Seven Tips for Arches National Park With Kids

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A visit to Arches National Park with kids has been on our family bucket list for quite some time. We hadn’t planned to go to Arches National Park on this trip, but when we realized that we would be traveling through the state of Utah, we decided it might be worth our while to make a visit. And after spending time in Yellowstone National Park a few days prior, we were excited to see some more United States national parks.

Getting to know Arches National Park with kids

Arches National Park is located in eastern Utah, near the town of Moab. The park was established in 1929, and covers an area of roughly 120 square miles. Despite being a relatively small park, there are over 2,000 natural arches!

Going to Arches National Park is great with kids, but there are certain things to keep in mind if you do plan to visit. The park is located in a desert, so it can be pretty brutal for little ones. According to the National Park Services, park rangers perform dozens of search and rescues each year to visitors experiencing heat exhaustion, dehydration, or climbing incidents. When visiting with kids, it’s important that you keep them safe to avoid an incident!

Rocks and boulders visible on a hike at Arches National Park with kids
Rocks along the Broken Arch Trail (August 2018)

If you’re planning to visit Arches National Park with kids, here are seven tips to help keep your kids safe and healthy, and make the trip a memorable one.

Hike early in the day

The desert can get hot! One of our biggest tips for visiting Arches National Park with kids is to do your hiking early in the day, before the desert begins to heat up. Alternatively, you can also do your hiking later in the day, after 5pm or so, but you may find that it can still be pretty hot even at that time. Most young kids don’t like to hike for too long anyway, so timing your hikes in the morning, and spending the afternoons driving or exploring the Visitor’s Center is a good strategy.

Tapestry Arch at Arches National Park with kids
Tapestry Arch in the morning light (August 2018)

Practice safety when climbing on the rocks

Hiking around Arches National Park with kids can get a little risky. Although the trails are marked by small stone stacks, some of them go over rocks and boulders, even the easy ones. It’s best to provide a lot of supervision to your little ones when climbing up and down the rocks.

Following the stone stacks as we climb over a giant rock (August 2018)

Choose easy hikes

The hikes at Arches National Park come in varying levels of difficulty. If you’re planning on hiking with your kids at Arches National Park, you can choose some of the easier ones, like Balanced Rock (.3 miles), Landscape Arch (1.6 miles), Double Arch (.5 miles) or Windows Loop (1 mile). We chose to do a loop that took us to Tapestry Arch and through Broken Arch, which was roughly two miles.

A view of Broken Arch from below at Arches National Park with kids
Walking under the Broken Arch (August 2018)

Drink water!

As I mentioned before, the desert gets hot! At over 4,000 feet above sea level, it’s also considered a high desert, so the air can get pretty dry in that area. When you’re hiking through Arches National Park with kids, make sure to bring plenty of water to keep your kids (and you!) hydrated.

Making our way to Broken Arch (August 2018)

Give yourself time and take plenty of breaks

Another tip for hiking through Arches National Park with kids is to build in break time during your hikes. Your kids may not be used to hiking through deserts, and the heat may be tough for them to handle. Make sure you allow time to rest in the shade and drink water. Heat stroke is a serious thing, especially for kids, so make sure to give your kiddos time to cool off and rest.

Stone stacks in the shade, marking the trail (August 2018)

Learn about the natural environment at the Visitor’s Center

In the afternoons, when the sun gets hot, it’s the perfect time to take a visit to the Visitor’s Center to learn all about the desert and its ecosystem. The Visitor’s Center has some interesting videos of how the arches were made over time, so you can make your visit to Arches National Park with kids educational too! Plus, they have Junior Ranger programs, so your kids can earn a Junior Ranger badge during their visit to the park.

Learning about desert life at the Visitor’s Center (August 2018)

Take an excursion to the dinosaur parks

The area around Moab is actually a common place for scientists to find dinosaur bones. If you have a budding paleontologist, take an excursion to one of the dinosaur parks that are outside of the National Park. We visited the Moab Giants, which has life-size models of dinosaurs, as well as 3D videos of the dinosaurs who lived in the sea. It made our visit to Arches National Park with kids so much more fun!

Hanging out with T-Rex at Moab Giants (August 2018)

Visiting Arches National Park with kids was incredible. Being Pacific Northwest kids, our little ones are used to national parks being filled with trees, mountains, and even oceans. So being at a park with deserts and rocks completely blew their mind.

A dinosaur in the desert at Moab Giants (August 2018)

If you’re planning a visit to Arches National Park with kids, be sure to follow these tips so that your family has a safe and fun time at the park.

Did I miss anything? Share your tips for Arches National Park in the comments below!

7 Tips for Arches National Park with Kids

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13 Responses

  1. Arches NP is such an amazing place. we had planned to go last year, but couldnt hit there 🙁 hopefully, we would be able to make it there next year soon. Pics are so amazing. thanks for sharing.

  2. I am glad you decided to go to Arches National Park! Your photos are amazing and really make me want to go there too! I love all your tips about hiking with the little ones. Going early and choosing short hikes sure sound like a smart thing to do!

  3. I think I’d definitely have to go to one of the dino parks! This sounds like an incredible day out even if you don’t have kids!

  4. These were exactly the types of vacations my family took when I was a child and I know that you’re kids are going to remember these experiences forever! It’s such a blessing to learn to appreciate these natural beauties from such a young age.

  5. The archers national park is definitely a place that is highly on my bucketlist. How lucky are your kids to be able to go there at such an early age and enjoy it. Thanks for the tips.

  6. I love your comprehensive article on hiking with kids. I’ve done similar hikes and totally agree, do it in the morning and be back before it heats up.
    I’m glad you mentioned the junior ranger program. When my kids were little we had a nice collection of junior ranger badges and activity books. We all enjoyed the programs that our wonderful national parks offer. The kids we so engaged at that age.

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I'm a travel-loving mom of three from Seattle. Join our adventures as we explore the Pacific Northwest and the world!

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