Devil’s Garden Hike in Arches

Moab, UT

We have been traveling with friends, David and Karen, for about three weeks now and have had a great time exploring in northern Arizona and southeastern Utah.  But they are getting ready to move on without us and head west soon, so we wanted to share one of our favorite hikes in Arches NP with them before they leave.   The Devil’s Garden is a very popular trail with many options for hikers and numerous arches to visit.  David and Karen are adventurous so we decided to do the loop trail, a distance of about seven and half miles depending on how many short side trails you take to visit different arches along the way.

The trailhead for Devil’s Garden is easy to find as it is at the end of the main park road where the road makes a large loop and heads back toward the visitors center.   If hiking on a weekend or holiday, plan to get there early as this trail is very popular and the parking fills up quickly.  We were there on a Thursday so parking was readily available.

An enthusiastic hiker awaits departure

The first mile of this trail is well maintained and easily accessible for any level of hiker.  About a half mile from the start of the trail we took a right on to a side trail to see Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch.

Tunnel Arch really has two arches side by side

Pine Tree Arch (in case you can’t read the sign)

One of the most popular and famous arches in the park is the Landscape Arch.   At a little over 290 feet, it is considered the longest natural stone arch in the world.  A trail that led under the arch was closed in the early 1990s when several large chunks of sandstone fell from the center of the arch, so you can’t get very close.

The Landscape Arch is the end of what is labeled the Primary Trail.  From here we continued up what the park calls a Semi-Primitive Trail, but it is still a good path.  The first part goes up a narrow fin of slick rock.

At the top of the fin you can see Partition Arch to the left.  A good side trail takes you to the back of this arch.

Partition Arch from the main trail

Two cute young hikers pose below the Partition Arch

Just a bit further up the side trail is another arch, Navajo Arch.  David and Karen liked the lone pine next to the arch and posed for their next Christmas Card photo.  If the park finds the tree to be missing in December, they might want to check a certain site in an RV park in Cortez, FL!

The trail to Navajo Arch goes along the side of a rock wall carved by wind and rain, creating cool patterns in the wall.

We rejoined the main trail and continued along another long but level rock fin.

Along this sandstone fin there are many spots where you can stop and enjoy the great views.  We found a spot down out of the wind and enjoyed a great lunch with a view.

After our lunch we continued up the trail until the Double O Arch came into view.  This arch has a large opening on top of a much smaller one.

We climbed through the smaller hole for a photo from the other side.

At this point the trail begins to make a large circle back toward the trailhead.  The park designates this part as a primitive trail.  While the trail is still pretty good, many parts are following cairns with several steep drops as it takes you in between and over some great rock fins.  There is only one side trail in this portion that leads out to Private Arch.

Private Arch

Above Private Arch is a long fin that, if you’re willing to hike up and out to the end, gives a great view of Devils Garden.

Up the fin . . .

. . . and out to the end point

See the angry face in the rock?

Returning to the main trail we continued as the trail went up and over some narrow areas of slick rock.

After winding our way through the rocks and up a sandy hill, we hiked through a flat area back to the primary trail again near the Landscape Arch.

Heading back to the primary trail

Tomorrow David and Karen (oh, and Cody too!) head west for a visit to Capitol Reef NP.  We’ve enjoyed our time with them and look forward to seeing them somewhere out here in the west in the future or back in Cortez, FL.  We will be staying in Moab for another week before we also head to Capitol Reef.

More on that later . . .

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32 Responses to Devil’s Garden Hike in Arches

  1. RJRVtravels says:

    Such amazing country!

  2. allisonmohr says:

    Thanks for the narrative of Moab. We’ll be there eventually, hopefully it will not be too hot to do some of your hikes. I am going to miss the pictures of Cody. So cute.

    • placestheygo says:

      We miss having Cody along, as well. He was such a great hiker. I hope Moab isn’t too hot when you get here. But you can always get an early start to beat the heat:)

  3. Jim and Barb says:

    I never get tired of seeing pictures of arches and they are even more impressive in person. The formations carved into the sandstone by the wind and rain are cool to, looking at them they look like mini formations of what you see higher up in the hills.

    • placestheygo says:

      Those very cool design patterns are the same ones we see high up in the walls. That is why I enjoy this section so much because it is eye level so you can really see all the intricate designs the wind and water have carved.

  4. Dave & Skruffy (GoingRvWay.com) says:

    Loved these last two posts…never heard of the “eye of the whale” arch, and always love the many pictures from Devil’s Garden area…so many things to see there, I have only seen a little bit of it in person. Thanks. –Dave (GoingRvWay.com)

  5. Laurel says:

    Devil’s Garden trail is also our favorite in Arches. It’s so much fun hiking along those slick rock fins! The last time we were there we saw some crazy people hiking the trail in flip-flops — maybe I was overdressed in my hiking boots?? You did a great job of photographing and describing the hike.

  6. Sherry says:

    Love the Devil’s Garden trail but we didn’t get to do the primitive parts so I really enjoyed this. I take it the trail wasn’t too hard to follow? Your pictures are spectacular. Just love those views of Devil’s Garden from the fin and I definitely see the angry face. Never ever too many pictures of arches especially ones as vivid as yours.

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Sherry:) The primitive trail was easier to follow this time because there were more cairns. Two years ago we lost the trail and to find our way for a little. There is a lot of slickrock crossing so the cairns are important.

  7. pmbweaver says:

    Love all those hikes. The beauty of that area is amazing.

    You two have us longing to get back to Utah. We actually talked about changing our plans for this fall and head back there. I am not sure if you two are a good influence on us or not. Lol.

    Enjoy reading all your adventures and love all the photos. Stay safe and enjoy your adventure.

  8. Jodee Gravel says:

    Love the “decorated” walls. They’re so unusual. The various shapes and sizes and locations and colors of the arches is incredible. Seeing one definitely does not mean you’ve seen them all!! I know slick rock is really sticky rock but that tall fin would be a real challenge for my fear of height. Glad the enthusiastic hiker found some fun on the trail 🙂 Angry face is pretty intimidating.

    • placestheygo says:

      That “decorated” wall is one of my favorites because the it is all eye level and right next to you rather than above my head like most this design is. You can look through the pieces and see the intricate carving. This hike (beyond the Landscape Arch) is not for those with a fear of heights. There are several fin crossings and while they are plenty wide, they still drop way off. But getting back to see each arch is a cool adventure.

  9. I have been following your blog for some time and I am amazed at the beautiful scenery you manage to capture with the camera. I always feel like I need to sit and put my aching feet up after reading about your hikes! Ha ha

  10. One of my favorite hikes! And I get to do it this fall! Hans and I last did that hike in 2007 and were fortunate to have a rain threatening day and virtually no one else on the trail…I had no idea it was so popular…but it makes sense of course because it is so awesome!

    • placestheygo says:

      This is an interesting trail, Lisa, because you continue to lose people the further you go. Many only go to the Double O Arch and back the same way. The primitive part has almost no one. But there are definitely more people this year in April than two years ago. The fellow that does my hair said he thinks this year has been extra busy because it has been so warm. He doesn’t remember April being this crowded.

  11. Janna says:

    I missed seeing Cody in the photos! Will have to look into Arches as a place for my next girlfriend hiking trip!

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, we’ll miss having Cody along on our trips, too. But we did enjoy seeing his excitement on the trail:) Arches would be a great place for a girlfriend hiking trip because of the various levels of trail available.

  12. We enjoyed doing this hike when we were here last year. Walking on those fins was kind of scary (with my fear of heights), but I loved this trail! Great pictures and description.

  13. Erin says:

    This is a great trail … lots of entertainment as you walk. We did a portion of it as an in-out years ago. How are the temps? We’re possibly thinking of heading that way next spring.

  14. Gay says:

    What a way to spend the day! We also have done the primitive trail…counter clockwise. Beautiful pictures of the arches Pam. Moab rocks!

    • placestheygo says:

      We actually thought about doing it counter clockwise this time, Gay, but then we remembered that there really wasn’t much along the Primitive part of the trail. We thought our friends would enjoy all the cool arches and extra trails on the first part before anyone might get tired. Either way, this is an amazing trail:)

  15. Debra says:

    Love that beautiful area. I am making notes for next years stay in Moab.

  16. LuAnn says:

    Such jaw-dropping beauty in southern Utah. I can see why you two are so mesmerized with this area. We will definitely need to give ourselves plenty of time to explore all it has to offer. Beautiful photos! 🙂

  17. Nancy says:

    Oh are you having fun yet??? HA HA HA
    You were on top of the world it seems by the looks of some of your photos! Always love the foot pictures too. Both of you enjoying the thrill of the hike and enjoying your lunch too! 🙂

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