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Hiking the Devil’s Garden Trail – Best Hike in Arches National Park!

The Devil’s Garden trail in Arches National Park is the longest and most difficult maintained hike in the park! But, it’s also the most fun, and most beautiful (in my humble opinion).

I’m usually not super stoked about hiking in the desert – it’ll do in the winter, but I really prefer mountains and greenery, but this hike truly was one of my favorites, ever. There are so many arches to see (many of which are remote and private), and you’ll be scrambling on rocks, walking along rocky fins with steep drop offs on both sides, and on the primitive trail, you’ll often be hiking with no one else around.

This trail is kind of a choose-your-own-adventure, because the loop has several offshoots where you can take detours to see the different arches, like the famous Landscape Arch. This guide will tell you about the Devil’s Garden Trail, all of the arches you can see along the way, safety tips (these are important – the trail is no joke!), directions, and more!

Head’s up: some of these links are affiliate links, so I get a commission if you make a purchase (at no cost to you). But that’s great, because I was going to share anyway, and this helps me keep making free guides for you!

Safety Tips for the Devil’s Garden Trail

First things first, a note about safety.

While I was hiking the Devil’s Garden Trail, there were two different groups of people that had to hike with me for a while because they didn’t have a map and couldn’t find the trail. I’m glad I was there and that they didn’t get far off the trail before I met up with them, but please have a map handy if you’re hiking the primitive trail at Devil’s Garden! This trail truly is hard to follow at times – there are a few signs and cairns here and there, but there are a lot of places where it’s really hard to tell which way the trail goes. Even with the map, there were a lot of times where I thought, “is this really the right way?” because there are a lot of rock scrambles and steep climbs.

I use All Trails for maps – the Pro version, AllTrails+, is really helpful, and allows you to download offline maps, but even with the free version, you can load the map before your hike (while you have service), and as long as you keep the app open, you’ll be able to use the map on the trail!

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The trail is long, there isn’t much shade, and it’s a difficult hike, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience. Make sure to bring lots of water, and have a map!

And if you’re afraid of heights, I wouldn’t recommend the Primitive Trail – there are places where you have to climb up steep rock slopes, and places where you walk on fins with drop offs on both sides. I recommend hiking to Landscape Arch and back, but after this arch is when the trail gets tough!

About the Devil’s Garden Trail

Before you hit the trail, here’s what you need to know about the Devil’s Garden trail!

Devil’s GArden Trail Stats

  • Distance: 7.9 miles (12.6 kilometers) loop – but you can make it shorter by skipping some spur trails
  • Elevation Gain: 1085 feet (331 meters)
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Hike Time: I consider myself to be an average hiker, and this trail took me 3 hours and 50 minutes. I took all of the spur trails except for the one to the Dark Angel (which saved a little under a mile). You can check out my hike on Strava!

Leave No Trace on the Devil’s Garden Trail

Anytime you’re outdoors, it’s essential that you practice Leave No Trace (LNT). LNT is a set of seven principles that help us understand our impact on the outdoors – because while we usually have good intentions, the environment is more fragile than we think, and one snap-second decision can cause damage to the environment that will take the earth years, even decades to repair. This is a pretty popular hike, so it’s super important to make sure to prevent damage!

Leave No Trace means enjoying the outdoors without disrupting nature, as much as it’s possible to do so. Here are the 7 principles of LNT, and how they apply when you hike the Devil’s Garden Trail!

  • Plan ahead and prepare – read this guide, make sure you have the right gear, and bring extra water. And definitely have a map downloaded!
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces – stay on the trail and don’t take any shortcuts, as this causes erosion, kills plant life, and damages trails. Arches has cryptobiotic soil, which means the crust is alive! Stepping on it kills it, so stay on the trail. You’re also not allowed to climb any arches in the park, as this can lead to erosion and breakage.
  • Dispose of waste properly – don’t leave trash, or anything else, behind. Pack it out!
  • Leave what you find – I know it can be tempting to take a cool rock, but leave these things where they belong! Animals often use these, and if everyone takes one, the trail won’t be as pretty.
  • Minimize campfire impacts – campfires are not allowed on the trail.
  • Respect wildlife – don’t approach wild animals, and never feed them.
  • Be considerate of other visitors – yield to other hikers, and be respectful – no speakers or loud music.

The Best Time to Hike the Devil’s Garden Trail

The best time to hike the Devil’s Garden Trail is usually late spring or early fall.

Summers are very hot, and can be uncomfortable, and dangerous, for hiking – there’s very little shade on this trail.

Winters get cold, but this can be a great time to hike the Devil’s Trail! There will be fewer people on the trail, and daytime temperatures usually range from the high 40s to low 50s. However, night time does get below freezing, and it does sometimes snow. One thing to keep in mind is that roads and trails can close in the winter due to ice or snow, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend hiking here if there’s ice on the trail or if it’s wet – the rock scrambles can be very slippery.

Don’t Forget Your Pass!

To hike the Devil’s Garden Trail, you will need to pay the entrance fee for the park – and you’ll need to display your pass in your car anytime you park.

It costs $35 per car, but if you visit national parks often (or at least more than twice a year), I recommend getting an America the Beautiful Pass! It’s an annual pass that will get you into every national park in the country for an entire year, for just $80.

You can purchase either pass on your way into the park, or get an America the Beautiful pass online ahead of time!

What to Bring to Hike the Devil’s Garden Trail

When you hike at Devil’s Garden, here’s what you’ll need to bring! To see all of my favorite gear picks, you can check out my Rockporch.

What to Wear to Hike the Devil’s Garden Trail

What to Bring to Hike Devil’s Garden


Bonus Tip: A lot of these links are for my favorite place to buy outdoor gear – Backcountry. If you install the free Lolli extension on your browser, you can earn free Bitcoin when you shop online at certain retailers, including Backcountry. You can transfer it to a crypto wallet, or just cash out to your bank account.

Directions to the Devil’s Garden Trail

The trailhead for the Devil’s Garden hike is located in Arches National Park. If you’re flying in for your trip, the park is pretty remote, and a little far from major airports. The closest major airport is in Salt Lake City (230 miles from the park entrance), and there is the small Canyonlands Field Airpoirt (CFY) that’s just outside the park, and a regional airport in Grand Junction (GJT) that’s 109 miles from the park entrance.

Expedia is a good way to find flights and rental cars, and I super recommend signing up for Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) – they send you amazing deals, so you can find cheap flights. The free account is great and totally worth the few minutes it takes to sign up, and I do recommend the premium account too!

You do need a car to get to the park. If you fly, you can rent a car through Discover Cars or Rental Cars. But, a great alternative to a rental car is a tiny home on wheels! With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans. Another option for vans is to use Outdoorsy, which is more like Airbnb for campers – you can rent a van, RV, or trailer from a person in the area.

To get to Arches National Park from Salt Lake City, you’ll take I-15 S > US-6 E at Spanish Fork > US-191 S to the entrance.

From Grand Junction, you take I-70 W > US-191 S to the entrance.

From Moab, the park is a quick drive north on US-191.

Once you get to the park, you’ll take the main road (Arches National Park Road) all the way to the end. At the end of the road is the parking area for the trailhead and for the Devil’s Garden Campground.

Devil’s Garden Trailhead Coordinates: 38.7828917,-109.5955419

Hiking the Devil’s Garden Trail

Once you’ve parked and are ready to start hiking, here’s what you can expect on the Devil’s Garden Trail!

Devil’s Garden Trailhead

This is a popular hike, and while the parking area is pretty big, it can occasionally be hard to find a spot. Getting there early in the morning can definitely help. There are trash cans and toilets at the trailhead, and the hike starts next to the toilets.

The trail is pretty flat to begin with, taking you between tall rock walls.

Tunnel Arch

About .25 miles (0.4 km) from the trailhead, you’ll reach the first spur trail. Tunnel Arch is only about a minute’s walk off the main trail, and you’ll take another right after you come down the hill.

Tunnel Arch along the Devil's Garden Trail.

Pine Tree Arch

Pine Tree Arch is on this spur trail as well – once you’ve seen Tunnel Arch, go back a bit and continue on the trail. It’s a short walk to get there, and you can walk right up to this arch!

After this, go back up the hill and continue on the main trail.

Pine Tree Arch on the Devils Garden Trail.

Primitive Trail

After this, the trail starts going uphill a bit more, and soon you’ll come to a fork. This is the start of the loop, so you can go in either direction. There’s a sign here, pointing right for the Primitive Trail and left for Landscape Arch. If you’re doing the whole loop, I recommend going right – the primitive portion of the Devil’s Garden trail is the hardest, so it’s better to get this done first.

As soon as you start walking along the Primitive Trail, you’ll likely notice that it’s gotten much quieter. While the first portion of this trail is busy, the crowds definitely drop off a ton as you walk on the more wild, undeveloped section of trail. The sand under your feet is soft, making this a bit of a calf workout, but the trail goes downhill for a bit. Make sure to check your map occasionally to make sure you’re going the right way!

Eventually, you’ll get to a spot where the trail seems to go right into a wall and end – here, you actually need to scramble up the rock wall to your left! Climb over it and end up on the other side, and the hike continues there. The trail gets very difficult to find from here, so have your map out and check it often to make sure you’re going the right way.

During some parts of the year, there might a pool of water that you have to cross on the Devil’s Garden Primitive Trail, but everything was very dry when I hiked in May, so I’m not sure where it is. Keep an eye on recent trail reviews to make sure you’re prepared!

Private Arch

You’ll come to another detour – the Private Arch trail is 0.52 mi (0.84 km) roundtrip off the main trail, and takes you to a cool arch that you can walk under! After that, come back to the main trail and head uphill for a little longer.

A woman standing under Private Arch, which is a detour along the Devil's Garden Trail.

Double O Arch

The next arch you’ll come to is right along the trail – no detours required. There are two arches here, and it’s easy to see how it got its name!

Dark Angel

The hike to the Dark Angel is the longest spur trail, at 0.8 miles (1.3 km) roundtrip. There’s a sign next to Double O Arch pointing you towards it. This was the only spur trail I skipped, because based on other review of the trail, I decided it wasn’t worth it. The Dark Angel is a tall rock column that I felt wasn’t worth adding time to my hike – if you go see it, let me know if I made the right decision or not!

Black Arch Overlook

From Double O Arch, you’ll climb up the nearby rock wall (check your map here), and have a gorgeous view of the valley below. Keep climbing uphill, and the views only get better! You’ll get to a sign for the Black Arch Overlook, which is a really incredible viewpoint where you can look down and see an arch in the distance, and the entire valley surrounding it.

The good news is that after this, you’ll mostly be going downhill the rest of the way! But, after the overlook, you’ll walk on a fin – a rocky formation with drop offs on both sides. It was a little spooky, especially with the strong wind, but not too terrible. You’ll climb down the other side and be back on solid ground soon.

Keep going, and you’ll come to a sign that points you to Navajo and Partition Arches, or to the trailhead.

Navajo Arch

The spur trails to Navajo and Partition Arches add about 0.8 miles (1.3 km) total. At Navajo Arch, you can walk through it, and there’s a lot more shade than you’ll find anywhere else on this hike.

Navajo Arch on the Devil's Garden Trail in Utah.

Partition Arch

Partition Arch was really beautiful, framing a view of Arches National Park behind it. I definitely recommend taking this detour!

Partition Arch on the Devil's Garden Trail in Utah.

When you come back to the main trail, there’s a climb down on the boulders – but this is the last one of the hike, and once you get to the next arch, the Primitive Trail is over!

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch is the longest arch in the park, and even in the world! The 290 foot (88 m) long arch towers above you and if you don’t do this entire hike, I would recommend doing the short trail to Landscape Arch and back. There used to be a trail under the arch, but pieces have broken off recently, so now you can’t go past the viewpoint.

Back to the Trailhead

After Landscape Arch, it’s only a mile (1.6 km) back to the trailhead! The trail is mostly flat on the way back, with a few short exceptions.

Where to Stay Near the Devil’s Garden Trail

You can turn your hike into a little getaway, and stay somewhere close by!

camping near the Devil’s Garden Trail

For camping near Arches National Park, I recommend using The Dyrt – it’s the best way to find campsites. You can use the free version to find campsites, but with The Dyrt Pro you’ll also be able to see the boundaries of BLM Land around the national park. There’s one campground in the park – the Devil’s Garden Campground that’s right next to the trailhead – but there are also options just outside the park. On BLM land, you can camp just about anywhere for free! You can try The Dyrt before you commit, so click here for a free trial.

There are plenty of options for free camping near Arches National Park – so check out this guide to learn how to find free campsites!

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hotels near the Devil’s Garden Trail

Hotels are always an easy, convenient option, and there are plenty of hotels, motels, and inns near Arches National Park! The town of Moab is just outside the park, and has plenty of lodging options.

Some options for places to stay:

  • Red Cliffs Lodge – a rustic but luxurious lodge gorgeous views of the Colorado River.
  • Hotel Moab Downtown – a hotel located right downtown, surrounded by red rock cliffs and views of the La Sal Mountains.
  • Big Horn Lodgea lodge style motel just 4 miles from Arches National Park.

For more options, check out this map of places to stay. Make sure to change the dates, and zoom out to see all of your options!

 

Cabins, Glamping, & Yurts

For a unique place to stay during your trip, check out Hipcamp! It’s like Airbnb for campsites – and you can find yurts, cabins (like this cabin near the Redwoods), glamping sites, and more. 

You can even get $10 off your first booking here!

A Camper van

With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans. Another option is to use Outdoorsy, which is more like Airbnb – you can rent vans, RVs, and trailers from people who live nearby!

More Adventures Near the Devil’s Garden Trail

Have you hiked this trail, or are you adding it to your bucket list? Let me know in a comment below!

There are so many more incredible hikes in Arches National Park, like the Delicate Arch Trail! You can also check out more of Utah’s national parks on your trip, and visit Zion or Bryce Canyon.

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