Devil’s Garden Hike

Arches National Park

Friday, October 3, 2014

We got a later than usual start because we had to go to the Moab Post Office to pick up some packages we had drop shipped there (more on that at the bottom of this post).

The Devil’s Garden Trailhead is at the end of the road, 18 miles from the park entrance. I loved the drive to it, but because I was driving, I could only peek for a second or two. Still, the scenery was spectacular.

The parking lot was packed and I thought we might not find a space. But we did. Fortunately, not too many of the folks up there hiked as far as we did but enough did to  eliminate any chance of solitude.

While we could have hiked the entire 7.2 mile trail, we opted for a “less strenuous” 5-6 miler. If you were hiking in the sun, you roasted even though the air temperature was in the mid- to upper-60s. Shade, when it could be had, was precious. The hike itself wasn’t bad, but we had to stop often to cool off and breathe.

Our hike took us to six arches, the first being Landscape Arch, about a mile up the trail. Less intrepid hikers might stop there, but of course we didn’t. That’s us, the Intrepid Duo.

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch

The hike to the next arch, Navajo Arch, was fun but challenging. We had to climb up a solid rock (slickrock I think it’s called) slope for a couple of hundred yards.

Hiking path up rock slope

Hiking path up rock slope

We had to veer off the main trail to get to Navajo Arch. This arch opens into a tiny cave-like canyon. The top is open to the sky but you are walled in. This shot was taken from inside this little canyon.

Navajo Arch

Navajo Arch

We then had to loop around to get to Partition Arch, but the effort was worth it. The view through the arch took our breath away. This was, hands down, our favorite arch.

Partition Arch

Partition Arch

We took the opportunity to sit, rest, and have a snack. What better place than here, where we had a window seat looking out onto the world.

We also had a guest, a chipmunk that dashed around looking for a way to get near us. As cute as it was, we didn’t feed it. That didn’t stop him from trying to help himself. We caught him sneaking around behind us to try to snag food out of our pack but we were quicker than he was. He was moving on to the next hikers as we headed off.

Chipmunk

Chipmunk

We finally got back on our feet and hiked to the end of our trail at Double O Arch.

Double O Arch

Double O Arch

We had the option of hiking a half mile out and back trail to the dark angel but we decided to skip that AND to skip the rest of the primitive trail that looped out around through Fin Canyon. Speaking of Fin Canyon, we had a nice view of it from high up along the trail. In fact, the trail traverses one of the fins… drop off on the left, drop off on the right, and gorgeous views all the way around.

Fin Canyons

Fin Canyon – the fin in the foreground IS the hiking trail

Along most of the way, we could see the La Sal Mountains looming in the distance. Storms that passed through the area several days ago painted the peaks white.

La Sal Mountains

La Sal Mountains

About a quarter mile from the trailhead, we detoured to see two more arches, the aptly named Pine Tree Arch,

Pine Tree Arch

Pine Tree Arch

and Tunnel Arch.

Tunnel Arch

Tunnel Arch

By the time we got back to the car, we were pretty much done in.

But on the way back to the our campground, we stopped so I could peek at Sand Arch. The arch is very popular with families with young kids – it’s shaded, cool, and fun to play in. I scooped up a handful of sand which was red, soft, damp, and cool to the touch. I could picture our granddaughter Chloe and I rolling around in the sand for hours.

Sand Arch

Sand Arch

J & H

Note on the post office stop – The combination of Amazon Prime free two day shipping and general delivery at most post offices worked perfectly for us. We got all the goodies on our shopping wish list and restocked the cat food that they don’t seem to carry around here. We plan to start ordering some of our basic human food supplies this way to avoid the multi-store, multi-town hunt we occasionally do. – H

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