Arches National Park is one of Utah’s most visited destinations due to the plethora of wind-chiseled arches. Many of the parks iconic arches can be seen right from the road and some have accessible pathways to viewpoints or short trails, though most are unpaved. Trails tend to have multiple surfaces ranging from packed to lose dirt with crushed or larger rocks. Electric wheelchairs or manuals with adapted equipment will have an easier time navigating the terrain of the trails at Arches National Park.
Some of the bigger rock formation sites have accessible vaulted (pit) toilets besides one, which is detailed below. The Visitor’s Center has a handicapped stall and a separate accessible family/handicapped restroom; both with automatic doors. You can get information at the Visitor’s Center or browse through the gift shop. Outside the visitor’s center you will find four handicapped parking spots, one of which is van accessible.
If you wanted to really take your time you could spread a trip to Arches National Park into two days. Or spend one full day driving around and getting out at some spots, but you have to move real fast to cover the whole park. The best times of the year to visit the park are spring and fall, read full weather details here. When planning a visit to Arches National Park remember to wear sunscreen and hold onto your hat because it tends to be windy in certain spots. Above all, have water.
Accessible Attractions at Arches
Below is some information about some of the major accessible and semi-accessible attractions at Arches National Park. There are a number of viewpoints that are generally accessible but have no modifications or parking at times, including La Sal Mountains Viewpoint, Courthouse Towers Viewpoint, Petrified Viewpoint, Panorama Point, Salt Valley Overlook. The Fiery Furnace Viewpoint has one handicapped parking spot and a vaulted (pit) toilet.
- Sand Dune Arch & Broken Arch (view map) share the same trailhead with two handicapped spots in front and begins as a paved trail. Sand Dune Arch is not accessible by wheelchair as this part of the trail narrows into a cavern of thick sand. Broken Arch can be seen from the road or along the paved pathway. Eventually the pathway turns to dirt with some areas thicker and narrower than others and continues across a meadow towards the Devils Garden Campground. Some may not be able to navigate this portion of the trail—it’s not technically ADA compliant but will be okay for some.
- Devils Garden Trail is not accessible for everyone. Erosion plays a big factor and creates natural barriers. The trail consists of different surfaces and is relatively flat in many areas but there are rocky, sandy and inclined sections. Inclines are dusty and rocky, making traction difficult. Right before the trail splits you’ll see Tunnel Arch. If you continue to the right you’ll reach Pine Tree Arch, but if you go left the trail leads to Landscape Arch (view map). Only some wheelchair travelers will be able to reach this point and even fewer will be able to go on from here due to the gnarly terrain to the Partition Arch, Navajo Arch, Double O Arch and Private Arch, especially if wet. At the trailhead you will find four vaulted (pit) toilets. The picnic area in Devils Garden also has restroom. There is one paved path to a table but the table itself has not been modified for wheelchair access. Furthermore, the Devils Garden Campground’s campsite #4H is accessible.
- Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint (view map) is accessible for most with four handicapped parking spots and two vaulted (pit) toilets. The pathway is relatively wide and flat for about 100 yards (91 meters).
- Wolfe Ranch is right off the road on the way to Delicate Arch and is the original structure of frontiersman and his son who settled here in the late 1800s.
- Balanced Rock (view map) is nearly in the middle of the park and has a paved pathway to a lookout point. Expect a gradual incline which becomes more challenging if windy. A picnic area is across the street from Balanced Rock and one handicapped parking spot is available.
- The Windows Trail (view map) is accessible for about the first 100 feet (91 meters) then the trail splits into two stair cases. One set is wide enough for manual wheelchairs, and although not ADA, with skills or assistance a wheelchair can climb the left set for a closer look at the arch. A few arches at this site can be viewed from the parking lot—no more than the trail.
- Park Avenue (view map) is one of the closest stops from the Visitor’s Center and has two handicapped parking spaces. From the parking lot there is a short incline to the viewing area. The pathway is paved but moderately steep, especially the last fifteen feet. The viewing deck is level and one of the most picturesque places in the park—the Courthouse Towers.
- The Courthouse Wash Rock Art Panel (view map) is located on Highway 191 on the outer rim of the park, closest to the Visitor’s Center. It is south of the bridge that crosses the Courthouse Wash and north of the bridges that cross the Colorado River. About a mile from the site, just before the Courthouse Wash, there is a pull-out parking area. Follow the Moab Canyon Pathway for about a mile to the high cliff along the east side of the highway. The pathway doesn’t travel right up to the petroglyphs so you’ll need to use your zoom camera or binoculars to see.