Are you looking for Arches National Park sunrise photograohy spots? You’re in the right place – I’ve got you covered in this blog post!
When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Arches National Park?
In my opinion, springtime (March to May) or autumn (Sept-Oct) are the best seasons for a trip to Arches National Park. This is a result of these seasons having the mildest temperatures in this desert climate, with daily average temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the park is open every day of the year, so you can go whenever best suits your needs!
However, the number of crowds should also be considered. Due to the perfect weather, spring and fall are also the busiest seasons for visitors to the park. The busiest periods in particular are usually during Easter break and Memorial Day weekend, so if you’re able to avoid those dates, you’ll appreciate it!
Even in the heat of the summer months, plenty of tourists still flock to explore the beautiful park. During the summer months, you’ll probably experience plenty of days with temperatures near or beyond 100 degrees F. Yet, if you don’t mind hiking during the heat of the day, the advantage of visiting during the summer months is that you’ll have more time to explore, with longer days and warm temperatures even that stretch well into the evening.
Summertime is the best time to visit Arches National Park if you enjoy stargazing or taking night and astrophotos. Some of the darkest night skies in the American southwest can be found in Arches National Park! The summertime temperature in Moab typically reaches the high 60s after sundown. Planning evening hikes around the park is a good way to take advantage of this!
Tips for Taking Sunrise Photos at Arches National Park
The following are some photography pointers that will help you land some beautiful shots of Arches National Park during early morning sunrise:
Try Many Different Viewpoints
There’s no need to only shoot one or two popular compositions at each spot!
By moving around to see different viewpoints of the arch formations, you can really get creative and capture many different composition options, putting your own creative spin on a popular location.
Use a Tripod
Get the most out of your image’s clarity and sharpness by utilizing a stable tripod! Also, when you have a tripod set up, you can easily set a timer and run into the frame to capture yourself in the image (great for showing scale, and also for recording memories!)
When shooting from a tripod, start with an ISO of 100, an aperture of F/11–F/13 (if you want the majority of the image in focus), and adjust your shutter speed to account for the shifting morning light.
While shooting handheld, you should set your shutter speed to be equal to the amount that is twice that of your lens’ focal length. For example, a lens with a focal length of 24mm should have a shutter speed of at least 1/50.
Expose your image for the regions in your composition that are well-lit by the sun, so that you don’t have any blown-out highlights. It’s easier to bring back data from the shadows than it is to recover detail from blown out areas on your image.
Arches National Park Sunrise Photography Locations
Turret Arch resembles a castle and is the smallest of the three arches that can be found along the Windows Loop Trail. The loop has a total ascent of 150 feet and is 1.2 miles long. The path is enjoyable for hikers of varying experience levels. At the busiest hours, there is a substantial amount of traffic, as this is known as the best place for sunrise in Arches. But, like most places in Arches, it shouldn’t be too busy early in the morning.
The area known as “The Windows” may be found approximately 12 miles from the park’s main entrance. After passing Balanced Rock, you will need to make the first right, which will bring you into the Windows section of the park. You’ll travel 2.7 miles down this road until you reach the end of it at a circle that is the beginning of the Windows Loop Trail.
You will need to park here in order to access the trails leading to Turret Arch, North Window, South Window, and Double Arch. Between the upper and lower lots, there is a total of around 90 parking places, including parking area that is accessible for wheelchair users. There are a few spaces available for big vehicles in the bottom lot, which is located near Double Arch. Restrooms are available at all times of the year. The trailhead does not provide any access to potable water for hikers.
Those who are interested in photography will find that by framing Turret Arch and then gazing back at it via the North Window, they can obtain excellent views of the structure.
When the sun rises, Turret Arch takes on a beautiful reddy-orange glow, making Turret Arch one of the best places in Arches National Park to photograph sunrise.
North Window & South Window
Once you’ve photographed the stunning Turret Arch at sunrise, head on over to check out the Windows section of Arches National Park, located on the same hiking loop as Turret. The North and South Windows are also referred to as “The Spectacles” due to the fact that they look like a pair of glasses from a distance!
For a great photo opp, hikers have the opportunity to stand under the expansive South Window as they get closer to the North and South Windows. There is also a primitive trail loop that hikers can take that goes around the back of the Windows Section and provides them with a unique perspective of the surrounding area.
You’ll love this area for morning photographs of the lovely red rocks in Arches National Park! It’s the best way to take in multiple views or aches all in one enjoyable hike.
Double O Arch
After you’ve finished taking pictures at Turret Arch and the North and South Windows, make your way to Double O Arch, which is located directly across the parking lot.
While taking pictures at this site, keep in mind that the best time of day to do so is early in the morning, when the sun is at its lowest point in the sky. This is great, as you can hit the other arches nearby for sunrise, then continue on to see Double Arch. In addition, this is also a great time to shoot photos because there won’t be many people climbing around on the rocks!
This is also an excellent spot to use a wide-angle lens in order to capture the stunning scenery that surrounds the arch. Also, make sure to wander around the location in order to capture a variety of perspectives and angles!
La Sal Viewpoint
From La Sal Viewpoint at sunrise, you’ll be able to take in views of the La Sal Mountains to the east and formations like Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, and The Organ in the Courthouse Towers area. When looking out towards the horizon, you’ll also have a distant vista of Balanced Rock and the Windows Section. This is one of the best places for sunrise in Arches National Park, as the formations take on a gorgeous orange-red glow. There are numerous ways to capture this vast location, so be creative in your composition.
This spot is quick and easy to get to, as there is a parking lot right at the viewpoint.
Keep in mind that beautiful soft light can also be captured during the blue hour before sunrise. I recommend to arrive here at least 30 minutes early to snap some images during this magical time of day as well!
After photographing at La Sal Overlook and the pullout areas along the gorgeous route near Courthouse Towers, I recommend that next you pay a visit to the unique Balanced Rock!
The park’s most well-known attraction is probably Balanced Rock. To get to it, a simple route with a round-trip distance of about 0.3 miles that winds its way completely around this landmark will get you there. Check out how the rock formation shifts in appearance as you move around and view it from all different vantage points – there are many composition possibilities here for photographers. The piece of the rock that is balanced on top is as large as three school buses!
You’ve no doubt seen this famous spot before – it’s a classic spot to shoot milky way for astrophotography enthusiasts! However, it’s also a lovely spot to take in a sunrise.
The journey along Delicate Arch Trail begins about 11 miles up the Arches Entry Road at the Wolfe Ranch turnoff. Upon a right turn, you’ll find a sign for Delicate Arch, and the trailhead begins at the ranch on the left side of the road. The climb is only 3 miles round-trip and is classified as “Difficult” or “Moderate” depending on whose hiking guide you consult, although we observed young children breeze through it. There are a few of short stretches when you walk along a ridge with exposure, but the ridge is pretty large and level.
The Delicate Arch hike is marked with cairns, which compensates for the absence of signage. After going up and over the first huge hill, it can be tough to find a trail, so keep a look out for cairns and just keep following them. The ground varies in elevation, and there are plenty of enormous rocks to view and play on!
Delicate Arch rises more than 480 feet above the parking lot and trailhead below, and you won’t see it until you’re approaching one of the last ledges – but you’ll know when you see it. It commands attention and stands apart from other arches, which is unusual in this park.
The famous Mesa Arch is actually located in Canyonlands National Park. Though this arch is located in a different park, it’s only a 30-minute scenic drive from Arches National Park, making it very convenient to jet on over to for sunrise, even if you’re staying in Arches.
The trip to Mesa Arch is a short hike. Mesa Arch’s trailhead is located in a big parking lot along Grand View Point Drive. The 0.6 mile round trip easy hike is well-signed and simple to navigate. Just don’t be like us and forget a piece of camera equipment, otherwise, you’ll have to sprint back to the car and then back to Mesa Arch to see the sunrise!
Mesa Arch is a must-visit during your trip to Arches National Park. There’s a famous photo of the sun rising beneath the bridge of Mesa Arch that almost every photographer will try to capture at some point. You’ll understand why when you see it! This classic photography spot is busy with photographers all trying to get this classic shot, but it is well worth your effort and you’re sure to experience a sunrise you’ll never forget.
Other Photo Spots in Arches National Park to check out:
Partition Arch, Landscape Arch, Devil’s Garden, Courthouse Towers, Tower Arch
Best Places to Stay Near Arches National Park
Because there are no hotels in Arches National Park, the majority of visitors stay in the town of Moab, which is located nearby.
Moab and the surrounding area provide a diverse selection of places to stay, ranging from motels with more reasonable rates to luxurious resorts with higher rates to match the higher-end amenties.
In addition, there are campgrounds, RV parks, and RV rentals, as well as holiday rentals and even a hostel!
There are some of the places to stay close to the park entrance of Arches National Park I recommend:
Hoodoo Moab, Curio Collection by Hilton
A terrace, a grocery store, and a poolside bar are available at the Hoodoo Moab, Curio Collection by Hilton, which is located adjacent to the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center and Moab Regional Hospital. At the on-site spa, Spa Moab, pamper yourself with a massage, a body treatment, or a facial. The on-site restaurant, Jose Wyatt’s, is delcious and a must-visit! Also, there is complimentary WiFi in each guest room, as well as a bar and dry cleaning/laundry facilities.
Guests will also enjoy a swimming pool with complimentary cabanas, sun loungers, and pool umbrellas.
All 117 rooms provide amenities including air conditioning, laptop-friendly workstations, and late-night room service in addition to free WiFi and other conveniences. The property’s tidy, roomy accommodations consistently receive positive feedback from visitors.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Moab
The rural terrain and mountainous surroundings of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Moab, an IHG Hotel, will leave you speechless! This hotel has an absolutely fantastic location, very close to the entrance of Arches National Park.
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Moab offers a free breakfast buffet, coin-operated laundry facilities, and a fitness center that is open around the clock. Visit one of the two hot tubs if you need some time to unwind and relax. In addition to a business center, guests have access to complimentary Internet in their rooms, which offers speeds of over 25 megabits per second.
Added benefits include:
An outdoor pool
Complimentary parking on your own vehicle Quick check-out, a safe at the front desk, and an elevator
A front desk open around the clock, a bicycle repair facility, and information about cycling tours
All 119 rooms come equipped with conveniences such as workstations that are suitable for use with laptops, air conditioning, and benefits such as free WiFi and desk chairs. The rooms at the facility have received positive comments from previous visitors about their cleanliness.
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Moab
The SpringHill Suites by Marriott Moab offers a complimentary breakfast buffet, free access to a water park, and a terrace adjacent to the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center and Moab Regional Hospital. Visit one of the 4 hot tubs for some rest and relaxation after your day exploring Arches! Also, there is free WiFi in each guest room, as well as a fire pit and laundry facilities.
Further benefits include:
Seasonal outdoor pool and a kids’ pool with sun loungers and pool umbrellas
Fast check-out, free self-parking, a computer station, and smoke-free surroundings
Two conference rooms, a safe at the front desk, and a water dispenser
There are amenities like free WiFi and separate sitting areas in each of the 99 rooms, along with comforts like plush bedding and air conditioning. Positive feedback from past visitors is found about the hotel’s tidy, roomy accommodations.
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Moab
The Fairfield Hotel & Suites by Marriott Moab offers guests a complimentary breakfast buffet, free use of an on-site water park, and a fireplace. It is close to the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center and Moab Regional Hospital. Visit one of the 4 hot tubs for some relaxation after a day of exploring. Also, there is free WiFi in each guest room, as well as a gym and laundry facilities. A children’s pool and a seasonal outdoor pool with sun loungers and pool umbrellas are additional benefits.
All 89 rooms come equipped with conveniences like air conditioning and thoughtful extras like free WiFi and safes. Positive customer reviews highlight the hotel’s immaculately kept rooms.
Take advantage of a complimentary breakfast buffet, a free roundtrip airport shuttle, and a terrace when you stay at Moab’s Aarchway Inn. Visit the hot tub to unwind and relax after your adventures! You can also advantage of free WiFi, a coffee shop/café, and a lovely garden.
Reviews from visitors praise the facilities for families, the overall value, and the easy parking.
All 97 rooms provide thoughtful extras like free WiFi and safes in addition to amenities like plush beds and air conditioning. The property’s tidy, comfortable rooms have received favorable ratings from visitors.
or… Find the Best VRBO Vacation Rentals near Arches:
Final Thoughts about Best Sunrise Photo Locations in Arches
I hope this guide to the best spots for sunrise photography in Arches National Park was helpful! There’s so much beauty to see in this park, and seeing the rock formations light up with the early morning sunrise light is an experience you’ll never forget. Have so much fun!
Other blog posts you might like about Arches National Park and Utah:
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