Let’s talk about some quick tips for Arches National Park photography! Even if you are traveling through Moab fast en route to another location, you can make the most of going in and out of the park with a camera in just a few short hours.
The park entrance is only about 10 minutes from the middle of Moab. When arriving, you might notice a line to enter. Don’t worry. This is usually a rather quick line. If I am not driving, I would be taking advantage of the stop and go line, to set my camera up asap. Think about your settings, make sure your batteries and memory cards are good to go, have filters handy if you use them, and things of that nature. And you might want to have a hoodie handy, or even some sunscreen, depending on the time of day and year.
As of 2018, the entrance fee is now $30 for passenger vehicles. Even having that ready once you get to the front of the line saves time for everyone, including yourself. Once you are inside the park, the visitor center is immediately on your right. Of course, I would recommend you go here. However, if not here between 8 am – 5 pm, this won’t be open. And those hours can vary depending on the season.
If you are pressed for time and not staying multiple days, I recommend starting by hitting Balanced Rock. It’s 10 miles from the entrance, and there will be no significant turns beforehand. Balanced Rock looks spectacular 24 hours a day! Sunsets, sunrises, night shoots, it can all be done here. There will be many wide angle options here and throughout the park. The hike to the rock is straightforward and short, and makes for an excellent spot to get your feet wet in the park!
A macro lens for your Arches National Park photography will be an excellent choice! Especially during the springtime when you can catch dozens of flower species blooming.
A polarizer can be handy for bright days, and a neutral density filter can be fun to slow the shutter speeds down for the clouds during sunrise and sunset.
From Balanced Rock, if you are looking for some more shots in a noncrowded spot, try Garden of Eden! It’s very close and presents many options for any lens, day or night. It’s on the way to Double Arch and North/South Window. If you head to Delicate Arch (very popular spot!) be prepared for a little bit of a challenging hike with some elevation and expect a 3-mile hike round trip. If you can hack it, it’s worth it!
The Devils Garden has many trails, lots of strenuous hikes, and many arches! Please research this area a bit if you intend on exploring here, using the NPS link below.
As for the Fiery Furnace area which is before Devils Garden, it’s usually recommend you join a ranger led tour of the area if it’s your first time. Read on on the area here.
You can make do with any lenses here, which is one of the great things about the area! Familiarize yourself with the map before arrive and download it on the National Park Service website. Visit my nighttime gallery to see some Arches shots at night and many more in the Southwest! Enjoy your Arches National Park picture taking!