There are something like 2,000 arches dispersed in the desert near Moab, Utah in Arches National Park. Brilliant red stone reaches high into the sky to form imposing and inspiring pillars, buttes, and natural arcs of unsurpassed beauty. When you’re not looking at the obviously spectacular arches like delicate, double, the windows, etc., you can play a fun game of spot the arch. They really are everywhere. Tourists cover the roads and snake down the paths leading to the easily accessible rock spectacles. That is why we recommend that you get off the scenic byway and do Arches National Park in one fantastic hike. See the less visited but no less impressive arches, fins, hoodoos, and views on the Devil’s Gulch Primitive Trail.

A History

The geologic wonders here began their formation millions of years ago. Sandstone covered by an ancient seabed was pushed up and warped. Exposed to the forces of erosion, the sandstone began to slowly change. It was expanded and contracted, broken and abraded by wind, ice, and water.

The Primitive Trail

This 7.2 mile hike through Devil’s Garden takes you through challenging, fun terrain. It feels like an obstacle course for hikers. You will climb up fin ridges, taking in gorgeous views. All the while, you must be vigilant. The path isn’t handed to you. If you’re not careful, you may lose your way among the rocks. In fact, we helped some fellow hikers who had lost their way.

From the Devil’s Gulch primitive trail, you will visit Landscape, Private, Navajo, Partition, and Double O arches. The Dark Angel pinnacle is on a spur of the primitive trail, and it’s definitely worth the short side trip. Be sure to bring plenty of water with you and sun protection. Start your hike early in the morning to beat the crowds and the heat.

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Hiker Tips

  • Get there when the park opens. It’s a popular place. Try to beat the crowds.
  • It’s extremely hot and exposed. Wear desert attire and sunscreen. Take plenty of water.

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