’ll learn everything you need to know to plan your camping adventure in Arches National Park.

What to Expect When Camping at Arches National Park

Partition Arch in Arches National Park.
Partition Arch in Arches National Park

Arches National Park is an absolutely stunning place to go camping. You’ll get to enjoy the beautiful park during the day and relax to the sounds of nature while you fall asleep under the stars. From rock climbing to mountain biking to photography, there are many great ways to explore the wonders of the park while you’re there. You’ll love staying at the campground within the park close by to all the activities you want to experience during the day.

Timed Entry Tickets

To better manage traffic and congestion and to improve the overall experience for visitors, Arches National Park has implemented a temporary timed entry system. From April 3 to October 3, 2022, daytime visitors will need to make a reservation to enter the park. Reservations open 3 months in advance and book up quickly.

The good news is, if you’ve booked a campsite or special-use permit, you won’t need a timed entry reservation. Reservations are only for visitors coming in just for the day. You can watch a video to find out more and make a reservation at the park’s website here.

Camping

Arches National Park camping

Arches National Park has one campground called Devil’s Garden. There are 51 campsites that range in size from 20-40 feet. RVs, trailers, and tents are all welcome while camping at Arches National Park. There are two ADA-accessible sites and two group sites. Campsites are for up to 10 people.

Backpacking

If you enjoy backpacking, a small number of designated backcountry campsites are available to backpackers with a permit. These sites are difficult to get to as they are inaccessible from established trails and include steep terrain and loose rocks. There is limited to no water available when backpacking, so be prepared!

Amenities

Picnic tables, fire rings, grills, drinking water, and both flush toilets and vault toilets are available. There are no electric hookups, showers, or dumping stations. Sinks are available for washing dishes.

Firewood

Coupons for firewood can be purchased at the bookstore or online and can be redeemed for wood bundles at the campground. In winter, firewood is sold directly at the bookstore. Because woody vegetation grows so slowly in the desert, firewood collecting is not allowed.

Reservations

Reservations are limited to 7 days in a 30 day period, with a maximum of 14 days in a year.

In the spring and summer, sites typically fill up months in advance, so make sure to book early! The regular season runs from March 1-October 31, and sites can be reserved up to 6 months in advance. Group sites can be booked up to 12 months in advance. During the winter season (November 1-February 28), campsites are first-come first-served. To make a reservation, call 1-877-444-6777 or visit their website.

Things to Do While Camping at Arches National Park

Double Arch, Arches National Park
Double Arch

Hiking

There are tons of great hiking trails to explore while camping at Arches National Park. Many of the hikes are rated easy to moderate, so it’s a great family activity. If you prefer something more intense, there are several difficult trails as well that range from 2.6-7.8 miles long.

Biking

Enjoy biking? You’ll definitely want to bring your bicycle when you’re camping at Arches National Park! Bikes are welcome on all paved and unpaved roads within the park. The Salt Valley and Willow Springs dirt roads are less traveled and perfect for mountain bikes. Bikes are not allowed on any of the hiking trails or anywhere off-road, but there are plenty of roads where you’ll have a beautiful bike ride with stunning views of the natural arches.

Photography

Delicate Arch at sunset.
Delicate Arch

There are so many incredible natural features to photograph in the park, you’ll definitely want to bring your camera. While Delicate Arch at sunset is one of the most commonly photographed sites in the park, you’ll find there is no shortage of amazing spots to capture truly stunning images. The park website has an entire section dedicated to photography where you’ll find tips on where to go and at what times to get that perfect shot during your Arches National Park camping trip.

Horseback Riding

You’ll feel like you traveled back in time to the Wild West when you take a horseback riding adventure while camping at Arches National Park. Horseback riding is allowed within the park, though many of the nearby companies that offer horseback riding are located in and around Moab and don’t actually enter the park. Here are some of the places where you can book horseback riding:

Moab Horses

Canyon Lands by Night and Day

Moab Adventure Center

Rock Climbing

If you’re an experienced climber, you won’t want to miss the chance to climb in Arches National Park. There are several beautiful spots to go rock climbing. Most of the rock climbing areas require advanced climbing techniques, and free climbing and clean aid climbing are encouraged. Find out more about rock climbing within the park and get information about regulations and closures here.

Enjoying Nature in Arches National Park

Wildlife

Wildlife in Arches National Park

It may seem quiet, but there are many animals who make their home in Arches National Park. During the day you can see animals such as hawks, lizards, snakes, squirrels, and chipmunks. A lot of the local animals are nocturnal, including kangaroo rats, foxes, bats, and owls. You may also find porcupines or jackrabbits.

Plants

Arches National Park is home to many beautiful and unique plants, such as the flowering prickly pear cacti, yucca, Utah Juniper, pinyon pine trees, and purple sage. After spring rains it’s even possible to see wildflowers, especially in April or May. If you like flowers, make sure to check out the guide to wildflowers on the park’s website.

Geology

You’ll continually be in awe over the abundance of natural beauty when you visit Arches National Park. The natural rock formations and beautiful colors and textures of the stone are part of what makes the park so unique. With over 2,000 documented arches in the park, Arches National Park has the highest concentration of natural stone arches in the entire world. In addition to the arches, you’ll find pinnacles, balanced rocks, and other interesting geological formations.

Stargazing

Milky Way galaxy above Delicate Arch
Milky Way galaxy above Delicate Arch

Before you go to bed, don’t forget to look up and enjoy the beautiful stars. Without light pollution, you’ll have incredible undiluted views of the night sky while camping at Arches National Park. On a clear, moonless night you’ll be amazed at the number of stars you can see with just the naked eye. The park has even been certified as an International Dark Sky Park.

What to Bring When Camping at Arches National Park

Camping Gear

You’ll need all your usual camping supplies such as a tent and sleeping bags, flashlights, cooking utensils, and food for your Arches National Park camping trip. There aren’t a lot of places to buy things nearby, so make sure you bring everything you’ll need for the entire trip.

Clothing and Foot wear

It can get hot in the desert, so make sure you pack lightweight, breathable clothes that will protect you from the sun while also keeping you cool. If you’re visiting in the winter, however, it can get quite cold, so you’ll want to be prepared for that as well.

You’ll need proper footwear for all of the activities you plan on enjoying, so make sure to pack sturdy hiking shoes or boots with good traction for walking on the sand and rocks.

Extras

You’ll need water bottles to take with you as you explore the park. Sunscreen is also a must, especially in the summer. A hat can also be helpful to protect your head, face, and neck from the sun.

Staying Safe While Camping at Arches National Park

Double Arch Trail
Double Arch Trail

Heat

If you’re visiting in the summer months, temperatures can be very hot, and the sunlight is intense. Temperatures can vary by as much as 40 degrees in one day, so don’t get caught unprepared when the temperature starts to rise. Try to plan your activities for early or late in the day to avoid being in the sun when it’s at its strongest. Make sure to rest often, don’t overexert yourself, and drink plenty of water.

Terrain

Climbing on sand and rocks can be slippery, especially when wet. Always be aware of your surroundings and make sure you have proper footwear with good traction. When climbing rocks, remember that going up is easier than going down. Always make sure to have a down plan and don’t attempt to climb something you won’t be able to get back down on your own.

Unexpected Weather

Storms can be strong and come up quickly. Be prepared for unexpected weather while camping at Arches National Park, and don’t stay out in the open if the weather starts to get dangerous. If lightning is in the area, try to avoid lone trees and high ridges and return to your vehicle if possible. Flash flooding may occur and can be very dangerous. Never try to cross an area that is flooding; turn around and find another way.

Wrapping Up Arches National Park Camping

Camping at Arches National Park

From the moment you pass through the park entrance, before you even get to the campground, you’ll be in awe of the beauty that surrounds you. When it comes to sandstone arches, Arches National Park has unparalleled beauty and natural wonders. You’ll have a great time exploring this beautiful park while camping at Devil’s Garden Campground. What month are you planning your camping trip to Arches National Park? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking for more places in Utah to explore? Check out our other camping guides below!

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