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Devils Garden
with Primitive Loop
Arches National Park


Devils Garden Trailhead

Years ago while camped at the Devils Garden Campground, I ran the Devils Garden Loop Trail (includes the primitive loop). It was a great run, but I only ran the loop and did not see any of the arches other than those that could be seen from the main trail. On our trip to Moab this summer, I talked Amy into walking the loop trail with all of the side trails.

Signs at the trailhead warned us of the difficulties with trying to follow the Primitive Trail. I did not remember any such troubles on my run, but maybe I was just lucky that time.

landscape Arch from the trail

Leaving the trailhead with lots of water, we started our hike. The groomed trail climbed between fins then leveled out as it passed a side trail to Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch. Continuing, Landscape Arch was almost a mile from the trailhead. The trail to Landscape was well traveled. It was definitely a worthy hike to the Arch. Most of the hikers turn around after viewing the Arch. Ah, but, beyond Landscape Arch was where the fun began ...

The trail follows a slickrock fin almost immediately after leaving Landscape Arch. Then the trails moves from slickrock to sand and back again, as it weaves it's course toward Double O Arch. We took every side path along the way and they all added extra adventures to the Loop.

After the Double O Arch, the Primitive Trail began and a sign warned us of the difficulties. The first half of the Primitive Loop was great. There was plenty of route finding and slickrock scrambling. It was a great trail. The second half of the trail was just a deep sandy path through the scrub brush. It was not near as exciting, but it did help form the loop.

Amy on the Primitive Loop slickrock

Our distance for the Loop was over 8.0 miles instead of the posted 7.2 miles. Overall, Devils Garden was a very enjoyable hike. The trail was however very crowded. If the mobs were not on the trail, it might have been our favorite. in the Moab area. Of course, we were just a part of the mobs.

Another idea we had to make the hike more enjoyable would be to walk the trail to the end of the slickrock and then turn around and reverse the hike. The distance would be greater than for the loop, but the scenery was outstanding and we loved scrambling on the slickrock. Of course you would also get a double whammy of the mobs.

Navigation on the trail was not overly difficult. There were cairns (stacks of rocks) everywhere. The trail was more difficult of a route than a sidewalk, though. At times you would probably want to use your hands to help climb up or down the slickrock.

If you are ever in Moab, Devils Garden has to be on the list, it is that good.

Happy Devils Garden Trails


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