The rock at Arches offers excellent climbing opportunities, despite its sandy nature. Most climbing routes in the park require advanced techniques.
Arches National Park developed a Climbing and Canyoneering Management Plan (CCMP) in December 2013 in order to protect the natural environment and the park's resources and visitor experience. Primary actions of the CCMP are the implementation of group size limits, climber registration, improved climber education program, safety standards, and climbing access routes. We ask all climbers to act responsibly and observe park regulations.
- Rock climbing groups are limited to five persons per group.
- Rock climbing must be free climbing or clean aid climbing. The installation of pitons is prohibited.
- The physical altering of rock from its natural position such as chiseling, breaking rocks to reinforce crevices and pockets as anchors, glue reinforcement of existing holds, and gluing new holds is prohibited. The intentional removal or "gardening" of lichen or plants from rock is prohibited.
- The use of white chalk is prohibited. Chalk or chalk substitutes used in the park are required to be similar in color to the rock that is being climbed.
- Use of motorized drills within wilderness boundaries is prohibited. Use of motorized drills outside of wilderness boundaries requires a special use permit.
- If an existing item or fixed anchor is judged unsafe, it may be replaced, in kind, without a permit. Bolts, hangers and chains must be painted the color of the rock surface or primered brown (see photo). Software left in place is required to match the rock surface in color.
- Leaving fixed ropes in place for more than 24 hours is prohibited, unless the park has been notified.
- Slacklining (or "highlining") and BASE jumping are prohibited.
- Bivvying overnight requires a backcountry permit, and must abide by the same rules and regulations set forth for backcountry camping. Bivvying overnight will be at least one mile from any designated road and one-half mile from any designated trail.
- Guided rock climbing services are prohibited.
New Route Establishment
Establishment of new climbing routes is allowed. However, climbers must obtain a special use permit before establishing any new routes requiring the installation of new fixed gear. Travel to and from new routes must be on rock, within drainages or sandy washes, or on designated trails.
To apply for a new route, email us to request a new fixed gear application.
All persons planning to climb in Arches National Park are encouraged to register by obtaining a free permit. There are no daily limits on routes, so climbers can get their permits on the day of the climb. Registration is free, it increases climbers' safety, and helps the park maintain desired conditions in the backcountry zone. It is in your best interest to register.
Climbers have two options to obtain permits:
- obtain a permit via the on-line reservation system, or
- self-register at the kiosk outside the visitor center.