If there is one must-do hike in Arches National Park, I think it has to be the Devil’s Garden Loop hike that includes the Primitive Trail. Over its 7.2 mile length, if you include all the spur trails, you are treated to the highest concentration of arches in the world.
Where is the trailhead for the Devil’s Garden Hike?
The trailhead for this hike is located at the end of the main road. It can be crazy busy but don’t let that put you off. Once you step onto the Primitive Trail Loop or continue past Landscape Arch you lose 90% of the people. They’re probably put off by the warning signs saying “Caution: Primitive Trail: Difficult Hiking”. That’s not to say there aren’t a couple of slippery spots, even slightly airy spots but the trail is very doable if you’ve got a good fitness level.
What can you expect on the Devil’s Garden Primitive Trail hike?
The Devil’s Garden hike over-delivers in the scenery department from the minute you set foot on the trail.
If you do all the spur trails – which we did not – you can expect to see the following arches: Landscape Arch, Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, Double O Arch, Private Arch, Black Arch, Navajo Arch, Partition Arch and Wall Arch.
In early April by mid-afternoon the hiking is actually hot. Do carry a hat, sunscreen and bring several litres of water.
At the section pictured below, I figure our group of four is now on YouTube. The gentleman escorting his girlfriend had his video out while we helped her navigate a slippery section of slickrock. He didn’t as much as offer to help but was very keen on getting the whole ordeal on camera. I’d dump him if I were her with that attitude.
Do you know the difference between and arch and a bridge?
Typically there’s water under a bridge – though in the desert it may be sporadic – and there isn’t water under an arch. It seems there are always exceptions but it’s a good rule of thumb.
Other hikes in Arches National Park
There are another eight hikes in the park ranging in length from 0.3 – 3.0 miles round-trip. None are particularly difficult – and all are worthwhile. Do get to trailheads early at this time of year if you want to get a parking spot.
The one hike you must sign up to do is called the Fiery Furnace hike. You can reserve online – and you should especially for morning tours which fill months in advance.
The entrance fee to Arches National Park for a vehicle is $US10 – and it’s good for a week.
Before you go – read Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire.
Other posts you might enjoy from this trip:
- A Sunrise Visit to Dead Horse Point State Park
- Balanced Rock at Sunset, Arches National Park
- The Navajo Knobs Hike in Capital Reef National Park
- The Murphy Point Hike in the Islands in the Sky Area, Canyonlands NP