Julie United States 6 Comments

The Devils Garden Trail has all of the ingredients for a perfect hike in Arches National Park. If you hike the entire 7.8-mile loop, you get to see eight arches! Along the way, go rock scrambling, hike along fins of sandstone rock, and enjoy some of the best views of the park.

What makes the Devils Garden Trail so great is that you can pick and choose what you want to do. You can simply hike round trip to Landscape Arch (it’s only 1.6 miles round trip). From the main trail there are two spur trails that detour to more arches. Once you get to the end of the main trail, you can hike back the way you came or try out your route finding skills on the Primitive Trail.

If you are visiting Arches as a family or in a group, some people may choose to explore the easier trails at the front of the hike. Those feeling more adventurous can keep going. As you approach Double O Arch, the trail gets more difficult (and more fun) now that you have short sections of rock scrambling. The views from the sandstone fins are unbeatable. And hiking back on the Primitive Trail is a great way to add a little adventure to your day.

How to Hike the Devils Garden Trail

Overview of the Hike

Round Trip to Landscape Arch:  1.6 miles, 1 hour
Round Trip to Double O Arch:  4.2 miles, 2 – 2.5 hours
Round Trip to Dark Angel:  5 miles, 2 – 3 hours
To Dark Angel, return on Primitive Trail:  5.9 miles, 2.5 – 3.5 hours
Spur Trail to Pinetree and Tunnel Arches:  0.5 miles, 20 minutes
Spur Trail to Navajo and Partition Arches:  0.8 miles, 30 minutes
Total Distance (Dark Angel, Primitive Trail, all arches):  7.8 miles, 3 – 4 hours

Difficulty:  It is an easy hike to Landscape Arch, with a few ups and downs along the trail. Beyond Landscape Arch, the hike is moderately difficult, with several short, steep climbs and some rock scrambling.

Total Ascent: 1,350 feet (for the full loop)

Devils Garden Trail Map

Map of the trail. The main trail is red. The Primitive Trail is blue. The yellow trails are spur trails and the purple trail goes to Dark Angel.

Devils Garden Trail Elevation Profile

Devils Garden Trail Elevation Profile

Getting to the Trailhead

Park in the enormous parking lot at the end of Devils Garden Road. The trailhead is well marked and there are restrooms here if you need them.

Trail to Pinetree and Tunnel Arches

The main trail is well graded and relatively flat until you get to Landscape Arch. Along the way, you will walk through sandstone fins, just like these at the very start of the hike.

Start of Devils Garden Trail

About 10 minutes into the hike you have the option to take the spur trail to the right. This takes you to two arches. This short trail is 0.5 miles round trip and adds 15 to 20 minutes to your hike.

Tunnel Arch

Tunnel Arch

The first arch is Tunnel Arch. You can only view it from a distance but it’s worth a quick look.

Pinetree Arch

Pinetree Arch

Pinetree Arch is better, in my opinion. You get to see it up close and if there aren’t too many people here, you can take photos in the arch.

Take the spur trail back to the main trail and continue the walk to Landscape Arch. Here is the view along the way.

Devils Garden Trail Photo

Landscape Arch

Follow the main trail until you get to Landscape Arch. This arch has one of the world’s longest spans. It stretches 306 feet but it is only 11 feet wide in its narrowest section. In 1991, a portion of the arch fell and this is all that remains. At some point, hopefully not too soon, the rest of the arch will fall.

There are several different viewpoints here so have fun photographing the arch.

Landscape Arch

You can turn around here or keep hiking to Double O Arch. This is when the hike really starts to get fun.

Trail to Navajo and Partition Arches

From Landscape Arch, hike up the sandstone fins. Enjoy the spectacular view back over the main trail.

On the Devils Garden Trail

Devils Garden Trail

It does not take long to reach the spur trail to Navajo and Partition Arches. If you choose to take this trail, it adds 0.8 miles round trip and it takes about 30 minutes to visit both arches.

The spur trail splits and you can visit these arches in either order.

Partition Arch

From Partition Arch, enjoy the view of Arches National Park and the landscape of Devils Garden through “the window.”

Partition Arch

Navajo Arch

This wide, low arch looks and feels more like a cave than an arch.

Navajo Arch

On the Trail to Double O Arch

As you hike towards Double O Arch, the scenery keeps getting better and the trail gets less crowded.

Follow the signs for Double O Arch. The trail is well marked until you get to one large, sandstone fin. Shown in the photo below, you climb up onto the fin and then turn right to walk on top of it. The views from here are incredible on one of my favorites in Arches National Park.

Trail to Double O Arch

Devils Garden Hike

How to Hike the Devils Garden Trail

Black Arch Overlook

Before you get to Double O Arch, you will see a sign for Black Arch Overlook. This 2-minute detour is well worth it. Not only can you see the Black Arch, way off in the distance, but the landscape is amazing here.

Black Arch

Double O Arch

A little bit of rock scrambling over the sandstone fins and finally you are at Double O Arch. This looks like a smaller version of Double Arch at the front of the park.

Double O Arch

From here, you can walk back to your car or continue the adventure.

Dark Angel

Dark Angel is a giant pillar of sandstone rock. To get here, take the trail from Double O Arch. This detour adds 0.8 miles to the hike.

If you skip one arch/landmark on this hike, Dark Angel would be the one. It’s not nearly as interesting as the other arches and rock formations on the Devils Garden Trail, and you can see it off in the distance as you hike to Double O Arch, so there’s no need to hike right up to it. 

Dark Angel

Double O Arch ANP

The view of Double O Arch on the hike back from Dark Angel.

Once you visit Dark Angel, you can return to your car on the main trail or take the Primitive Trail.

The Primitive Trail

The Primitive Trail is a poorly marked trail but it takes you through some of the best scenery in Arches National Park. Expect sections of rock scrambling and a few short, strenuous climbs. For part of the hike, you are walking in a wash (a dry riverbed), so there may be small pools of water that you have to jump over. 

You will need to do a bit of route finding to stay on the trail. For most of the way, the trail is marked with cairns, stacked stones that serve as trail markers. However, these cairns are few and far between in some spots, so they can be difficult to spot.

It is very easy to lose the trail. The first time we hiked Devils Garden, we lost the trail and wandered around for a little bit. We saw several other groups of people wandering around, lost as well. There are numerous “false trails.” These are trails that were formed by other hikers who stumbled off the main trail, creating short, dead-end trails. They can be very misleading.

The second time around, we did a lot better. We never lost the trail, taking the time to spot the rock cairns, and cheating a little bit, by following the map on our Garmin Fenix watches. 

If you don’t have a GPS device, my advice is to hike to one cairn and then look for the next one. You can also cache the trail map on your phone and use this to double check your location. On our most recent visit, we had a weak cellular signal, but I wouldn’t depend on this as a navigation tool.

While on the Primitive Trail, you can add on the short detour to Private Arch. It’s a small, low arch and you may it all to yourself.

On the Primitive Trail

On the Primitive Trail

 Private Arch Trail

On the spur trail to Private Arch

 

Private Arch

Private Arch

Beyond the spur trail for Private Arch, the trail gets a little harder to follow. It is very important that you keep spotting those rock cairns. The trail will make a sharp turn to the left, climb up and over a fin of sandstone, and then turn right again. This is the section where most people lose the trail.

Rock Cairn Primitive Trail

This is the trickiest section. The arrow is pointing to one of the few rock cairns. They can be hard to spot since they really blend in with the landscape.

After climbing up and over numerous fins of rock, it is a long, somewhat boring hike on a sandy trail until you get back to the main trail. The Primitive Trail meets up with the main trail near Landscape Arch. From here, it is about a 30-minute walk to the parking lot.

Primitive Trail Devils Garden

Shorter Variation of the Devils Garden Trail

So, what if you want to hike the best sections of the Devils Garden Trail without going all 7.8 miles? There is a way you can do it.

Hike to Landscape Arch and continue to Double O Arch. In my opinion, the section of trail between Landscape Arch and Double O Arch is the best of the hike. Skip Navajo and Partition Arches. They are nice but they add almost 1 mile and 30 minutes of hiking. Don’t bother going out to Dark Angel. It’s not all that exciting and you can actually see it in the distance as you hike to Double O Arch. The quickest way back to your car is to retrace your steps (4.5 miles round-trip), but if you like the idea of route-finding and a little more adventure, return on the Primitive Trail (5 miles round-trip).

Finally, you have the option to add in Tunnel Arch and Pinetree Arch (0.5 miles extra) before you get back to the parking lot. 

Tips to Have the Best Experience

Cache maps before you go. You might have a weak cellular signal on the Devils Garden Trail but I wouldn’t depend on it. However, you can still use the GPS on your phone to get your location on the hike.

Bring sunscreen. There is very little shade on the trail.

Bring plenty of water. In the warmer months, plan on bringing at least 2 to 3 liters of water per person, especially if you plan to hike the entire loop.

Hiking with Kids. This is a great trail for kids. Younger kids should be able to handle the trail to Landscape Arch. Older, more adventurous kids will love the hike between Landscape Arch and Double O Arch. There are drop-offs while walking on the fins, so keep an eye on young kids here. If you feel confident in your route finding skills, consider taking older kids on the Primitive Trail.

About Our Visit

We have hiked this trail twice.

The first time was on December 27, 2018. During the Christmas holiday season, the parking lots were usually full but the park didn’t feel too crowded. The clouds in the sky were from a storm that was dropping snow in nearby Canyonlands National Park. Too bad it didn’t snow during our visit to Arches. That would have been a treat!

Here are a few photos from our first hike, and a little bit of snow on the ground. 

Hike Devils Garden Trail

Devils Garden Trail December

Devils Garden Trail

More recently, we visited Arches National Park in November 2020. We had crystal clear skies and low crowds, lower than you would see during the winter holiday season. November is a great time to visit Arches National Park, since crowd levels tend to be low. Just be prepared for chilly temperatures and a small chance of snow.

If you are new to hiking or are curious about what you should bring on a hike, check out our Essential Hiking Gear Guide. Find out what we carry in our day packs and what we wear on the trails. 


Are you planning a trip to Arches National Park? If you have any questions about this hike or the park, comment below!

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Read all of our articles about Utah in our Utah Destination Guide.

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Comments 6

  1. Hi Julie! We just hiked this trail the other day and it was definitely our favorite! We love to rock scramble so this trail was perfect for that. I use AllTrails and had downloaded the map from there. We lost the cairns once & followed what I thought was the trail. Then, I pulled out my phone & saw that we were about 50 ft off the trail. We did every spur trail but Private. Have you hiked to Corona Arch on BLM land? We really enjoyed that hike too.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Beth. I’m glad you liked the hike! We are actually in Capitol Reef right now and will be heading over to Arches in a few days. We have not hiked Corona Arch yet but I’ll look into it. Thanks! Cheers, Julie

  2. Hi Julie, thanks so much for all of your advice! I love your national park guides 🙂 This is kind of random, but do you have a specific brand of winter hiking pants that you have had good luck with?

    1. Post
      Author

      I don’t have “winter” hiking pants, but I can’t live without Prana Halle straight hiking pants. Cheers, Julie

  3. What did you use for maps on your hikes. I see you noted “Cache your maps before you go.” What maps do you mean? Do you recommend a specific ap?

    1. Post
      Author

      We use Google Maps on our phones. I know that you can also do this with Apple’s map app. Simply open the map, zoom in until you see the trail in detail, and don’t close the app. When you open up the app while hiking, you can still see the map in detail, and the GPS should work so that you can see your location on the trail. Cheers, Julie

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