From downtown Moab drive north on the 191 for 4.6 miles (7.4 km). Turn right into Arches national park and pay the entrance fee. Drive along Arches Scenic Drive for 16.3 miles (26.2 km) until its end. Find parking in the large, but usually crowded, Devils Garden parking area.
Total Gain: 99m
|Type of Hike||Out and Back|
|Crowd Levels||Moderate to Busy|
|When to Do||Year Round|
Starting at the apex of the parking area road loop, the wide sandy trail starts off with a bang, leading you directly between two massive vertical rocks. The trail snakes between them and plops you out on the other side – in another world filled with vertical rocks and incomprehensible arches.
As you hike along the path you’ll soon reach a junction. Taking a right here grants a quick detour to observe Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch. These stunning sights are well worth the minimal effort, and both offer different variations on the theme of the park. If you have especially young kids or just want a quick jaunt, going to see these two arches is easily worth the drive.
Return to the main trail and continue hiking along. As you follow the route you will see both expansive views of the plain extending in all directions, as well as delicate towers and knife ridge fins. There will be several sections with mild elevation gain, however they are spaced out and not too strenuous. Towards the end of the path there will be two turn offs for the ‘primitive trail’. Do not take these.
As you reach the end of the trail you will see why most of your fellow hikers have made the trek. Landscape Arch dominates the skyline for the last half mile, and its delicate construction inspires amazement and fear. In recent year, massive chunks of rock have fallen from the arch, closing the trail directly beneath and leading experts to question how much longer this natural wonder will last.
- Going early in the day beats the crowds, the heat, and gives the best light to photograph Landscape Arch
- If you are feeling up for it, continue along the primitive trail to see more arches and towers. Don’t forget extra water and sturdy boots!