Devil's Garden (dayhike)

SA Report: Out of Moab - Day 1

Trip Date: 6/3/2013

Location: Arches National Park

Permit/Pass: Individuals (motorcycles, bicycles and walk-ins): $5. Vehicles: $10. Local Passport (entrance to Arches, Canyonlands, Hovenweep and Natural Bridges): $25.

Trails: NPS Park Map

Directions: From Interstate 70 in Utah, just east of Green River, drive south on Hwy. 191 26.6 miles to the Arches NP entrance. Drive 17.2 miles on the main park road - Arches Scenic Dr., almost to the northern limit of the road, which becomes Devil's Garden Rd. Follow this short stretch as it loops past the trailhead to some parking. 

Trail sequence: Devil's Garden

Type: Out and back (with spur trails)

Distance: 6.2 miles (*This hike has several variations - see below)

Elevation: Min. - 5116', Max. - 5487'


Rating: Moderate (factors: slickrock-climbing, route-finding, heat)

Synopsis: A fun and popular trail leading to several of the park's iconic spans, including Landscape Arch (the world's longest). The first stretch is quick and easy, traversing a few hills and a bit of sandy trail, and if all you have time for is this .9 mile hike to Landscape Arch it's well worth the effort. But continuing on from here takes you to the fun, and somewhat challenging part of this trail. On the way out to Double O Arch, you work your way up, along and over varied trail, including slickrock fins that offer some spectacular views. The last half-mile takes you to Dark Angel, a huge pinnacle. On the return trip, we took a spur trail that leads to Navajo and Partition arches, the latter of which offers incredible views of the desert below. 


Devils Garden trail - Arches NP

Turn by Turn:

  (*The Devil's Garden hike can be as little as 4 miles if you turn around at Double O Arch and don't take the spur trails to Navajo and Partition arches, or as long as 7.2 miles if you continue on from Double O Arch onto the Primitive Loop part of the trail that circles around to the east and south. We included the last part of the trail to Dark Angel pinnacle and took the spur trails, but opted not to take the Primitive Loop section.)

  -- From the trailhead you strike out between some tall fins before opening up onto excellent views of the desert to the east. After only a quarter of a mile or so you meet the trail to Pine Tree and Tunnel Arches heading off to the right (north). Stay left to continue on to Landscape Arch.

  -- Just before Landscape Arch the Primitive Trail junctions with the main trail. Stay left as you head up the sandy wash to get a good view of the arch. Beyond Landscape Arch you'll watch for cairns directing you along the slickrock and eventually leading you up onto a slickrock fin that ascends to connect with the dirt trail. In just a few hundred yards there will be a spur trail leading off to the left (southwest) that goes to Navajo and Partition arches. We visited these arches on the way back. 

  -- Continue on to the northwest, following the cairns and eventually heading out onto a large slickrock fin that offers tremendous 360º views. You drop down off of this fin to the left, then find the cairns again as they lead you out to Double O Arch.

  -- You first catch a glimpse of Double O Arch as you head over more rock, and descending from here takes you through sandy trail right to the base of the span. From here continue on to the junction with the Primitive Trail which heads off to the right (north). Stay left to complete the Devil's Garden trail by following the obvious path out to Dark Angel.

  -- Retrace your steps back to the spur trail to Navajo and Partition arches. Visit both, the follow the spur back to the main trail, turning right (southeast) and heading back down the slickrock to Landscape Arch and the return to the trailhead.


Photo gallery: Flickr - Devil's Garden 1, Devil's Garden 2

Video: Youtube