Thursday, September 10, 2009

Devils Garden Primitive Loop Trail

The Devils Garden Primitive Loop is an alternate return route after arriving at the Double O Arch in Arches National Park in southeast Utah. It is about 2.1 miles along the trail to the start of the Primitive Loop with several large and famous arches to see along the way.

While viewing Double O, there is also a good view of the pinnacle called Dark Angel. Just before arriving at Double O arch there is a sign pointing out the view point for Black Arch. It is hard to see the opening of Black Arch as it is always in shadows.

The upper opening of Double O Arch is about 66 feet wide. The area below the arch is very sandy and the walking is a little difficult. The lower opening is large enough for several people to stand in.

There is a sign at the start of the Primitive Loop cautioning hikers that the hiking is difficult. Along this first section the trail is fairly easy walking and up ahead is a side trail to Private Arch.

I skipped the side trail to Dark Angel and continued along the Primitive Loop. The first obvious arch is called Top Story Arch.

The walk to Private Arch is a few hundred yards and about 5 minutes. There are some tricky spots along the trail past Private Arch. But if you made it this far you can probably continue.

Two Blocks Arch is another small arch high on the canyon wall to the right about 80% of the way to Private Arch.
After the Private Arch side trail, the Primitive Trail turns south through an area of fins and descends towards a wash. Before arriving at the wash Box Arch is on the right. There isn’t a sign pointing out Box Arch so keep an eye out for the footprints of other hikers in the sand.

Just below Box Arch is the one really tricky part of the trail. There is a slanted narrow ledge above a drop off that was a nervous area to get across. I leaned far to the uphill side and stepped very carefully to the point where I could slide down to the bottom. It looked like this would be a slippery and hard spot to climb up if you were hiking the loop counter clock wise.

The trail continues in the wash for a ways and then a sign directs you out of the wash and back onto an easy to follow trail. The sand is loose in the last stretch making the walking a workout. 

The views along this section are back towards the many towering rock fins. There may be some arches to find hidden in the fins but there aren't any more signs or obvious side trails.

 Keep an eye out for Crystal Arch to the east, about 5 minutes northeast of the junction of the Primitive Loop and Landscape Arch. (Separate Post for Crystal Arch, use labels to find.)

The Primitive Loop rejoins the main trail at Landscape Arch and there is a different view of it as you approach the trail junction. My total hike was about 7 miles and took 3:20 hours. I carried 2 liters of water on an 85 F degree early September day and drank it all and needed a big drink when I finished.

1 comment:

  1. Wanted to add that Canyoneering is another possibility. Moab has outfitters that know knots and the Arches National Park Backcountry. Join them for an inside experience of the back. Have to carry a backpack of shared supplies (ropes, lunch). cannot have fears of heights. This is a region specific experience repelling with professionals, learning more park details with the narrative they will share.