Sunrise In Arches National Park

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The Best Spots For Sunrise And Sunset In Arches

Arches National Park is a stunning destination in Utah, famous for its rock formations, hiking trails, and beautiful vistas. One of the most breathtaking sights in the Park is the view of the sunrise and sunset. Watching the sun slowly creep over the horizon or set behind the stunning sandstone arches is an unforgettable experience. In this blog post, we will explore the best spots for sunrise and sunset in Arches, as well as some tips for making the most of your visit to this incredible place.

Arches National Park is a protected area in eastern Utah. The Park has over 2,000 natural sandstone arches and other unique geological formations such as fins, spires, and balanced rocks. Arches National Park covers an area of approximately 76,679 acres and is known for its stunning landscapes and vistas. As one of the top US National Parks, it attracts millions of visitors yearly who hike, camp, and explore the area’s natural beauty. And taking in the sunrise and sunset is one of the top things to do in Arches and this list will help you find the best spots to do that.

All those visitors make it essential to have a plan when you visit. Being at the right places at the right time can save you many headaches and make your visit perfect. This list of the best spots for sunrise and sunset in Arches will give you locations that require little or no hiking and others that will remove you from the crowds.

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah, United States

Top Sunrise Viewing Locations In Arches National Park

Catching beautiful sunrises in Arches National Park requires more work from you. You need to get up early and make your way to the Park to be in position to catch the first rays of light. But even if you don’t make it for the actual sunrise, early morning is one of the most magical times in Arches. It’s quiet and less crowded, and the light on the red rock formations is so serene. 

#1 Sunrise Location: Landscape Arch

Watching the sunrise at Landscape Arch in Arches National Park is a beautiful experience. While many people consider Delicate Arch the best place for sunrise, it really is a better location for sunset (read on for that list). The arch is located in the Devil’s Garden area of the park, and the trail to get there is about 1.6 miles roundtrip. Getting an early start and arriving before sunrise is recommended to secure a good spot in the Devil’s Garden Trailhead parking lot and allow time to hike to the arch before sunrise. Watching the sunrise at Landscape Arch is a peaceful and serene experience worth doing if you’re visiting the park. This is one of my favorite places to catch the morning light.

Another reason Landscape Arch is the place to start your day is the fact that it is about as far into the entire Park as you can travel in a car, so you will have far less company as you watch the sunrise. It also gives you a good starting point for your day of adventure and eliminates some of the crowds. The road back to the park entrance is also a very scenic drive.

Lanscape Arch one of the best spots for sunrise in Arches National Park
#2 Sunrise Location: Delicate Arch

I put the iconic Delicate Arch in the number 2 spot for visitors to watch the sunrise and take photos, just because the sunset here is even more spectacular. That said, there are some advantages to exploring this arch in the morning. Namely, there are fewer people, and it is easier to do the Delicate Arch hike early in the day. The view of the sun rising behind the arch can be pretty breathtaking, and the early morning light can cast a beautiful glow on the surrounding red rocks. However, it is important to note that the hike to Delicate Arch is moderate to difficult, so start early and bring plenty of water and appropriate gear.

#3 Sunrise Location: Balance Rock

The way the sun rises at Balance Rock is stunning; the warm hues of orange and pink fill the sky, casting a mesmerizing glow over the surrounding landscape. The rock is perched on the edge of a cliff, providing an unobstructed view of the sunrise. It’s truly a breathtaking sight.

This place offers an easy opportunity to watch the sunrise. It requires a short walk of only 0.3 miles from the parking area to reach the best viewing area. You can also enjoy a wider view of the La Sal Mountains from the same location. This allows you to see more of the sky as the sun rises and is one the best spots to view the sunrise without a long hike.

The scenic road in Arches National Park at sunrise.
#4 Sunrise Location: Turret Arch

If you are planning a sunrise hike at Arches National Park, consider visiting Turret Arch. This stunning location offers a beautiful view of the Park’s unique geological formations, such as the towering sandstone fins and the picturesque desert landscape. As you hike up to Turret Arch, you’ll be surrounded by the beauty of the Park, with the early morning light casting a warm glow over the rocks. It’s a great way to start your day and experience the natural wonders of Arches National Park.

The short hike to Turret Arch is relatively easy and suitable for hikers of all skill levels. The trail is approximately 0.3 miles (0.5 km) round trip and takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. It’s a mostly flat, well-maintained path with minor inclines and rocky sections. 

#5 Sunrise Location: Double Arch and Windows Arch

Double Arch is a beautiful location that offers stunning views. When you arrive at the parking lot, you’ll find plenty of options to explore, including Windows Arch. And when it comes to watching the sunrise, you won’t be disappointed no matter which spot you pick. So, take your time, explore your options, and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Double Arch or Windows Arch at sunrise.

Top Sunset Viewing Locations In Arches National Park

Sunset viewing is the perfect cap to your day of exploring Arches National Park. Unlike sunrise, this is a much easier time to capture. And if you left the Park earlier in the day, you can return in the evening using the same ticket—no need for a reservation after 4 pm. Between April 1 and October 31, the Park has a timed entry reservation system for all visitors between 7 am and 4 pm. And you will want to stick around after sunset for the fantastic stargazing in this International Dark Sky Park.

#1 Sunset Location: Delicate Arch

One of the best places to watch the sunset in Arches National Park is Delicate Arch. The view of the arch and the surrounding landscape is spectacular, especially when the sun sets behind the mountains. The Delicate Arch trail is about 3 miles round trip, so bring plenty of water and wear appropriate footwear. If you are not up for the hike or the crowds, read on for further suggestions. Remember, this is one of the best photo spots in the park, no matter what time of day.

Just know that this is the most popular spot for sunset, so it’s crowded. The parking lot can become full, and there is an overflow, making your walk a bit longer. Also, take your time leaving after sunset; the traffic during the summer can be heavy.

Balance Rock at sunset in Arches National Park
#2 Sunset Location: Balance Rock

Sunset is a fantastic time to visit Balanced Rock. I think visiting at sunset is better than at sunrise. The unique formation creates a beautiful silhouette against the colorful sky, making it a popular spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Just arrive early to secure a good place, as it can get quite crowded during peak hours.

I’ve seen people bring food and make a picnic out of sunset at Balance Rock. It is so easy to reach. It’s not far from your car to a good vantage point.

#3 Sunset Location: Fiery Furnace Viewpoint

An easy place to catch the sunset without a hike is Fiery Furnace Viewpoint. Visitors can witness the magnificent geological formations known as the Fiery Furnace from this viewpoint. The Fiery Furnace is a labyrinth of sandstone canyons and fins that are popular among hikers and adventurers. The viewpoint offers a panoramic view of the area and is a popular spot for sunset.

#4 Sunset Location: Park Avenue

When you visit Park Avenue in Arches National Park at sunset, you have two choices: watch the light dance off the rock wall from the viewpoint or take an easy hike along the trail and immerse yourself in the orange glow. If you can stick around for stargazing, this is a great location!

Sunset in Arches National Park with the moon rising.
#5 Sunset Location: La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

Catching the sunset (or even the sunrise) is most accessible from the La Sal Mountain Viewpoint. In fact, this is one of the few places that is the Best Spots for both sunrise and sunset In Arches. Located just a short distance from the park entrance and the visitor center, it offers a 360-degree view of the La Sal Mountains. It also doesn’t require hiking, and reaching it takes no time from the park entrance. 

Visiting Arches National Park

When To Visit

Late spring or fall is the best time to visit Arches National Park as the temperatures are lower and the crowds are fewer. However, if you plan to visit during the summer, arrive early and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Where To Stay

Moab is the closest town to Arches. It is convenient and offers lots of amenities. Hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and activities abound in this area. Staying close to the park is helpful when visiting the best spots for sunrise and sunset in Arches.

Best places to stay in Moab:

If you’re planning a visit to Moab and wondering where to stay, here are some of the best places to stay in the Moab area:

Sorrel River Ranch Resort and Spa: This luxurious resort is located on the banks of the Colorado River and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding red rock cliffs. With upscale accommodations, a full-service spa, and various outdoor activities, Sorrel River Ranch is the perfect place to relax and unwind. It is just a short drive from the town of Moab.

Red Cliffs Lodge: Situated on the banks of the Colorado River, Red Cliffs Lodge offers rustic charm and stunning views of the surrounding red rock cliffs. With over 20 miles of hiking and biking trails, a winery, and a restaurant, this lodge is an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

Moab Springs Ranch: This family-friendly resort offers a variety of accommodations, including cabins, condos, and glamping tents. With a swimming pool, playground, and plenty of outdoor activities, Moab Springs Ranch is an excellent choice for families. It also has the advantage of being only a short distance from the park entrance.

Gonzo Inn: This funky boutique hotel is located in the heart of Moab and offers comfortable, eclectic accommodations. With a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, and complimentary breakfast, the Gonzo Inn is a great choice for travelers who want to be in the middle of the action.

Hoodoo Moab: This upscale hotel is located in the heart of Moab. This is Moab’s newest hotel with a pool bar and restaurant, part of the Hilton Curio collection. It is a good choice with many amenities in Moab’s heart.

More Information To Plan Your Utah Trip

If you are looking for additional trips for your exploration of Utah’s National Parks, check out the following posts also on Fork & Wander:

The Best Tours And Activities To Do In Moab At Night — Filled with lots of ideas of things to do after the sun sets.

Best Things To Do Besides Hiking On Visit To Zion National Park — If you are doing all the Mighty 5 Utah parks, you might want to take a day off from hiking; here are some ideas in Zion National Park.

5-Day Itinerary of Utah National Parks From Las Vegas — This itinerary can be expanded with more time.

Drive Moab To Capitol Reef To Bryce Canyon National Park — After you leave Moab, you will find much more to see. Here is an excellent place to stay on this drive: Where To Stay Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef, Check Out Yonder Escalante.

Arches National Park is a remarkable destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and adventure. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply looking to enjoy the scenic views, there’s something for everyone at this iconic park. And exploring the park at sunrise and sunset is a must-do. With amazing light on the stunning rock formations, you will get some amazing photos and memories. Hopefully this guide to the best spots for sunrise and sunset in Arches makes you visit perfect.

Below are links and resources to help you plan The perfect trip

Travel Resources

  • HOTELS and are great resources for accommodations around the world. Book almost any hotel directly from these links.
    The best places to book tours and activities are Viator or Get Your Guide . From great food tours to guided hiking adventures to local walking tours, you will find great experiences to add to your travels here.
    EatWith is a great resource for authentic culinary experiences with passionate locals worldwide. Connecting travelers with hosts in over 130 countries, providing unique, intimate, and immersive experiences in private homes and exclusive venues.
    Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They work with over 210 rail and coach companies to help their customers travel to thousands of destinations across 45 countries. 

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