Arches and Canyonlands national parks are preparing for a very busy Memorial Day weekend
Arches and Canyonlands national parks are preparing for a busy Memorial Day weekend, and are advising visitors to expect heavy traffic, crowded trails, and limited parking.
Visitors should plan ahead and have a back-up plan if they are not able to enter the parks during the busiest hours of the morning and early afternoon.
“Memorial Day weekend is typically our busiest weekend of the year,” said Southeast Utah Group Area National Parks Superintendent Patty Trap.
“We recommend planning ahead and having alternative activities and places to visit in the Moab area for visitors to have an enjoyable holiday weekend.”
Visitors arriving at the parks between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. should expect long lines at park entrance gates that could last up to an hour or longer.
Parking lots and trails inside the parks will be very crowded. If the parks become full, staff will delay vehicles from entering until space opens to accommodate more people and vehicles.
When this happens at Arches, many visitors travel up to the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands, where they might experience up to a two-hour wait to enter that part of the park.
“To avoid being caught in an entrance delay at Arches we recommend people come to the parks early in the morning or late in the afternoon,” Trap said.
“There are many great hikes along the river corridor in Bureau of Land Management areas, as well as local museums like Moab Giants or the Moab Museum.
“These are good alternative activities while waiting to enter the parks.”
Park rangers ask that vehicles waiting in line at entrance gates keep pace with traffic in the line and have payment ready.
Credit cards are preferred. Current pass holders and returning visitors should have passes and identification ready.
There are no toilet facilities or drinking water along park entrance roads. Please only park vehicles in designated spaces and not unsafely or anywhere that damages park plants or soils.
Visitors should plan for their safety by packing water and snacks and wearing sturdy shoes and sun protection.
Visitors are encouraged to check the parks’ websites or Twitter accounts for current entrance gate information and road conditions prior to driving to the park.
Since 2019, the National Park Service (NPS) has been involved in a variety of data collection efforts and workshops to better define visitor use and travel patterns, desired conditions, and to study solutions to improve access and ease traffic and congestion within Arches National Park.
Once the Park Service moves forward with solutions, it hopes the actions can be more broadly applied.
Later this summer, the NPS plans to share updates with the public for their feedback and to help inform how it develops and implements long-term solutions to reduce congestion in the parks.