Arches and Canyonlands National Parks In One Day (2024)

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Want to see Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in one day? We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know!

Because of their close proximity to each other, it makes sense to visit Arches and Canyonlands in one day.

If you have more time, I definitely recommend splitting up your visit between the parks so you can do even more in each one.

But if you just have one day, you can still see the highlights of both parks.

Arches National Park

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Arches And Canyonlands In One Day

You’ll start your day early at Canyonlands National Park, then make your way to Arches National Park, and finally end your night enjoying the sunset views at Dead Horse Point State Park.

The map below shows all the stopping points on this itinerary.

You can see that the total amount of time spent driving throughout the day will be about 4 hours.

The rest of the day will consist of hiking, taking in views from overlooks, maybe having a picnic lunch, and then getting ready to watch the sunset.

full map of Arches and Canyonlands one day itinerary
Image Courtesy of Google Maps

Canyonlands National Park

The main attractions you’ll want to see in Canyonlands National Park are the Mesa Arch and the various overlooks.

Mesa Arch is about 8 miles from the Canyonlands National Park entrance.

This is a short and easy hike that is only 0.7 miles roundtrip and takes you to a beautiful arch.

Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park

Next, drive to the Green River Overlook and the Colorado River Overlook.

These are two great places to get a view of the Green and Colorado Rivers.

The Green River Overlook is only about 2 miles away.

Green River Overlook at Canyonlands National Park

The Colorado River Overlook is about 20 miles away, just outside of Canyonlands and takes a little over half an hour to get to depending on traffic.

Arches National Park Itinerary on a map
Image Courtesy of Google Maps

Arches National Park

Before making your way over to Arches National Park, you might want to stop for lunch in Moab.

Or if you bring your own picnic lunch, you can stop and eat anywhere when you get hungry.

The main attractions you want to be sure to see in Arches National Park are Delicate Arch Overlook, The Windows, Balanced Rock, and Double Arch.

Start by heading to Delicate Arch Viewpoint

It’ll be about 15 miles from the entrance station and take about 30 minutes to get to.

This is one of the most popular sites in the whole park.

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Next, drive to The Windows

This area is home to three arches: North Window, South Window, and Turret Arch.

It’s about a 7 mile drive from Delicate Arch Viewpoint to The Windows.

Double Arch is in the same area as The Windows, so you’ll want to do that all at once.

The Windows at Arches National Park

Next, drive along the Scenic Drive and stop at the various viewpoints to see some of the other arches in the park, such as Balanced Rock and Landscape Arch.

Balanced Rock is about 3 miles up the road along the Scenic Drive. 

When you get to the Balanced Rock Trailhead, this is a short and easy hike that takes you to a balancing rock formation.

Balanced Rock at Arches National Park

Next, you’ll hike the Landscape Arch Trail.

Landscape Arch is about 9 miles away on the far end of the Scenic Drive.

This is a moderate hike about 1.8 miles roundtrip that takes you to the base of Landscape Arch, the longest arch in the park.

Arches National Park on a map
Image Courtesy of Google Maps

Dead Horse Point State Park

The last thing you’ll do on this one day itinerary is take in the sunset views from Dead Horse Point State Park.

From your last stop in Arches National Park, which is Landscape Arch, it’s about an hour’s drive.

drive from Arches National Park to Dead Horse Point State Park

You’ll want to plan to be there at least 30 minutes, if not an hour before sunset so you can enjoy watching the full sunset.

This will also ensure that you get a good spot and stay ahead of traffic.

sunset at Dead Horse Point State Park

Additional Tips For Visiting Arches And Canyonlands National Parks

The park is open year-round, but the best time to visit is during the spring or fall when the weather is mild.

Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as the desert sun can be very strong.

The park is home to a variety of wildlife, so be sure to keep an eye out for deer, coyotes, and snakes.

There are a variety of hiking trails in the park, ranging from easy to strenuous. 

Be sure to choose a trail that is appropriate for your fitness level.

If you are planning to camp in the park, be sure to make reservations in advance.

If you need help planning your trip to Arches and Canyonlands, check out our Tips For Planning A Trip To Anywhere (A Step-By-Step Guide) and our Tips For How To Plan A National Park Road Trip.

Read our Best Tips For Staying Safe When Traveling During Extreme Weather if you’re traveling during the extreme heat in Summer or the snow in Winter.

Also check out our Best Tips For Staying Well While You Travel if you’re prone to getting colds or have allergies when you travel or have other ailments.

Lastly, if you’re traveling on a budget, read up on our Best Tips For Traveling On A Budget: Your Guide To Planning An Affordable Trip.


Frequently Asked Questions

Planning a trip to a National Park can be hard, especially if you’re visiting two of them.

These are the most frequently asked questions we see about visiting Arches and Canyonlands.

☑️ Can You Do Arches And Canyonlands In The Same Day?

Absolutely!

You won’t be able to see and do everything in just one day, but you can still see and do plenty.

If you’re not doing any hiking trails that are longer than 3 miles or so, you’ll have lots of time to visit different areas of both parks.

☑️ Do You Need More Time In Canyonlands Or Arches?

It depends on what you want to do in each park.

If you want to see the most easily accessible sites in either park, then you don’t need nearly as much time as if you wanted to hike some of the longer trails or explore the more remote areas.

With the above itinerary, you could roughly spend an equal amount of time in each park.

☑️ How Far Apart Are Arches And Canyonlands?

The distance between the two parks is approximately 27 miles, which is about a 30-minute drive.

☑️ Is 2 Days Enough For Arches National Park?

This depends on what you want to see and do when you visit Arches.

Many visitors will visit Arches and Canyonlands both in the same day.

Many visitors will spend one day in each park.

So 2 days in just Arches National Park should be plenty, even if you’re planning to go on longer hikes.


More Great National Parks To Visit In Utah

Utah has 5 National Parks that are commonly visited as part of one big road trip.

We’ve visited some of these parks multiple times as part of different trips, and these are the itineraries we recommend.

✅ Zion National Park One Day Summer Itinerary

Visiting Zion in the Summer is a vastly different experience than visiting in the Winter.

The park is crowded, you have to take a shuttle pretty much anywhere you want to go, and the availability of hiking trails is completely different.

The Narrows at Zion National Park

✅ Zion National Park One Day Winter Itinerary

Visiting Zion in the Winter is a vastly different experience than visiting in the Summer.

The park is nearly empty, you can drive anywhere you’d like, and the cozy cabins are the perfect Winter getaway.

Zion National Park in Winter

✅ Hiking The Narrows at Zion National Park

This is one of our favorite national park hikes of all time.

We’ve even gone back twice to do it again, with a different experience each time.

The Narrows at Zion National Park

✅ Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks One Day Itinerary

This itinerary was done the day after the itinerary above.

On this road trip we hiked Bryce Canyon for the morning, then made our way to Capitol Reef National Park for even more trails and camping.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Conclusion: Arches And Canyonlands In One Day

This Arches and Canyonlands National Parks one day itinerary takes you through all the highlights of both parks and the surrounding Moab area in a short amount of time.

For most visitors this will be plenty of time to see and do what you want in both parks.

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Arches and Canyonlands National Parks Weekend Getaway Itinerary