Leave No Trace

A large wall of orange colored rock with a lone rock arch on top. In the background is a yellow, orange, pink and blue colored sunset with clouds.
Delicate Arch and the surrounding landscape at sunset.

©️ Paul Stolen

Arches National Park is a destination for over 1.5 million people a year. Numbers like that can have a huge impact on the landscape. No matter your experience in the outdoors, we all play a role in protecting and preserving public lands. The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace are helpful guidelines to minimize your impact here at Arches or anywhere you visit.

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

A male ranger in uniform behind a desk talking to children.
Talk with a ranger to help with a visit and get current conditions.

NPS/Andrew Kuhn

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Research the park and current conditions prior to your visit.
  • Plan your trip activities to match the goals, skills, and abilities of you and those in your group.
  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the areas you’ll be visiting.
  • Bring enough water, a map, food, and appropriate gear so you don’t need rescuing. Dozens of hikers at Delicate Arch and Devils Garden get in trouble every year from a lack of preparation.
A blue tent, orange tent, and white tent sit in sand between green trees at a campsite with a fire rings, picnic tables, and camp chairs. In the background is an orange colored natural stone arch, with blue sky and white clouds behind.
Camp and travel in designated areas.

NPS/Paul Stolen

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Concentrating your activity on non-vegetated durable surfaces (e.g. a trail, rock, a drainage path, or pavement) spares vegetation, sand dunes, and soil crust from damage. These features contribute to the overall health of the ecosystem.
  • Don’t walk through desert puddles, or potholes, whether they are wet or dry. They are home to sensitive living organisms.
  • Whether in a campground or in the backcountry, make sure to set up camp in designated locations.
An old brown banana, the dried up peel of an orange, a hardened orange, and black sunflower seeds sit on red pavement.
Organic litter does not decompose quickly in the dry desert.


3. Dispose of Waste Properly

  • “Pack it in, pack it out.” Don’t leave behind any trash or food scraps. In arid climates like Arches, organic litter like orange peels or nut shells does not decompose quickly.
  • “Go before you go.” Before starting a hike, use the bathroom and carry a human waste disposal bag for emergencies.
A stack of tan rocks against a background of red rocks, green plants, and blue sky.
Cairns are important for marking hiking routes in the park.

NPS/Neal Herbert

4. Leave What You Find

  • Chalking, carving, scratching, or painting on the rocks is considered graffiti and is illegal. It degrades the environment and the experience for all.
  • Cairns (stacks of rocks) mark routes in the park. Don’t change existing ones or build your own, which can confuse and mislead other hikers.
  • Do not disturb or remove any archaelogical and/or historical sites and artifacts.
A male firefighter wearing a helmet, yellow shirt, and green pants watches a controlled fire burn.
Controlled burns can show what a real wildfire could look like.


5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Never leave a fire unattended, and thoroughly extinguish all fires.
  • Fires are only allowed in designated pits at Devils Garden Campground and in picnic areas. Be sure to check regulations for what is allowed.
  • Collecting firewood or kindling is not allowed in the park.
A brown colored deer walks across a road
Give wildlife space, and observe quietly from a safe distance.

NPS/Andrew Kuhn

6. Respect Wildlife

  • Do not feed wild animals. Secure your food and trash so clever ravens can’t get into it.
  • Keep pets under control and on a leash so they don’t harm or stress wildlife. Pets are not allowed at overlooks, on trails, or in the backcountry, even in carriers.
  • Observe wildlife quietly from a safe distance so as to not disturb them.
  • Be aware of animals crossing the road.
A crowd of people sit in a rock basin near a free standing natural rock arch.
Crowds can be a common sight in Arches. Pack your patience and respect everyone's visit.

NPS/Veronica Verdin

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Avoid disrupting natural quiet with loud music or shouting. Remember, you share public lands with other visitors. Respect and protect the quality of everyone’s outdoor experience.
  • Drones are not allowed in the park. They can negatively impact animals and the experience for other people.
  • Share the trail by walking single file and allow others to pass by stepping to the side of the trail on durable surfaces.
On the left is a yellowish green colored square with a while spiral in the middle. To the right in gray writing reads "Leave No Trace". Below yellowish green colored text reads "Center for Outdoor Ethics".

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

No matter where your travels take you, Leave No Trace is important everywhere. Whether you are visiting for a few hours or a few days, there are many ways that we can minimize our impact on the environment and respect the experiences of other visitors. We all play a vital role in protecting national parks and natural spaces.

Last updated: July 29, 2021

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