When is the best time to visit Arches National Park

Discussion in 'Travel' started by john_smith|107, Jul 9, 2004.

  1. I am planning a photo trip to Arches National Park in Utah. I planned
    on leaving next week, but I have been advised to wait until sept/oct,
    when the crowds are smaller.

    Can anyone tell me when the best time to visit Arches National Park
    is? What month?
    Are the crowds that bad in july(summer)

    Any info would be great!
  2. My favorite time of the year to visit Arches National Park is in late fall or early spring, when there is snow on the surrounding mountains, as well as clouds. Winter can provide great opportunities with fresh snow, but weather can be difficult. All those times are uncrowded.
  3. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I know this isn't what you meant, but the best time to visit Arches
    is very early in the morning or just before sunset. Same is true
    od Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point nearby. If you do that in
    July you have to get up very early and stay very late with a long
    and boring ( photographically) day in the middle. If you go in
    autumn or spring you get a more manageable day as well as
    fewer people. I've been in mid April and mid October. Both were
    manageable, people-wise without being quiet.
  4. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Both were manageable, people-wise without being quiet.

    Sorry- one exception. Delicate Arch at sunset is a zoo. I've seen
    fewer people at a Stones concert!
  5. I agree with all of the above. In addition, Arches can be very very hot in July
    and August. If you are camping that is something to consider carefully.
    Campsites may be hard to find at the single campgound during July and
    August. If you are staying in nearby Moab the heat will be something you can
    escape at night and during mid-day.

    All things considered, avoid the peak tourist and heat season if possible, but
    don't miss an opportunity to go soon. Arches is an amazing place. I think
    entirely too much emphasis is placed on photographing the 'icons' and not
    enough time spent simply appreciating the flamboyantly colored desert
    environment. My next trip to Arches will probably be in the late fall or winter to
    avoid the heat and crowds and increase the chances of interesting weather.
  6. Thanks guys for all the info.

    I dont mind the long days, heat I can deal with for a little while, but crowds can be a problem. I can never get any photo work done when crowds are around. Everyone always wants to talk(This statemnet sounds bad, but it is not meant to be bad). I think most photographers understand what I mean by this statement.

    I think I will change my schedule around so I can hit the Arches in the fall of this year(avoid the heat and crowds).

    Any suggestions for other parks to photograph for the month of july/august?

    Thank you for the info!
  7. Bear in mind that, at Arches, having a human figure or two in the shot can be good thing sometimes. The scale of some of the structures there can be hard to appreciate without something else in the image (like a puny human) to demonstrate it.
  8. If you're set on visiting the desert in summer, try Grand Canyon NP (North Rim only) -- visited it July 4, 2002, minimal traffic; had the canyon to myself two sunrises in a row. Nearby, you can also visit Wupatki NM, Tuzigoot NM, and Natural Bridges NM -- few crowds at those ANY time of year.

    For the most part, most of the Ancient Puebloan parks are hard to find crowded, with the exception of Mesa Verde -- the crowds there aren't too bad, but it's certainly the most popular of the ruins around the Four Corners states.
  9. You are wise to avoid Arches this time of the year. I have been twice between xmas and new years and it was great, days were warm enough (50-55), crowds were non existent, even delicate arch was deserted one evening (well deserted is an exaggeration, myself and two french couples asking me to take their photos under the arch while they were making out, quite fun).

    This time of the year you might consider heading to Flagstaff. It is 7000 ft high, and as hot as it gets is mid 80s, and very cool at night still. Wupatki, Sunset Crater, Walnut Canyon parks are right there. A little further but still a day trip would be Petrified Forest/Painted Desert, and the towns of Winslow and Holbrook. Lots of Ruins and Rock Art all over, if you are interested in that sort of thing. Hike into the basin of the San Francisco Peaks, a great experience. And of course, there is also Oak Creek and Sedona. Flagstaff is a great city with a cool downtown filled with good restaurants and better bars.
  10. I was there last January - no crowds (almost deserted in fact) and pleasant temperatures.
  11. Sorry- one exception. Delicate Arch at sunset is a zoo. I've seen fewer people at a Stones concert!

    Really?? I went up to Delicate Arch at sunset late december 2001 (3 days before new year). I was there all alone.
  12. Interesting trivia re: Arches National Park. Delicate Arch, the one so famous it's on the
    state plates, wasn't meant to go by that name. I read this somewhere, and it rings true.
    Somehow, long ago, the names "Delicate Arch" and "Landscape Arch" were transposed on
    the map. That's why we see Delicate Arch sitting in a wide landscape of larger rock
    features, while Landscape Arch stretches delicately into a span so thin it looks... delicate.
  13. My wife and I go out to Moab from the Denver area frequently, and I would highly recommend anything between October and May. The Summer months are - as other people have already described - packed with tourists and hotter than all-get-out. There's nowhere to hide from the Sun, either.
    The local crowds are pretty heavy in October and May, but the tourist crowds are largely gone by then; the locals aren't nearly as bad, and many of them go looking for adventures outside the main scenic areas.
    I've had excellent luck in the Winter months; catching the park after a light snow is magical. The mornings can be chilly, and if Moab gets caught in a thermal inversion, it might not get warm all day. But often the temperatures will rise into the 50s even in January.
    If you're looking for green growing things, though, go in April-May. By mid-June everything starts to brown up.

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