Most visitors to Cougar Ridge have their sights set on enjoying all that Capitol Reef National Park has to offer. Our resort is located just a little over five miles from the entrance to this Utah national park. But while this makes it the ideal basecamp for your Capitol Reef adventure, this isn’t the only national park you could visit during your stay. Located around two and a half hours from Cougar Ridge, Arches National Park is another great option. Figuring out how to visit Arches as a day trip is easier than you might think!
As the name suggests, Arches National Park is known for its stunning rock formation. It’s also home to some incredible hiking, plenty of overlooks, and some beautiful scenic drives.
Ready to learn how to visit Arches in a day trip from Cougar Ridge? Keep reading to learn more!
How to Visit Arches National Park on a Day Trip
With a little pre-planning, learning how to visit Arches on a day trip is a breeze. Let’s take a look at a few things you should know before hitting the road for your day trip.
Reserving a Ticket
One of the most important things that first-time visitors should know about how to visit Arches is that you may need to reserve a ticket ahead of time. Most of Utah’s national parks, including Zion and Capitol Reef, do not require a reservation to visit. However, from April 1 to October 31 each year, Arches does require a reservation.
You can purchase your Timed Entry Ticket online ahead of your visit. Using the online portal, you’ll be able to select a date and choose from the available time slots. Time slots run daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can enter Arches National Park before 7 a.m. and after 4 p.m. without a ticket each day. It costs $2 per ticket to reserve your timed entry slot. You will still need to pay to enter the park upon your arrival or present a valid National Park Pass.
Entering the Park
Whether you’ve reserved a Timed Entry Ticket or not, you will need to pay to enter Arches National Park.
The cost for a private vehicle with a 15-passenger capacity or less is $30. This pass will allow you to enter the park for seven consecutive days. The fee for motorcycles is $25 for a seven-day pass. If you enter the park without a car, such as on foot or on a bicycle, the fee is $15 per person.
If you plan to visit Arches National Park and/or Canyonlands multiple times in the next year, you can also purchase a Southeast Utah Park Pass. This pass is $55, and provides entry for one personal vehicle to both Arches and Canyonlands, as well as Natural Bridges National Monument, for one year.
The America the Beautiful Pass, a National Park Annual Pass, can also allow you to enter Arches National Park as many times as you’d like within a year.
Planning Your Day
Arches National Park covers more than 76,000 acres. While it would be impossible to see it all in a week, let alone a day, you can still cover a lot of ground and hit the highlights during a day trip.
When planning how to visit Arches National Park on a day trip, you’ll want to take some time to consider your priorities. Is there a particular trail that you want to hike? Or would you rather spend your time driving around and hitting the highlights?
Consider starting your day at the Arches National Park Visitor Center. This is a great spot to grab a map and maybe a souvenir and to talk to Park Rangers about any trail closures or conditions that you should know about. Next, take a drive through the park. The road deadends in the Devil’s Garden area, around 18-miles past the Visitor Center. This is where you’ll find some of Arches’ most famous views and landmarks.
After finding a parking spot, you can hike to Landscape Arch, one of the park’s most popular arches. It measures more than 300 feet long but is as narrow as seven feet in some places. The hike to this arch is around 1.6 miles roundtrip, making it great for a quick morning hike. Short off-shoots from this trail will also take you to two additional arches, Pine Arch and Tunnel Arch.
Some other short trails and overlooks that are perfect for a day trip include:
- Sand Dune Arch
- Broken Arch (Located on the same trail as Sand Dune Arch)
- Delicate Arch—the most famous arch in all of Utah!
- Double Arch
- Windows and Turret Arch
- Balanced Rock
Planning Your Visit to Cougar Ridge
Now that you know how to visit Arches National Park as a day trip during your stay, it’s time to start planning your next visit to Cougar Ridge!
Much like Zion, Utah’s most-visited national park, Arches often sees heavy crowds during the height of summer and around the holidays. If you want to enjoy the park with fewer crowds, consider planning a winter visit. This is also an awesome time to visit Cougar Ridge!
Capitol Reef also sees few crowds this time of year. Cooler temperatures make it easier to hike some of the region’s more challenging trails. Plus, you’ll enjoy a discount on your stay!
Right now, when you book a stay of two or more nights before March 31, you’ll enjoy a 40 percent discount on your entire booking! Book today to take advantage of this amazing deal!