After a morning sunrise hike to Delicate Arch, our next stop in Arches National Park was to the Devil’s Garden area. At the very end of the main park road, it was the half-way point on our hiking itinerary and where we saw some of the best arches in the park.
Unlike Delicate Arch and the Windows area where there’s an out-and-back trail with an arch at the end destination, the Devil’s Garden area lends itself more to wandering. We spent nearly 2 hours checking out each of the arches in the area, including Landscape Arch, the longest arch in the park.
Here’s our hiking report:
Table of Contents
About the Devil's Garden Area
The Devil’s Garden area offers some of the best of Arches National Park.
Among the front-country destinations in the park, Devil’s Garden was where we found the highest density of arches, along with other formations like spires and fins. What we loved most about Devil’s Garden was that there was a little something for everyone.
Distance and Difficulty
Have junior rangers in your group? The easier trip to Landscape Arch and Pine Tree Arch is a great out-and-back route. Want to experience scrambling and test your navigation skills? Add in the more challenging route to Double O Arch and the Devil’s Garden Primitive Loop.
Landscape Arch Trail: 1.6 mile out-and-back hike
Double O Arch: 4.1 miles out-and-back hike (can be made into a loop with the Devil’s Garden primitive trail)
Devil’s Garden Primitive Loop: 7.8 mile loop hike
Where is the Devil's Garden trailhead?
The Devil’s Garden trailhead is located at the end of the main park road. From the entrance station, drive 19 miles into the park straight on the main park road. The parking area for the trailhead begins at the Devil’s Garden campground turn off and makes a large loop.
As with all areas in Arches, expect the parking area to fill early in the day with limited space for large RV’s and trailers. During our April 2021 road trip, we finished our Delicate Arch sunrise hike and arrived to Devil’s Garden around 9:45 AM. Even by that time, we needed to circle through the parking area for about 15 minutes before we landed a spot in the lot.
Arches is working on some changes to parking, shuttles, and potentially reservations. In the meantime, if you arrive mid-morning or later, expect parking to be a challenge here. To avoid the crowds arrive as early as you can in the morning, or after 5 pm.
How long does it take to hike the Devil's Garden area?
Expect to spend at least 90 minutes at Devil’s Garden if you plan to see Landscape Arch and a few of the other arches on the Devil’s Garden Trail. If you plan to add on the more strenuous Double O Arch, add another 90 or so minutes to that time. To complete the full Devil’s Garden Primitive Loop Trail, you’ll need about 4-5 hours.
Indigenous Roots at Devil's Garden
As part of our commitment to a more Diverse NPS, Park Chasers wants to acknowledge that the lands we now enjoy were once the home of many different indigenous communities.
According to the National Park Service (nps.gov):
“What is now Arches National Park was a ceremonial area for people who lived and farmed in the Moab valley. Moab is the only major crossing of the Colorado River for hundreds of miles, so this area saw extensive travel and trade, making it an important cultural feature for all tribes on a regional scale.”
The lands around Devil’s Garden and Arches National Park once belonged to members of the:
- Pueblo of Zuni (or A:shiwi),
- the Hopi Tribe,
- the Southern Ute Indian Tribe,
- Ute Indian Tribe-Uintah and Ouray,
- the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, and
- the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians.
To learn more about native communities in the area – visit Native Lands.
To learn more about our commitment to greater diversity, inclusion, and access to public lands visit DiverseNPS.
What You'll See at the Devil's Garden Area
Tunnel Arch & Pine Tree Arch
The first option to see an arch you’ll encounter in the Devil’s Garden area happens about 1/4 mile into the hike. You’ll find a spur trail to the right for both Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch. At the bottom of the spur trail, turn right for Tunnel Arch (large overhead arch high in a wall formation) or left for Pine Tree Arch (taller arch you can walk up to with a panoramic view of the valley). Although lesser known arches, the extra 1/2 mile will be a highlight of your hike at Devil’s Garden.
At a stunning 290 feet long, Landscape Arch is recognized as the 4th longest stone arch in the world. (A fun bit of national park trivia: It tops Kolob Arch in Zion National Park for the title of the longest arch in the United States by only 3 feet.)
By it’s thin, precarious span, it’s also obvious that Landscape Arch is one of the oldest in the park.
The trail to the arch is fairly flat and usually pretty heavily trafficked. Just before you reach the arch, you’ll encounter a junction for the Devil’s Garden Primitive Loop Trail. Hang a left here and down a few gradual stairs to the Landscape Arch viewing area. The trail becomes quite sandy here and a bit more difficult trekking. Worth it for some closer views of the arch though.
From the last point where you can see Landscape Arch, there’s an option to continue on to Double O Arch and the remainder of the Primitive Loop trail.
Double O Arch
Double O Arch is the second largest arch in the Devil’s Garden area and a more strenuous hike. As the name implies, there are two arches here carved from the same formation–the larger arch spans about 71 feet and the lower arch spans about 21 feet.
To reach Double O Arch, you’ll need to do some scrambling and hiking along fin formations. These steeper stretches have dramatic drop-offs on both sides, so not a great hike for small children or anyone tentative around heights. We found the hike there to be less strenuous than coming back, in part because of having to slide back down some of the slick rock sections. Know your limits, but also know how lovely the view is!
Other Stops Near Devil's Garden
Devil's Garden Primative Loop
As noted earlier, there’s an option departing from the Devil’s Garden trailhead for a more strenouous, challenging day hike on the Devil’s Garden Primitive Loop. We didn’t have time for the 7-8 hour hike during our road trip itinerary since we were on to Canyonlands National Park later in the day. However, a hike on the loop trail allows access to Double O Arch, along with Private Arch, Partition Arch, Navajo Arch, Wall Arch, and the Dark Angel pinnacle.
Just be prepared with plenty of water (a liter or more per person!) and navigation tools. The park service reports the trail is not well-marked in some areas and it’s easy to wander farther out than intended in the desert landscape.
Devil's Garden Campground
If you’re lucky enough to snag an early reservation, we HIGHLY recommend staying in the Devil’s Garden Campground in the park. Not only does it cut down the driving in and out of the park, but you’re also able to hike the Devil’s Garden area right from your campsite. The night skies at the campground are also among the best spots for stargazing in all of Arches National Park.
Broken Arch / Tapestry Arch Trail
Just a short distance from the Devil’s Garden Trailhead, you’ll find a small unsuspecting parking area marked for Sand Dune Arch Trail. Also located at this trailhead is a loop hike for Broken Arch Trail. For the avid hiker looking for an ‘off-the-beaten path’ experience in Arches, we HIGHLY recommend this trail. There’s a more technical area that requires some down scrambling, but the views here are stunning. Our hiking recap of this trail is coming soon!!
When is the best time to hike Devil's Garden?
The parking lots fill quickly in the morning at Devil’s Garden and will be busy until after sunset. We’re not exaggerating when we say the lot is full at 7:30 AM.
Given the traffic, we recommend visiting the area early in the morning. If you’re into national park photography, the morning light on Landscape Arch and Double O Arch is particularly stunning.
That being said, the fins and spire formations in Devil’s Garden also look great in the evening and at sunset.
If you plan to hike the Devil’s Garden Primitive Loop avoid the middle of the day–there’s almost no shade on the trail and heat becomes a factor.