With it's beautiful red rock formations, Arches really is a must see national park! Having lived in Colorado for 27 years, I can't believe this was my first visit! Arches is easily accessed either from Moab (the entrance is 5 miles north on US 191) or I-70. On I-70 take the Crestone exit (#182) and the park is 28 miles south on US 191. Since we were meeting relatives, traveling fairly last minute and visiting in early May...I admit I didn't do much (enough!) research before this visit.
There are definitely some things you need to know (that I learned while there!) before visiting Arches National Park!
Best Time to Visit - The park was much busier in early May (even on a Thursday) than I anticipated. Their busiest season is early March through fall. We arrived at the park around 11am and waited 30 minutes before entering (there's only one entrance/exit to and from this park). Many of the pull-offs have very limited parking so be prepared for a lot of traffic and waiting for parking spots. For the least amount of wait times and traffic I suggest you enter between 7-8am or late in the afternoon (and steer clear of weekend visits during the busy season). Entering later in the day you'll have less crowds, cooler temps and nice lower light for photos. During our visit it was hot and in the 80's, but summer day temps can easily top 100 degrees. Keep your pets at home for an Arches visit! 🙂
Facilities - Pack food and drinks (extra water is a good idea!) with you for your day at the park! Arches is a small park and there aren't any places to make purchases once you are inside (there's a visitor center at the entrance). Luckily we had taken a water bottle and the Mom in me threw in a couple granola bars at the last minute. 🙂 Also, there are very few restrooms and long lines - plan accordingly!
Cell Service - Don't count on instagramming your selfies while in the park. 🙂 There is very limited service - I had a bar once and a while, but for the most part there's no service.
2017 News - There is road work in the park until November, so the park is closing at 6:30 Monday - Thursday evenings. The park campground is also closed. You can check current updates at https://www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm
Until the next adventure - bon voyage!