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100 Million Years Ago Would Be Too Early for a Visit
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The Best Time to Visit Arches National Park

The most famous tourist attraction to visit in Moab, Utah is by far Arches National Park. This 100-million-year-old landmark has a beauty that transcends seasonality and time and planning a trip to this beautiful site is easy when you have the right resources to guide you. The best hiking temperatures at Arches National Park align with the best light in which to view the red rock—during the mornings and evenings. No matter how crowded it is or what the weather is like, standing in front of nature's open-air cathedral as the sandstone arch catches the majestic sun's rays is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

This is just one of many experiences you can have when you visit Moab, Utah. While there are many things to see and many stone formations, arches, and spires throughout the park that offer a unique experience, your visit could hinge on the weather. The best time to visit depends on your preferences and intentions while in Moab.

Located in southeast Utah, Moab is part of the Colorado Plateau, known as a "high desert" region with wide temperature variations. Arches National Park and Moab typically have good weather but are still no strangers to Mother Nature's surprises. Like most places, Moab is best visited when the weather is likely to be cooperative, and the temperature fluctuations aren't that extreme. There are four strong seasons in southeastern Utah that have distinct weather patterns. The climate is a dry, semi-arid desert climate, with Utah being one of the driest states in the country.

What are the seasons like in Moab?

Moab River Rafting Flowers

Spring in Moab

Spring brings warm, pleasant days and cool evenings. Spring flowers usually come early in the low country and linger into the summer in the higher mountains. March brings on the start of the spring season but offers cooler temperatures. Early spring conditions can see cold fronts and sizeable temperature swings during the day. It’s also not uncommon to encounter strong winds or a brief rainstorm in spring. Warmer spring temperatures arrive in April and usher in the busier crowds. Spring blooms, rain showers, and increasing sunshine are typical parts of late April and early May.

Moab Arches National Park Organ

Summer in Moab

By the end of May, warmer temperatures in Moab are a mainstay as the summer heat and longer days begin to build. Summer is the time for families, vacations, and consistent weather. June kicks off the summer season with abundant sunshine, warmer weather, and occasional rainfall. Scorching summer temperatures can frequently exceed 100 degrees during the day, but the mornings and evenings offer almost perfect adventuring. The summer heat in Moab is much drier, however, and 100 degrees in Utah feels a little better than areas like Florida with higher humidity. If you are visiting Moab in the summer, you'll need to wear appropriate attire, bring plenty of water, and always remember your sunscreen.

Moab Arches National Park Formation

Fall in Moab

Autumn brings deep, rich colors and not just to the foliage but also to the red rocks. The fall shoulder season arrives in September, but the beginning of the month can still bring hot temperatures. Though October can be wet, days are generally warm and pleasant with clear skies. As fall wears on, daytime temperatures can be as warm as 70 degrees or as cold as 40 degrees. By late November, temperatures go from warm to cold, and snowfall returns to the area.

Moab Arches National Park Galaxy

Winter in Moab

Winter in Arches is unpredictable, with mostly cold and snowy weather or chilly and dry conditions. Whether it's snowing or sunny in the winter, one thing you count is that the park will be peaceful, beautiful, and relatively vacated. The one consistent during the winter is cold temperatures. However, the area has "dry cold" which means that the air doesn't feel nearly as bitter as in places like coastal New England. February begins to showcase some warmer weather and brings a mix of spring and winter temperatures and conditions.

Winters can be cold, with lows averaging 0 to 20 degrees fahrenheit and highs around 40 degrees fahrenheit. You'll need to dress for cold temperatures and prepare for freezing conditions. However, if you are willing to brave the cold, you can experience fewer crowds at many popular destinations around Moab and the National Park.

Best Time of Day to Visit Arches National Park

The best time of day to visit Arches is in the morning or evening when the sunlight is low and accentuates the shadows and textures of the rock features. In these "golden" sunlight hours, the deep red and orange colors come alive. If you enter the park before 6:00 AM or after 5:00 PM, you can enter without the timed entry reservation ticket that's in place to help alleviate and disperse crowds during the day.

Ironically, the middle of the day is the most popular time to visit, but it provides the worst light. Arches will reward those who get up early for sunrise or stay there through the sunset hours. On a guided van tour, you can take advantage of these hours without much of the hassle.

Arches National Park in March

In March, you can expect Arches to be a little chilly and breezy with hints of spring color. Crowds will be far less present in March, making it a great time to get shots of vacant spaces. Additionally, in March, you have a good chance of seeing the white-capped snowy peaks of the LaSal mountains in the distance, contrasting with the desert colors in the foreground.

Arches National Park in April

April usually provides the best hiking weather in Arches and the Moab area. With the sun still not fully overhead, even at high noon, you can still see good shadows and contrast on the rock features for spectacular photos. The snow-capped LaSal peaks in the distance offer a beautiful contrast with the red rock. April often displays the best scenes of the desert in bloom, with cactus wildflowers dotting the landscape.

Arches National Park in May

Early May has all the advantages of April, with a little more warmth. As the month of May progresses toward June, both temperatures and crowds will increase, and cactus flowers will diminish. May is still a great month for hiking, even in the mid-day heat on most days. Be sure to bring water if you are doing any hiking.

June in Arches National Park
June may be the driest month to visit the park. That means clear blue skies and sunny weather. Mid-day heat in June, July, and August relegate good hiking to mornings and late afternoons. With the longest days of the year in June, the sunrise will come very early, and the sun's light may not fully fade to dark until after 9 PM. This extra time provides more opportunities for the perfect sunset photo.
July in Arches National Park

July brings more heat and crowds to the desert. However, July also brings the monsoon season. Brief thunderstorms usually only last a few minutes or so before moving on across the landscape. These clouds can make for dramatic lighting and interesting skies against the famed arches. The flat light of summer days doesn't provide the ideal time to visit the park. You'll want to plan your visits for the morning and evening hours.

August in Arches National Park

In early August, you will likely find the lingering remnants of monsoon season. Heat, crowds, and billowing clouds begin to fade in the park as August moves toward the fall season. This time of year, it's best to beat the heat of mid-day with a day rafting adventure and a visit to Arches in the evening sunset hours.

September and October in Arches National Park

Typically, these are the wettest months to visit Moab. Monsoon season ends as the summer temperatures begin to cool. These months provide some of the best times to visit the park. This "Indian Summer," as it is called, is especially enchanting in the southwest desert. The angle of sunlight offers shadows and contrasts for an experience like no other time of year in Moab. Cottonwood trees in Courthouse Wash are ablaze with the fall colors providing stunning views. Hiking is easy in these temperatures, however, the daylight hours are shorter.

November in Arches National Park

From November to February in the park, you will find snow on the red rock, icy trails, and frigid temperatures. You may be surprised to imagine snow piled up on these iconic desert features but Moab sits in the high desert just over 4,000 feet above sea level.

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Most Popular Arches National Park Tours

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Sun DividerFree Insiders Guide to Moab, UT

What to take, where to eat, where to stay, what to do, and a few little secrets on the side. Our Moab Insiders Guide will provide you with all the essentials for a perfect Moab experience.

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