Distance: 7.9 mile loop | Time: 3 – 4 hours | Level: Moderate – Hard
Devils Garden Trail is an adventurous loop with incredible views of Arches National Park. While Delicate Arch receives most of the hype in the park, Devils Garden Trail boasts eight different arches, including the longest arch in North America.
Devils Garden Trail is sort of like a choose-your-own-adventure experience. You can opt to explore the several spur trails, navigate the primitive trail loop, or take a short out-and-back trek.
However you choose to experience Devils Garden, it’s bound to be one of your most memorable experiences in Arches National Park.
In this guide, I cover what to expect hiking Devils Garden Trail, why you should do the primitive loop, the best time to hike the trail, and how to snag a camping spot at Devils Garden Campground. I also include other must-do hikes when visiting Arches National park.
Complete Guide to Hiking Devils Garden Trail
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How to Access the Trail
Devils Garden Trail is located roughly 18 miles north of the Arches National Park entrance. The trail sits at the very end of the park road. Still, the area is surprisingly packed.
To reach the trailhead, visitors must take a 45-minute drive through the stunning landscape of Arches National Park. The trail has a large parking area but it’s not uncommon for the lot to fill up early.
To avoid having to sit and wait for hikers to finish, I recommend adding Devils Garden Trail to the front of your to-do list. Once you’ve explored the end of the park, you can spend the rest of your day working backward toward the entrance.
Best Time to Hike Devils Garden Trail
Time of Day
Sunrise hiking is always a good idea when exploring southern Utah. During our Utah Mighty 5 road trip, we did it all: sunrise hiking, mid-day hiking, sunset hiking, and even starry-night hiking.
Anytime we bit the bullet and set our alarms for the crack of dawn, we had a magical trail experience. While there are many reasons to hit the trail early, the most important reason, when it comes to Arches National Park, is just ensuring you get in.
With its small size, the park can fill up quickly. It’s not uncommon during the busy months for the parking lots to become full by 8:00 a.m. When this happens, the park entrance temporarily restricts access for additional visitors.
Park entry can be restricted for hours.
Your safest bet to guarantee a day in Arches National Park is arriving before, or at, sunrise. On the plus side, doing so will allow you to witness the desert at its most beautiful time of day, explore the park before the crowds, and beat the heat. Especially important if you’re like us and visiting Arches during the peak summer heat.
Time of Year
Peak park months are March-October. If you want to experience fewer crowds and cooler temperatures, consider visiting in the off, or shoulder, seasons.
We took our Arizona-Utah road trip in the summer and therefore visited Arches National Park in July.
It was not only scorchingly hot but it was also packed. While we had an incredible time, we often found ourselves daydreaming of what the park would be like in the winter months.
What to Expect Hiking Devils Garden
We arrived right at sunrise, found a parking spot, and headed toward the trailhead. To be honest, I was initially taken aback by the number of people congregating near the trail information board.
When researching the trail, I saw the long distance for Devils Garden and naturally assumed there would be fewer hikers. However, because the trail can be completed in sections, Devils Garden receives quite a bit of foot traffic and attracts hikers of all experience levels.
The trail clocks in at roughly 7.9 miles if all spur trails are explored along the way.
Before hitting the trail, consider using the bathroom and filling up your water bottle. There are vault toilets and a refillable water station located at the trailhead.
Luckily, many of the hikers we encountered were only hiking to Landscape Arch and back. While hiking to Landscape Arch, hikers have the option to explore two spur trails, one to Pine Tree Arch and one to Tunnel Arch.
If you’re up for it these detour trails only add about 20 minutes to your total hiking time. We opted to skip, mainly because it seemed as though that’s where the crowds were headed and we were trying to create distance between us and them.
The trail to Landscape Arch is well maintained with little elevation change. The scenery is beautiful in all directions as you make your way through the towering sandstone pinnacles.
Landscape Arch is one of the longest arches in the world. How cool is that?! The arch is roughly 300 feet long, and only 11 feet wide at its most fragile point.
Unfortunately, hikers must admire the arch from afar as it is no longer safe to stand under or near the arch. Recent rock fall and the arch’s diminishing sturdiness indicate that the lifespan of Landscape Arch is nearing its end.
Make sure to make the trip to Landscape Arch to witness it before it collapses.
The Primitive Trail
Hikers are faced with a decision once they reach Landscape Arch: continue left towards Double O Arch or take a right to explore the longer, more adventurous, Primitive Trail.
If you are like us and always keen for an off-the-beaten-path adventure, I highly recommend taking the primitive trail. The primitive section was hands down, my favorite portion of Devils Garden Trail.
Along the Primitive Trail, hikers feel fully immersed in all the beauty Arches National Park has to offer. The views of the park are endless, in every direction.
The best part about opting to explore the Primitive Trail, however, is leaving the crowds behind.
Because the Primitive Trail section adds length and difficulty to the hike, many hikers choose to make the trail to Double O Arch an out-and-back trek rather than a loop.
The Primitive Trail is a 2.1-mile alternative route for getting to Double O Arch (or vice versa). Due to some steep inclines and slick rock sections, I recommend hiking the loop counterclockwise.
This section of the trail is undoubtedly the most difficult. The trail is much less defined and involves some steeper sections and bouts of scrambling.
There are also some tricky spots where the trail can be hard to follow. Rock cairns definitely help show the way but we 100% would have lost the trail had we not had it downloaded on AllTrails. We luckily stumbled upon two other hikers wandering around desperately trying to find their way and were able to redirect them to the trail.
Moral of the story? Always have an offline map on hand.
There’s also a smaller arch, Private Arch, that hikers can opt to hike to before continuing onto Double O Arch.
Double O Arch
Once you reach Double O Arch you’ve reconnected with the main trail. You’ll know it by the re-emergence of hikers.
We happened upon Double O Arch just as the sun was hitting it. The arch earned its name by the presence of not one, but two arches carved into the sandstone rock face. It’s a beautiful sight but we didn’t stay long due to the presence of so many others.
From Double O Arch you can also spot Dark Angel, a unique sandstone spire with an eerie appearance. Hikers have the option to hike to the formation, as well.
The hike from Double O Arch back towards Landscape Arch was stunning and full of adventure. You take most of your steps atop sandstone ridges. What’s so unique about this portion of the trail is that you’re hiking on top of future arches!
The elevated trail and steep drop-offs not only keep things interesting but also make for some epic views. We never wanted Devils Garden Trail to end.
On the way back to the trailhead hikers have the option to explore two more spur trails: Navajo Arch and Partition Arch. Also, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife while hiking out. We were lucky enough to see a grazing deer as we were nearing the end of the trail.
There is always something so magical about seeing wildlife in crowded national parks. A gentle, and much-needed reminder, that they were here first. We are only visitors.
Camping Near Arches National Park
What better way to experience Arches National Park than to actually camp inside the park limits?
While there are several lodging options in Moab, you can’t beat the adventure of sleeping under the stars. And boy, do the stars put on a show above Arches for those who remember to look up.
Devils Garden Campground
There is only one campground inside the park and it’s conveniently located right next to Devils Garden Trail. We would have loved to camp there during our stay but the campground is reservation only during the months of March-October and was already full during our dates.
The spots at Devils Garden Campground fill up quickly and months in advance. Make sure to plan early if staying here is on your bucket list.
The campground has flush and vault toilets, as well as potable water. Where the campground lacks showers and phone service, it definitely makes up for in views.
Campsites are $25.
For visitors coming during the months of November – February, sites are first-come-first-served.
If you’re like us and couldn’t snag a spot at the campground, prefer to be a little more off-grid, or would just rather camp for free, check out Willow Springs.
Willow Springs is a free, dispersed camping area in Moab located near Arches National Park.
You can actually access the park from the BLM camping area via a gnarly, gravel, and bedrock backroad. Unless your car has high clearance, 4WD, and you’re comfortable navigating some pretty sketchy terrain, I don’t advise it. More than once we regretted our decision to take it.
While Willow Springs is primitive camping, it’s popular and not much of a secret. The area is so large and spread out though it’s easy to snag a spot. Shady spots, however, are few and far between.
There are no amenities here but thankfully the camping and views are free.
More Must-Do Hikes in Arches National Park
While this list could go on forever, I do want to point out two other hikes we did during our trip to Arches that were particularly magical.
Delicate Arch Trail
While hiking to Delicate Arch is a no-brainer, the time of day you choose to see Delicate Arch is crucial.
There are hoards upon hoards of people making the trek to Delicate Arch, every day. Therefore, to make the most of your experience I recommend hiking Delicate Arch Trail at sunrise. And by sunrise, I mean starting the hike in pitch black.
While there were still a good amount of people sitting along the rim waiting for the sun to rise, it was a magical shared experience. Not to mention, we passed 10x the amount of hikers headed to the arch as we were headed out.
Tower Arch Trail
If I had to choose just one favorite hike in Arches National Park, it would be Tower Arch Trail. Tower Arch Trail had all the beauty of typical hikes in the park, without the crowds.
We passed only two, two, other hikers while hiking to Tower Arch. It was incredible, surreal almost. Not to mention, everywhere you look there are sweeping views of unique sandstone formations.
Once we arrived at the arch we didn’t even want to leave. It’s not every day you get to have, what feels like, an entire National Park to yourself.
Have you been to Arches National Park or planning a Utah Mighty 5 road trip? Drop any questions you have about hiking in the park or other nearby Moab adventures in the comment section below!
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