The mild fall temperatures make it an ideal time to explore the iconic landscape of Arches National Park, taking in the majestic arches and breathtaking vistas under the soft autumn light.
However, each fall month has its own challenges in the park in terms of weather and crowds. More about that later.
In the fall at Arches National Park, the average high temperatures range from 88°F (31°C) in early September to around 46°F (8°C) by late November, showing a significant drop as winter approaches. There is minimal rainfall, typically ranging from 0.8 to 1.2 inches per month.
The pleasant weather attracts crowds, especially during September and October, so you should be prepared for popular trails and viewpoints to be busy.
Here’s your ultimate guide to weather, crowds, and dressing right during the early, mid, and late months of fall.
Fall Temperature Progression | Overview
The change in temperatures from September to November presents a unique packing challenge for Arches National Park. Here is an overview of the average high temperatures for each month in the park.
Average High Temps | Daytime
- Early September: 88°F (31°C)
- Mid-September: 85°F (29°C)
- Late September: 77°F (25°C)
- Early October: 77°F (25°C)
- Mid-October: 70°F (21°C)
- Late October: 61°F (16°C)
- Early November: 61°F (16°C)
- Mid-November: 56°F (13°C)
- Late November: 46°F (8°C)
Average Temps | Morning (8 A.M.)
- Early September: 67°F (19°C)
- Mid-September: 62°F (17°C)
- Late September: 57°F (14°C)
- Early October: 55°F (13°C)
- Mid-October: 48°F (9°C)
- Late October: 44°F (7°C)
- Early November: 42°F (6°C)
- Mid-November: 36°F (2°C)
- Late November: 31°F (-1°C)
Read our detailed packing tips for each month later.
September is the busiest fall month in Arches National Park and is usually as crowded as the summer months. However, it gets slightly less busy after Labor Day. The crowds start to dissipate in October, except during the Utah Education Association break weekend, and thin out even more in late fall during November.
Is Fall a Good Time?
Fall is a very good time to visit Arches National Park, with its early to mid-season offering pleasantly warm days perfect for hiking and sightseeing. As the season progresses into late fall, the temperature drops, but the crowds begin to thin, offering a more peaceful park experience.
September | Early Fall
September in Arches National Park still clings to the summer heat, with average maxima peaking at 88°F (31°C) during the day and dropping to an average of 55°F (13°C)at night.
- Early September: Average high temperatures are around 88°F (31°C), and morning temperatures are around 67°F (19°C). During the day, consider comfortable, breathable clothing like shorts and T-shirts. In the mornings, when it’s a bit cooler, a light long-sleeve shirt or thin jacket would suffice.
- Mid-September: Daytime highs slightly drop to around 85°F (29°C), with morning temperatures averaging 62°F (17°C). Daytime attire remains the same, but now, your mornings in the park could use a cozy sweater or hoodie.
- Late September: Highs drop to around 77°F (25°C), and morning temperatures average around 57°F (14°C). While the afternoon still calls for lighter clothes, your morning and evening wear should now include a warm jacket or a heavy sweater.
Rainfall in Arches National Park during September is usually minimal, averaging less than an inch.
Storms: Although summer thunderstorms are less frequent than in July and August, they occasionally occur – an average of 6 days are rainy days. Please be wary of lightning and flash flooding due to these storms, especially until mid-September.
Daylight hours have already started reducing, with around 12 hours of light. However, there is still plenty of time to explore the park.
September tips and facts:
- Camping Conditions: The overnight temperature in Arches in September can be great for camping.
- Crowds: September is a popular month among tourists – often more so than August – meaning routes can be crowded. Try to avoid Labor Day weekend and weekends in general in September.
- Festival: Moab Music Festival in early September can bring a spike in visitor numbers.
- Clothing: It’s a good idea to prepare for cool weather during the morning, which often turns hot later in the day.
October | Mid-Fall
October in Arches National Park offers suitable temperatures for outdoor activities. The maximum averages at around 74°F (23°C), whereas night-time minima fall to around 42°F (6°C). Although layers of warmth are not necessary for daytime activities, you will need to bring some layers with you if camping in the park and in the early morning.
Since October is a transitional month, temperatures drop sharply throughout the month, so this will depend on which part of October you decide to visit.
- Early October: Average highs are around 77°F (25°C), with morning temperatures at a cool 55°F (13°C). This is the time to replace your shorts with lightweight pants during the day, along with a comfortable long-sleeve shirt. A jacket is still essential for the cooler mornings.
- Mid-October: Daytime highs average around 70°F (21°C), with morning temperatures dropping to around 48°F (9°C). Medium-weight clothing during the day, such as jeans and long-sleeve shirts, will serve you well. In the mornings, you’ll be glad for a fleece jacket or a thicker sweater.
- Late October: Daytime highs drop further to around 61°F (16°C), while mornings may start off at around 44°F (7°C). Layering is key during this period. Thermal innerwear under your regular clothes during the day and a thicker jacket for the mornings would be appropriate.
October sees a slight decrease in precipitation, with an average of about 1 inch of rain. This month is typically dry, but visitors should be ready for the occasional light rainfall.
Also, although bringing waterproof gear is usually not necessary, it is recommended that you check the weather forecast before setting out to the national park. Daylight hours reduce fairly quickly throughout this month, averaging at around 11 hours.
October tips and facts:
- Wildlife: The cooling temperatures bring out more wildlife during the day, including chipmunks and jackrabbits.
- Crowds: October is the first month after peak season, which sees lower crowds. However, we still recommend avoiding weekends and being at the entrance no later than 8 or 9 a.m.
- Photo Opps: The trees within the park begin to turn red and gold, making great photo opportunities.
- Earlier Sunsets: Sunsets begin to come a little earlier than previous months, between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Great for Hiking: Hiking conditions are almost perfect, with comfortable temperatures.
- Ranger Activities / Visitor Center: October is the final month where ranger activities run and where the visitor center is open all day.
November | Late Fall
November often sees the first flakes of snow in Arches National Park. Temperatures peak at an average of 55°F (13°C) during the day, with night-time minima on average dropping to 30°F (-1°C).
Higher parts of the national park can even see temperatures dropping as low as -12°C/10°F on some nights. Therefore, warmer layers are required for both outdoor activities and overnight camping.
- Early November: Average high temperatures are around 61°F (16°C), with morning temperatures around 42°F (6°C). Dress in warmer clothes, like thick pants and thermal shirts during the day. For the chilly mornings, ensure you have a warm jacket.
- Mid-November: Highs are typically around 56°F (13°C), with morning temperatures dipping to about 36°F (2°C). You’ll need heavier clothing throughout the day, like sweaters and insulated pants. A warm coat is essential for the colder mornings.
- Late November: Highs might only be around 46°F (8°C), with morning temperatures dropping to near freezing at 31°F (-1°C). Bundle up in your warmest gear throughout the day and consider a heavy-duty coat for the mornings.
November is a drier month, although an average of 6 days sees rainfall. The total rainfall amount is half that of the October total. An average of 15 millimeters (0.6 inches) of snow falls over the entire month, so watch out for slippery and icy roads and trails.
There can be occasional light snowfall by the end of the month.
The crowds of visitors dwindle by the first week of November, so this is a rather peaceful time to visit the park, although bear in mind that daylight hours are now relatively low, lasting for around 10 hours on average. However, it’s a great time to take photos during the golden hour.
November tips and facts:
- No Ranger Activities: Ranger activities cease, and the visitor center in the park switches to reduced hours.
- Quieter: The crowds finally dip, and there are great opportunities to see and photograph the popular arches without many other people.
- Photo Opps: Snow on the La Sal Mountains makes for a great photo backdrop to Delicate Arch.
- Campsite: The Devils Garden Campground transitions to a first-come, first-served basis.
- Sunset at 5: The changing clocks later in November bring sunset times to just past 5 p.m.
Fall Packing List / What to Wear
When planning a trip to Arches National Park in the fall, there are a few essential items to pack to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience:
The fluctuating temperatures in the park, especially in the morning and late evening, require you to dress in layers. In early September, the average high temperatures are around 88°F (31°C), so a T-shirt and shorts are usually fine for daytime.
However, with mornings and evenings being cooler, you should have a lightweight, moisture-wicking base layer, and a thermal mid-layer for extra warmth. Always bring a waterproof outer layer, and as November approaches, consider packing a warmer jacket or fleece for those colder days.
The terrain at Arches National Park varies, so you’ll need sturdy, comfortable footwear with good grip. Boots with ankle support are beneficial for longer hikes.
Hat and Sunglasses
Regardless of the month, protection from the intense sun is crucial. A hat and sunglasses are a must, not only for comfort but for safety as well.
The desert sun can be harsh, especially in the earlier fall months. Protect your skin by packing and regularly applying a high-SPF sunscreen.
Remember, your packing list may vary depending on the specific activities you plan to do and the weather forecast closer to your trip. Always check the forecast and plan accordingly. Happy exploring!
Timed Entry Tickets
Arches National Park introduces a Timed Entry System between April 1st and October 31st from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M. each year. The system helps manage traffic, reduce congestion, and enhance the visitor experience. This section will guide you through everything you need to know about securing and using timed entry tickets.
What Is the Timed Entry System?
The Timed Entry System requires visitors to reserve a specific date and time slot to enter the park. These reservations can be made in advance, online, through Recreation.gov. The goal is to pace visitation evenly throughout the day, lessening congestion and improving the visitor experience.
GOOD TO KNOW: It’s crucial to plan your visit well in advance and secure your desired time slot. Availability may vary depending on the season and demand, so make your reservations as early as possible.
How Does It Work?
Here’s how to navigate the process:
- Secure your timed entry tickets. These can be reserved online or over the phone from Recreation.gov. The park releases tickets three months in advance in monthly blocks.
- Purchase your park pass or pay the entrance fee when you arrive.
PRO TIP: A limited number of tickets for the next day’s entry are released at 6 PM Mountain Time daily. You can only get these over the phone or on Recreation.gov; tickets will not be available at the entrance station.
What To Do After Getting Your Ticket?
Once you have your ticket, print it, download it, or take a screenshot of it. Cell phone service is limited inside the park, so ensure you have a copy accessible offline.
Upon arrival at the park, check in at the entrance station during your designated time slot. Be prepared to show your reservation confirmation, either in printed form or on a mobile device, along with any applicable park passes, and photo ID.
Planning Your Visit
PRO TIP: Take into account the time slot you have reserved when planning your activities within the park. Consider the duration of hikes, sunset viewing opportunities, and any other experiences you wish to enjoy during your visit.
The Timed Entry System provides a two-hour window for entry, allowing for flexibility in case of unexpected delays. By managing visitor numbers and reducing congestion on popular trails, viewpoints, and parking areas, it helps preserve the park’s natural resources and improves the overall visitor experience.
💡 If you couldn’t secure a ticket, you can still enter the park before 7 A.M. and after 4 P.M. daily without a ticket.
Enjoy your visit to Arches National Park with a ticket during busy hours or without one after 4 PM.
10 Must-Know Tips
- Be there early: The first hike we did was Delicate Arch (the full hike, not the viewpoint). Try to be there around 7:30 a.m. if possible. The parking lots get full around 10:00. It can get really busy around that time, from spring to fall.
- Stay one night: Staying one night is the best advice locals and experts give. That way, you can easily start early (see above) and enjoy gorgeous Milky Way stargazing as well. Stay nearby in Moab: Hotels Deals in Moab via booking.com (Tip: save the link!)
- Bring enough water: Many visitors ignore the advice to bring enough water in the hot months. Please don’t be one of them. It’s crucial that you bring plenty of water and drink enough fluids, even for shorter hikes.
- Bathrooms: Try to use the restrooms at the visitor center or at Sand Dune Arch. These are less busy and also cleaner than the other bathrooms.
- Six arches quick: If you only have half a day or so, hike the Double O Arch Trail! On this short hike, you can view 6 arches within a quite short (6 miles) round trip.
- Take your time: There is a lot to see in the park, but try not to rush; that way, you will be able to stop and enjoy the scenery at your leisure.
- Explore and discover: There is far more to the park than just the arches, with interesting plants and wildlife to see, as well as ancient dinosaur tracks, fossils, and petroglyphs. The park’s information boards are a great way to find out more about these features.
- Get the perfect photo: The best light is in the early morning and late evening when the red sandstone glows bright against the sky. Most arches will be quieter at sunrise, making photography easier. The backdrop of the La Sal Mountains is in the sun in the afternoon.
- Remember to bring food: There are no eating facilities within Arches, so you may be as much as an hour from a source of food. Consider bringing water-rich foods such as fruit, which will help you stay hydrated as well as fed.
- Talk to the rangers: The visitor center is open 364 days a year. Talk to the rangers about what you wish to see on your visit, and they will be happy to provide you with the best local knowledge about the park.