• Double O Arch

    Arches

    National Park Utah

Backpacking

Backpackers prepare a meal as the sun sets.
Backpackers prepare a meal as the sun sets.
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert
 

Arches is a relatively small park with little terrain for backpacking. In order to backpack, you must obtain a free backcountry permit at the visitor center. The maximum group size is ten, but smaller groups are recommended to reduce impacts. Permits may not be reserved in advance. Backcountry campsites must be:

  • at least one mile (1.6 km) from (and out of sight of) designated roads,
  • at least one-half mile (0.8 km) from (and out of sight of) designated trails,
  • out of sight of any arch named on a USGS topographical map, and
  • established before sundown.

Backpackers should know how to navigate with a topographic map, recognize safety hazards and practice low-impact camping specific to the high desert. Outside the developed areas there are no designated trails, campsites or reliable water sources. Primary safety considerations include steep terrain, loose rock, lightning, flash floods and dehydration.

For more information and a map of permitted areas, please download:

Backpacking Brochure
[645k PDF file]

Did You Know?

Collared Lizard

Lizards, including the colorful collared lizard, are one of the most frequently seen animals at Arches. When not chasing flies or basking in the sun, they are often seen doing what appears to be push-ups. This odd dance might enhance their stereoscopic vision, helping them see what's looking back at them.