Know Before You Go: Shaka Guide's Arches National Park Tour
Arches National Park may not be big, but it packs a punch. And if you’re not prepared, between the crowds, the heat (in the summer) and variety of activities - it may even knock you flat! Take it from us and use this handy guide to get the most out of your trip.
- As of April 2022, Arches National Park now has timed entry with advance reservations required. Learn more here.
- The tour takes between 4-6 hours to complete or more if you do all the hikes.
- The tour has two starting points - both on Highway 191, one south of the park’s entrance and the other north - so no matter where you’re coming from, you won’t have to go out of your way to begin the tour.
- The park is open 24-hours.
- Entrance to the Scenic Drive costs $30 per vehicle and is valid for 7 days.
- The park’s Visitor Center is open 7:30 am to 6:00 pm April - September, 8:00 am to October - early November, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm December - March.
- Cell reception is spotty and there is no public wifi at the visitor center or anywhere else inside the park. Be sure to download the tour in wifi before you leave your hotel.
- While all the roads on the Shaka Guide tour are rated for 2-wheel drive, some roads inside the park require high clearance and 4-wheel-drive.
- There is a picnic area inside the park near Devils Garden in case you want to pack food for a picnic lunch or dinner.
- Once the tour starts, access to water will be limited, so make sure you plan ahead. The only potable water inside the park is found at the Visitor Center and the Devil's Garden Campground.
What to Expect
1. To Get An Early Start
Arches National Park gets incredibly busy March through October. Get to the park early, well before 8:00 am if at all possible. Traffic also tends to thin out after 3:00 pm.
2. To Spend 2-6 Hours Exploring
If all you’re doing is driving, the full tour can be done in as little as 90 minutes. An average tour through the park should take you 2-4 hours if you make frequent stops and enjoy a few of the shorter hikes. Longer or additional hikes will extend the tour even further. Feel free to participate in as few or as many stops as you like or as your time permits.
3. To Be Active
Our tour passes 15 hiking trails in the park, but we’ll recommend three that are rated easy to moderate. A visit to Arches just isn’t complete without stepping outside your vehicle, if you’re able. We’ll tell you more about the hikes on our tour - or check out tour highlights in the app - and you can decide which ones fit your schedule and abilities. There will also be plenty of recommended stops for viewpoints and photo opportunities, so be prepared to get out of the car often.
4. To Try Local Goodies
When you’re active, it usually follows that you get hungry! There are so many great restaurants in Moab. Don’t forget to check out the highlights section of the app for some recommendations. We especially love the Moab Food Truck Park!
5. To Learn
Shaka Guide’s Arches National Park Tour will cover both the geological history and human history of the area. You’ll learn all about the unique geological features the park has to offer and why it’s so perfect for the formation of Arches. You’ll also learn about the human history of the park, from the original inhabitants up through the creation of the park. By the end of the tour, you’ll be an expert on Arches National Park!
Budgeting for the Shaka Guide tour of Arches is relatively simple. You just need enough to cover the entrance fee, any souvenirs at the bookstore, and food & drink if you plan on bringing along snacks or a picnic. Of course, you should also take into consideration any supplies you may need like sunscreen and water bottles. It is the desert, afterall!
- $30 per car for the Scenic Drive
- $15-$20 per person for lunch
- $10-$20 per person for gifts/souvenirs at the Visitor Center
- $2.00 per vehicle advance reservation fee (April-October)
If you need more information on budgeting for your entire trip to Moab, including travel and lodging, check out this article here.
- Hiking Safety: Bring water and hike in groups, stay away from ledges.
- Driving Safety: Follow posted speed limits, stick to roads rated for your vehicle, be prepared for switchbacks and tight turns.
- Flash Flood Safety: Arches National Park is prone to flash flooding, especially Court House Wash and any canyons. If you see rain clouds in the sky, think twice before entering any canyon. If it is raining, do not enter canyons. Flash floods can still occur even if it isn’t raining where you are.
- Backcountry Safety: if you deviate from the tour onto backcountry roads, you are responsible for your own safety and may have to self-rescue. Water sources are rare and unreliable.
- Pet Safety: Leashed pets are allowed only on public roadways and in established campgrounds. They are not permitted on other trails, backcountry routes, or in off-trail areas.
Here’s our packing list. What you take depends on what you plan to do on the tour.
- Hiking Clothes
- Water Bottle
- Bug Spray
- Sun glasses and/or hat
- Hand sanitizer
- Car charger *Very Important*
- Phone Mount
- First Aid Kit
Leave No Trace
When you visit a National Park, you’ll eventually come across the phrase “leave no trace.” It is important to leave an area exactly as you found it. We can enjoy Capitol Reef National Park because of efforts to preserve its natural beauty so let’s do our part. At Shaka Guide, we promote ethical and responsible tourism. Please, pick up your trash, respect plant and animal life, and keep yourself safe, too. Leave no trace of your visit behind so future generations can continue to enjoy our wonderful National Parks.
We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more detailed information to help you plan check out our Arches National Park Itinerary.