It would be hard to complete the Devil’s Garden Trail and leave without gaining a better appreciation for the beauty of Arches National Park. Hiking Devil’s Garden provides the opportunity to learn more about how this delicate landscape came to be and become inspired to reflect on the possibilities that passing time offers.
Walking along the trails in Devil’s Garden is a melody of muffled crunches beneath your feet and the soft wind whispering through sandstone structures. As you stand in the shadows of towering fins with their smooth textures of orange and red, you emerge to see a sparkling valley extending endlessly ahead of you.
Inside you are faced with what feels like an impossible decision… which path will you take? With 8 arches to see and many more experiences to explore in this devilish garden of winding trails, the good news is you really can’t go wrong.
About Arches National Park
Arches National Park is a unique desert landscape that is home to over 2,000 arches in addition to other magnificent and unique rock formations.
How did the arches form?
The area of Arches National Park was once an inland sea. A salt bed was left behind which over time compressed into rock and pushed up on the landscape. As the salt deposits continue to dissolve and the rock is weathered by erosion, fins form. Wind and water continue to erode these fins, with pieces eventually breaking away. The remaining, eroded fins, become the beautiful arches admired today.
Location: Arches National Park, Moab Utah
Cost: $30/vehicle for a 7-day entrance pass to Arches National Park; National Parks Passes accepted
Timed Entry Reservation Required (April 1-October 31, 2023): $2 (nonrefundable). Book in advance! First come, first served, released 3 months in advance.
About Devil’s Garden Trail
Driving Time: Roughly 1 hour to the trailhead from downtown Moab. This hike begins where the paved road running through the park ends. Devil’s Garden is at the farthest end of the park from the entrance.
Parking: The parking area for Devil’s Garden is large and has many spots. This being said, during peak season and hours it could fill up. This should be helped by the timed entry system, though. We recommend getting an early start or hiking later in the day. This will also help with escaping some of that mid-day heat during warmer months!
Trailhead Amenities: Pit toilets are available
Devil’s Garden Trail Points of Interest:
This will list the points of interest in the order you would come across them if hiking in a clockwise direction from the trailhead. Distances will be listed for each arch individually, but can be added together in order if you are interested in some arches, but not the whole trail.
A small arch eroded into a thick sandstone wall. This will be the first arch you will come across after the trailhead using a short spur trail. Only a short distance further on this same spur trail you will come to Pine Tree Arch.
This was the first arch we stopped at and honestly, we were not sure at first that what we were observing was the arch. It is small. So we didn’t snap a picture. We did end up walking down a dead-end sand trail that had masked itself as leading to somewhere grand. A fun little fumble for the start of this hike. However, it made the rest of what we saw even more impressive and worthwhile!
The spur trail to this arch will be only about 0.2 miles from the trailhead.
Pine Tree Arch
A bit further on the same spur trail for Tunnel Arch, you will find Pine Tree arch nestled in the far corner. Play around in the deep sand under the arch and enjoy some great views.
About .5 miles roundtrip to do both Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch
One of the longest natural arch spans in the world and the longest in Arches National Park. This arch lost large chunks of rock in the 90s and has been closed to hikers ever since. Even so, it is still impressive to view from afar! You can also view this impressive arch from above by doing some rock scrambling off the spur trail to Partition Arch. The hike from the trailhead to Landscape Arch and back is 1.9 miles roundtrip.
Provides two stunning frames for the colorful fins in the distance of Arches National Park. Located on a spur trail after Landscape Arch.
2.8 miles roundtrip from the trailhead to this arch alone and back
This arch will sneak up on you! A really cool hidden arch, with interesting trees guarding the entrance. Also located on the spur trail past Landscape Arch where you can also bridge off to Partition Arch.
2.9 miles roundtrip to hike to just Navajo Arch and back
Black Arch Overlook
Hidden in the shadows below this viewpoint’s cutout you will see Black Arch (sometimes called Black Cave Arch). Climb up on the rocks for a better vantage point, and enjoy the hike along a narrow ridge of a sandstone fin jutting out to the La Sal Mountains that leads you to this amazing overlook. Hiking clockwise you will encounter this about .5 miles before Double O Arch.
Double O Arch
This is the second-largest arch in Devil’s Garden! If you take some time to explore, you will notice the amazing difference in perspective when looking at these arches from the main trail versus observing them from the trail that returns from Dark Angel Viewpoint.
It is 4.1 miles roundtrip from the trailhead to these arches and back.
Dark Angel Viewpoint
A massive 150ft tall sandstone spire watches over the rest of Devil’s Garden. Standing below will make you feel incredibly small and humbled. Looking out beyond will provide you with sweeping and stunning green views of Salt Valley. You might even spy a small road that cuts through the valley leading towards what appears to be a group of fins, much like the long and winding drive to a remote castle. Worth a few moments to soak it in.
4.7 miles roundtrip. This spur trail is the last stop before the primitive trail begins if you are doing the entire Devil’s Garden Loop.
You can start the Primitive Trail from Double O Arch after the Spur Trail out to Dark Angel (if hiking clockwise), or at the intersection with Landscape Arch (if hiking counter-clockwise). This is the most difficult section of the Devil’s Garden loop as it requires route finding, and some rock scrambling, and includes uneven and steep terrain and sharp drop-offs.
We did not find this overly difficult to navigate. We also found this to be the easiest part of the route to find additional opportunities for solitude, challenge, and adventure which we really enjoyed. Arches National Park is busy and can have a rushed, get up, snap a picture, and move on, type of feeling. We loved the contrast of how the Primitive Trail feels, comparatively.
Distance: 2.1 miles, one way
The Primitive Trail has lots of sand, beautiful views, and lots of green vegetation. It also has opportunities to explore massive fins that may one day become arches themselves!
This thick arch is hidden away, making it a great place for a shaded reprieve.
Location: 0.42 miles from Double O Arch/Primitive Trail Junction and 1.68 miles from the junction of the Primitive Trail and Landscape Arch. 5.3 miles out and back from the Devil’s Garden Trailhead using the Primitive Trail. This is the last “point of interest” along the Primitive Trail before hooking back up with the Main Trail where you will find the rest of the arches.
Hiking Details for Devil’s Garden Trail
Devil’s Garden trail in Arches National Park is a fully customizable experience depending on how much time you have and how far you would like to hike. Here you will find a mix of primitive (more strenuous) and non-primitive (less- strenuous) trail options. With 8 Arches and seemingly countless fins to explore, no matter how far you decide to go you will be in for a treat.
Distance: 7.9 mile loop (includes all 8 arches and all spur trails)
Elevation Gain: 1,085 feet
Estimated Duration: Roughly 3.5- 4.5hours (for the entire loop)
Devil’s Garden Trail Route Options:
Option 1: Take a short paved trail to the right at beginning of the hike down to the short sand trails to Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch (.5 miles). Turn back or continue on to Landscape Arch (roughly another .5 miles) and the rest of Devil’s Garden loop, or return
Option 2: Hike out to Landscape Arch (1 mile), return or head further out to Double O Arch (1 additional mile from Landscape Arch, 2 miles from the trailhead). From Double O Arch, you could add on the spur trails to Navajo Arch and Partition Arch before returning (located between Landscape Arch and Double O) or consider going out past Double O Arch to Dark Angel before turning back. This would allow you to see more of what Devil’s Garden has to offer without doing the primitive trail and leaving out Private Arch.
Take Primitive Trail to return from Double O Arch and Dark Angel (completing Devil’s Garden in a clockwise loop)
Option 3: Take the trail to Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch and then connect to the Primitive Trail routing around and back to Landscape Arch, hiking the entire Devil’s Garden Loop in a counter-clockwise direction
We chose to hike counter-clockwise. The split for the loop happens at the intersection of the Primitive Trail and Landscape Arch. By exploring the Primitive Trail first, we were able to spend time climbing over rocks, ducking under dramatic overhangs, and peering over some scary ledges. This route leaves a majority of the arches and “main attractions” for the end of the hike and later in the day when the trail was less busy and the glow of the sunset was lighting the world on fire.
Hiking clockwise would be a great option if you want to hit many of the arches first (maybe even for sunrise) and leave the fun of the Primitive Trail for a less agenda-filled end to your exploration. In our opinion, you can’t really go wrong with which direction you go! We definitely saw fewer hikers on the primitive trail. If you know you prefer to either start or end your hike in only the sounds of nature, away from the buzz of excitement and potential crowds at the arches, this can be another helpful way to decide which way to travel. Or go with your gut in the moment! Sometimes less planning is part of the fun (this is what we did)!
Devil’s Garden Know Before you Go:
The primitive section of the trail is a fun way to get in touch with the uninhibited natural landscape. We did see a note that someone spotted a rattlesnake in this section so be on the lookout!
You can make portions of this trail an out and back if you want to avoid the deeper sand and rock scrambling on the primitive trail. (For example: hike to Landscape Arch, out to Navajo and Partition Arches, further out to Double O Arch and Dark Angel and then turn around and head back)
Several offshoots to arches and rock formations along this route can be tricky to spot. Download offline maps from AllTrails or be on the lookout – you won’t want to miss any!
The trail might appear crowded at first, but once you get farther out from the trailhead you will notice far fewer people
When to Hike Devil’s Garden
Season: Spring, Winter, Fall. This trail is open year-round and Summer is an option, just know it can get very hot! Be prepared with ample water, sunscreen, a hat, etc. for summer hiking in Arches National Park.
We were lucky enough to complete this hike after work during a visit in May. We had secured a 4pm-5pm Timed Entry ticket for a Wednesday and started the hike around 5, finishing up just as darkness was setting in. This treated us to a beautiful sunset and some amazing wildlife grazing on our way out! Bring a picnic and make a night of it, or swing by Gilibierto’s for some drive-through Mexican on the way back to Moab for the night. Nothing says a successful hike like some Mexican food!
As one of the longest and most picturesque hikes in the park, if you can make time for the Devil’s Garden Trail, we think you will find it worthwhile.
Devil’s Garden Trail Map
Is the Devil’s Garden Trail worth it?
The Devil’s Garden trail is a great option if you are looking for a longer, non-permitted hike in Arches National Park that will allow you to explore several arches and breathtaking rock formations. This unique adventure is one of the premier features of this park!
Completing the entire loop will allow you to venture away from the crowds and see a large cross-section of the park both up close on the trail and by gazing out at the vast landscape from various overlooks and viewpoints. The trail even includes some rock scrambling (on the Primitive Trail) and the opportunity to climb and venture off route a bit at times if you are feeling extra adventurous!
The Primitive Trail does include some steep climbing and sharp drop-offs in addition to deeper sand. If you are uncomfortable with uneven terrain and deep sand or are afraid of heights, you might consider sticking to the main trail and adapting the hike to meet your needs rather than completing the entire loop. You can have a great experience either way!
Fulfilling Travel Tips
Be Present. Be Where Your Feet Are.
In search of seclusion? One great option for a mindful moment is to climb under Private Arch once you arrive. Climb the rocks on the other side to get away from where people may enter the area to view the arch. Here you can enjoy some quiet time (or a snack/meal) while looking back at the arch. Here you also get to appreciate the massive fins found in this area that may one day form new magnificent arches. If you are hiking after work or in the afternoon, this is also a shady spot where you can start to see the glow of orange falling on the rocks in this area for some added ambiance.
Consider taking some time to close your eyes here and tap into your senses without sight. What do you notice you hear, smell, feel, or taste? With so much beauty to see on this hike, it can be a great opportunity to utilize other senses and prime them to make for a really immersive experience on the rest of your hike.
What we found fulfilling about Devil’s Garden Trail
Devil’s Garden Trail in Arches National Park is a wonderful desert adventure and one of the few longer hikes you can do in this amazing U.S. National Park. This trail takes you on a path to discover 8 different arches, beautiful and grand rock formations, and fins. It provides the opportunity to explore some more remote parts of the park.
Far away from the roads, overlooks, and coach buses you can see clear evidence of how the over 2,000 magnificent arches in this park came to be, where new ones might form one day, and where current ones might crumble away.
There are also plenty of amazing photo opportunities, the option to explore on your own via off-route rock scrambling and secure some quiet moments or bask in the red glow of a dramatic sunset setting over the fins and arches and the larger Salt Valley.
The Devil’s Garden hike is a great option to see a large section of the park on a trail that is not overly strenuous, yet covers enough area that you can be removed from some of the larger crowds. The perfect opportunity to slow down, let it all soak in, and really connect with nature for a while.
Devil’s Garden Trail Overall
One of the longer and more adventurous feeling hikes in Arches National Park, Devil’s Garden is a perfect way to spend a morning, a day, or an afternoon in the park.
We would recommend this hike, along with the Fiery Furnace if you can secure a permit and Delicate Arch, as great ways to feel immersed in the experiences Arches National Park offers, even if it means missing some of the “more popular” destinations.
While you are exploring Devil’s Garden, climb up to view the precariously balanced Landscape Arch from above, run out on a ledge that seems to jet out into the La Sal Mountains, peer out into the Salt Valley and let your imagination run wild, and watch the dance of the sun bleeding into the horizon. Sit quietly in awe of the precious snapshot you have of the world just as it is now, knowing it is wholly unique from how it ever was before or how it will one day be.
With the right mindset and perspective, hiking Devil’s Garden can be an experience so much more than checking 8 new arches off your bucket list.
PLAN YOUR FULFILLING GETAWAY TO ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
Reserve Your Arches National Park Timed Entry Ticket:
Arches National Park Campgrounds:
Moab Area Accommodations:
Moab is full of great campsites, ranging from RV resorts to no-frills campgrounds, and free boondocking.
If you are looking for the perfect one-stop shop for comparing RV parks, private campgrounds, and glamping options and prices with instant booking, we highly recommend Campspot. Our other favorite resources for finding great campgrounds and campsites include Campendium, RV Life, and iOverlander. These sites will include private campground options, state and national park campgrounds, and free camping areas on public land.
Here are some highly rated campgrounds in Moab:
- Sun Outdoors Moab Downtown (RV Resort with amenities)
- St. Dane’s Cabins & Campground (no frills full hook-ups on a budget)
- Ken’s Lake Campground (paid BLM campground with dry camping)
- Horsethief BLM Campground
If you are looking to get closer to nature but don’t have an RV, consider renting one through Outdoorsy, or RV Share. We used both of these services when renting out our Casita and found them to be high quality and easy to use!
Another great option is glamping or nature-centric stays. Here are some great options near Arches National Park:
You can explore all Moab area accommodations and compare prices on Booking.com, which is a great resource for unique stays at the best rates.
Please protect these areas - for the wildlife, the environment, and for the enjoyment of future generations. Practice Leave No Trace