Use our Devil’s Garden Trail Guide to create the prefect hiking itinerary to make the most of exploring this area found in Arches National Park, Utah, USA.
The hike can be tailored to fit the time you have available and the points of interest you want to see. We also provide tips about photographing the various arches along the trail.
The Devil’s Garden Trail, including the Primitive Loop, is the longest maintained trail at Arches National Park. The Devil’s Garden area boasts the largest concentration of significant arches in the world.
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DEVIL’S GARDEN HIKE TRAIL GUIDE
Full Loop Trail: 7.2 miles round trip, including all spur trails
Only Landscape Arch: 2 miles round trip
Full Loop Trail: 4-5 hours
Only Landscape Arch: 1 hour
DIFFICULTY The first part of the trail to Landscape Arch is well-traveled and considered an easy hike. The remaining portion of the trail is primitive and difficult.
Most casual tourists hike the first part of the Devil’s Garden trail to Landscape Arch. The rest of the trail requires scrambling up and over long, narrow sections of slickrock with steep drop-offs. When the rocks are wet or snow is present, Park Rangers advise not hiking this section..
TRAILHEAD INFORMATION Arches National Park is located five miles north of the town of Moab, Utah. Drive 19 miles into the park to the end of the main road at the Devils Garden parking area. The trailhead is at the end of the main road where it makes a small loop.
Arrive EARLY to avoid the parking hassles. There are only 150 parking spaces that fill up quickly during peak usage. Park in designated spots as overflow parking is not allowed.
- Carry plenty of water. Staying hydrated is important, even during cooler weather.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun at any time of year. The only shade on this trail is underneath the arches themselves.
- Watch for cairns and bring a map if you plan to hike the primitive trail.
About 0.25 miles from the trailhead, turn right at the signed junction to reach Tunnel Arch. The arch is formed through a thick section of sandstone creating the look of a tunnel.
PINE TREE ARCH
Backtrack to the spur trail and continue on to see Pine Tree Arch. This arch is named for the junipers that grow underneath the arch. You can walk directly through this arch and enjoy the shade it creates.
Return to the main trail after visiting Tunnel and Pine Tree arches.
At 0.9 miles from the trailhead (and 0.1 mile before Landscape Arch) you will see where the Primitive Trail returns to the main trail on the right.
Landscape Arch is 1 mile from the trailhead. It is 290.1 feet across and considered to be the longest arch formation in the world.
PHOTO TIP: Photograph various angles of Landscape Arch as each view along the trail provides a different perspective. Laurent Martres in his book Photographing the Southwest, Volume 1 says the best season to photograph Landscape Arch is late spring to early summer, when there are no shadows on the arch in early morning. The view in complete sunshine is only available mid-morning during the rest of the year. Use a moderate warming filter will help restore the rich color saturation of the sandstone.
Most hikers turn back after visiting Landscape Arch, which allows for a more peaceful hike if you decide to keep going.
The trail after Landscape Arch becomes more primitive. Watch for cairns along the route as the trail now crosses slickrock.
You will see a spur trail to the left at about 1.20 miles from the trailhead. This trail takes you to Navajo and Partition Arches.
Navajo Arch is well shaded and a wonderful place to sit and relax.
PHOTO TIP: Photograph all angles of Navajo Arch – the front, back and under the arch.
PHOTO TIP: Photograph the front and back sides of the arch, but be careful on the back side as there is a steep drop off.
Return to the main trail.
DOUBLE O ARCH
Double O Arch is about 2 miles from the trailhead. It’s a 150 foot tall sandstone column with a small arch at the bottom and a large arch stacked on top.
PHOTO TIP: Double O Arch is difficult to photograph from the front side. Climb through to the back side to get a better angle.
Most hikers turn around at this point and return the way they came.
Just beyond Double O Arch there is a junction. The trail on the left is a 0.4 mile long spur trail which leads to the Dark Angel, a 125 foot sandstone spire. Backtrack to Double O Arch, this time keeping left at the junction to continue the Primitive Loop Trail.
The Primitive Trail is marked with a warning “Caution, Primitive Trail, Difficult Hiking“. The trail requires constant awareness of the cairns that mark the route.
One section is a bit tricky as you hug the side of a rock and walk along a lip just a few inches wide. The drop below the lip makes the crossing particularly intimidating.
Except for a few sections, and the fact I wasn’t mentally prepared for the length of the hike and was running out of water, the trail wasn’t much harder than what I had already traveled.
About 0.4 miles from the beginning of the Primitive Trail near double O Arch there is a spur trail on the right 0.2 miles long to Private Arch.
The Primitive Trail is 2 miles long in length starting at Double O Arch until it rejoins the main trail near Landscape Arch.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR ARCHES NATIONAL PARK:
Remember to purchase the US National Park Pass – it’s a good deal!
Use our Arches National Park Photography Guide to capture the unique landscapes. We share tips to get amazing images of the arches in the park and when to visit each one. We provide an in depth guide to each stop in the park and urge you to use creativity in photographing the locations.
Visit Arches National Park in the Winter to avoid the crowds and heat.
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- Resources for Outdoor Adventure
- Travel Photography Gear
- National Park Destination Guides
- US National Park Packing Lists
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