The Park Avenue Trail is a two mile, out and back trail located just 2.5 miles from the visitors center in Arches National Park. There actually are no arches on this hike. With that being said, I actually enjoyed this hike more than I was expecting.
Is it the best hike in Arches? No. But it was way less crowded than the others I did during the few days I was there. The trail is much more primitive and is marked with cairns. You will be hiking on sand and rocks instead of a paved sidewalk like you do at the Windows hike.
It has a little bit more of a remote feeling to it than hikes like the windows does. You won’t have to fight with nearly as many tourists here.
- Park Avenue Trail Hike Details:
- The Park Avenue Trail – What to Expect & Is it Worth it?
- Things to know about Arches Nat Park before going
Park Avenue Trail Hike Details:
- Trailheads: Park Avenue Viewpoint or the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint and trailhead
- Length: 1.8 miles (3.2 km) out and back or one way (more details below)
- Elevation gain: 322 ft (98 m)
- Difficulty: Easy
- Family friendly: Yes
What makes this hike special?
The remoteness of this hikes makes this one feel special, it’s quieter. It’s less crowded. You feel more in nature, and away from paved paths and crowds. The freedom felt pretty good on this trail. You can wander wherever there doesn’t feel like there’s as much of an obligation to stay on the sidewalk. Which I liked, which I appreciated.
It’s also a great hike to pack a lunch and eat on his. There’s so many beautiful scenic spots where you can sit on smooth rocks or sand, and take in the nature while eating lunch.
There are numerous rocks, rock formations that you will see while hiking, and they are all massive and otherworldly.
Park Avenue Trail Parking & Trailhead (There are two trailheads – read)
There are two trailheads for this hike. The Park Avenue viewpoint and the Courthouse Towers viewpoint.
The Park Avenue Trailhead is just an 8 min drive past the visitors center. The parking lot is pretty small and there are no restrooms or facilities located at the trail head. There are a lot of people that park here only to take photos of the viewpoint and leave so the turnover is high.
The Courthouse Towers viewpoint trailhead is larger and had hardly any cars in it when I was there. Still no bathrooms or facilities.
I highly recommend parking at the Park Avenue Trailhead since this is where the best views are.
You can park at either viewpoint and hike to the other, and then back.
Note: You are able to make this hike a one way down hill hike only by having someone pick you up at the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint.
The Park Avenue Trail – What to Expect & Is it Worth it?
The best part of the hike is the view from the Park Avenue Viewpoint parking lot. Seriously. A lot of people get out of the car and just take photos at the lookout and leave. If you don’t have time to do the whole hike, I recommend at a minimum doing that. You definitely won’t regret it.
The trail is easy to follow. You will just keep looking for the stack of rocks along the trail, I guess they’re called “cairns”.
FYI – The trail takes you from one parking lot to another parking lot. You can start the hike from either parking lot.
Everyone was confused on the hike not knowing that before hand. I was definitely confused. After arriving at the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint parking lot I thought maybe I had taken a wrong turn somewhere, nut nope, that is just the end of the trail.
There was a huge group of people traveling that read this trail was a great sunset spot but we did not see the sunset. I do not recommend this hike for sunset.
The wind can get pretty strong through the canyons, so just be prepared for that on a windy day.
I enjoyed that this trail does not take you to one defining Arch that everyone is waiting to take a picture in front of. You don’t feel like you are walking through the mall like I did at The Windows Hike.
The whole trail is pretty and there are different rock formations along the entire trail. The entire hike is pretty and it’s easy. Suitable for all ages, old and young.
The train is mainly smooth, rocks and sand. Nothing too crazy on this hike. It’s mostly flat, even though towards the beginning or end of the trail, it’s all upstairs rock scares.
There are a lot of interesting rock formations you will come across on this hike. Including the Tower of Babel, Queen Nefertiti rock, the Argon Tower, Three Gossips, and The Organ.
The Organ Rock Formation
The Argon Tower
No the most impressive angle of it, but you get the idea.
The Three Gossips
This hike was by far the least crowded of any of the hikes I did in Arches national Park. For reference, I was there in November.
For reference, I did this hike around 3 pm on a Wednesday in November and I hardly only came across a few other hikers on the trail.
I felt like very few people ventured past the viewpoint and did the whole hike. I actually did not encounter anyone else on the hike with the exception of borth trailhead parking lots. Most people just take pictures at the viewpoint and move on.
How do I rate this hike? 5/10
Overall I felt this was a pretty cool hike in Arches National Park. I rate it a 5 out of 10, only because the best part of this trail is the view from the parking lot. It won’t get better than that.
Conclusion – Is the Park Avenue Trail worth hiking?
It is worth visiting but not really worth hiking. I know most people only have a limited amount of time at Arches so I would recommend prioritizing the others.
At the very least, I recommend parking at the Park Avenue Trailhead, walking 10 minutes into the trail, snapping some pics and moving on. The views don’t get any better as the trail goes on.
There are a lot of other trails in Arches that are far more rewarding, like my personal favorite, Delicate Arch Hike.
Things to know about Arches Nat Park before going
I had no idea how busy Arches Nat Park was before I went. Arches is one of the busiest parks in all of Utah. So busy that recently they have implemented a reservation system in order to get into the park in the summer and early fall.
I had no idea about this before going but luckily I missed the cut off by a week. October 31st is the cut off for the off season. More on that below.
If you are planning to visit Arches between the months of April and October a reservation will be required to enter the park. You will need a Timed Entry Ticket from from Recreation.gov. One ticket per vehicle will be required.
Cost of park entry
It costs $30 per vehicle to enter the park. If you walk into the park it is $15. I don’t recommend this unless you are training for a marathon. The park is huge and requires a lot of driving.
There are some holidays where they do not require a fee to enter the park. Check here for details.
No dogs allowed. It’s a kid friendly but not a dog friendly park.
May is the busiest month at Arches.
October is still busy.
January, right after Christmas, has the fewest visitors. Moab will be a Ghost town. If you don’t care about the cold weather and want the park to yourself, go in January.