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When is the best time to visit Arches National Park

John Smith , Jul 09, 2004; 12:46 p.m.

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!

Responses


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Quang-Tuan Luong , Jul 09, 2004; 02:16 p.m.

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.

David Henderson , Jul 09, 2004; 03:11 p.m.

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.

David Henderson , Jul 09, 2004; 03:17 p.m.

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!

Brad Hiltbrand , Jul 09, 2004; 03:23 p.m.

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.

John Smith , Jul 09, 2004; 04:28 p.m.

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!

Dave Nance , Jul 09, 2004; 04:30 p.m.

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.

Christian Deichert , Jul 12, 2004; 08:37 a.m.

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.

David Daniel , Jul 12, 2004; 12:34 p.m.

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.

Chris Birmele , Jul 16, 2004; 12:56 a.m.

I was there last January - no crowds (almost deserted in fact) and pleasant temperatures.


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