Unlike Bryce Canyon, Arches NP does not have publich transportation. Sou you definitely need an own car. But either you will visit Aches NP during a Southwest US trip, or you will arrive in Moab by bus or plane, so you can hire a car there.
Arches is in the far eastern park of Utah, closer to some of the Arizona and Colorado National Parks as its state siblings. To get an idea of distances, it's only 120 miles and 3 hours to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado and just about the same to Monument Valley in Arizona. It's about 30 miles from sister park Canyonlands across Route 191. It's a long but scenic 170 miles and four hours to Capitol Reef National Park. Mass transit between the parks is non-existent and if you're camping (and you should be) you'll be happy to be driving all your gear from place to place.
Arches charges a very reasonable $10 for a car load to enter the park for a period of up to 7 days. We were using the America the Beautiful Pass which costs $80 and allows a car load into any National Park or Federally Administered Land for one year.
Since there are no showers at Arches National Park, we showered at the Lazy Lizard Hostel. They charge $3 per person and are located on the south side of town at 1213 S Hwy 191.
Getting to Arches can be easy and enjoyable from several different locations. Typically it is cheapest to fly into Las Vegas, NV and rent a car there, taking advantage of the specials to draw in the gambling crowd. The drive is about seven hours through beautiful scenery.
Another option that I have done is to drive from Phoenix, AZ. Again you can find deals on airfare but renting a car can be more expensive and the drive is about seven hours again with many other parks to visit along the way just like driving from Las Vegas.
The other option is to fly into Salt Lake City. This is the most expensive place to fly into but the drive is about three or so hours.
If you come or if you go towards Grand Junction, do not forget to go through Route UT128. It is part of one of the most beautiful roads in the United States. You follow the Colorado River over a distance of 30 miles.
For those of you coming to Moab via Salt Lake City by car plan on about a three and half hour scenic drive through the heartland of Utah Valley. Its a very easy and safe drive with the exception of the hour long route through Spanish Fork Canyon. Be sure to plan your drive through the canyon during daylight hours as there are a lot of deer that cross the roads and people drive way to fast on the narrow roads. From Salt Lake City you take I-15 South until you get to the Spanish Fork/Price exit and go left and from there you enter Spanish Fork Canyon for 53 miles. Once out of the Canyon you follow Route 6 through Price until you get to Green River and Route 70. Follow Route 70 for about 30 miles and you will come to the Crescent Junction exit and Route 191, go right for another 30 or so miles and you will come to the turn off for Arches National Park, Moab is just another 4 miles up the road from there.
Arches has no public transportation system so you will need a car or a mountain bike and a lot of energy to see the sites. The main park road is 18 miles from Highway 191 to the Devil's Garden Campground. About 9 miles into the park, another paved road heads to the right about 2 and a half miles to the Windows section. Just over 2 miles beyond the Windows road is another paved road heading to the right that leads 2 and a half miles to the Delicate Arch viewpoint. Wolfe Ranch and the trailhead to the base of Delicate Arch are located just over a mile down the road before it crosses a wash. After a heavy rain the road may be impassable beyond this point. A little over 16 miles along the main park road a dirt road heads off to the left toward the Salt Valley and the remove Klondike Bluffs in the northwest reaches of the park. This road is usually passable by all vehicles except after heavy rains. About 8 miles in another road heads left to the Tower Arch trailhead and the Klondike Bluffs. Contining on the Salt Valley Road another mile and a half leads to a dirt parking area near the park boundary at the trailhead for Eagle Park and a road closed sign.
There is one major paved road in the park. It begins at the junction with UT 191 by the visitor center at the park's southern end and travels 21 miles to the Devils Garden Trailhead. Along this main road there are a two side roads that bring you to: The Windows Area and to the Delicate area. Both of these side roads are only a few kilometres long.
The car is a great way to get around in the park, but don't forget to go out and take a closer look at the park as well. There are quite a few hiking trails spread throughout the park, from long to short, from easy to difficult. So there is something for everyone! And I can promise you that it will be worth you while, as Arches NP is a beautiful place to visit! :-)
This is a map of my roundtrip through the USA. For my roundtrip was only one possibility : the car! I travelled a lot of kilometres, but the roads are very good, so I didn't mind at all driving so much.
Location of Arches National Park:
Arches National Park is located in eastern central Utah south of Interstate 70. The park entrance is located on Utah Highway l9l, five miles north of Moab, Utah.
To visit Arches you must use a car as there's no public transportation. The drive through the park is pleasant -- the road is well maintained and usually not crowded. As to the scenery... ahhh... Even if you don't get out and hike, from the car you can still see many amazing rock formations.
Arches is one of the most easily accessible national parks so it surprises me that it isn't more popular (granted I am rather thankful it isn't becasue I hate crowds). The entrance to the park is just a few miles north of the town of Moab in eastern Utah off U.S. highway 191. Moab has the amenities of about any American city of its size. It tries to claim it isn't a tourist city, but I disagree. It may have started as a small mining camp, but it's grown full of hotels, restuarants, and outdoor outfitters serving every brand of tourist imaginable. Grand Junction, CO is about 2 hours from Arches.
Most arrive here by car, though Moab has a small airfield.
The scenic drive connects various highlights, though the best places are to be reached on foot.