Devils Garden- Arches N.P.

Well, camping right in town didn’t quiet work out the way we planned. Just as we attempted to go to sleep, strong winds overtook our campground. Along with the winds came lots of sand through the small mesh gaps in our tent. The few times we did fall asleep, we rudely awoke with a mouthful of sand (I’m exaggerating slightly, but it was pretty bad).

After a sleepless night camping in Moab, we had no trouble getting up early. We just needed coffee!

Pretty good coffee.

The coffee perked up our spirits as we entered Arches National Park. Also, the sun was just coming up which made for some incredible views:

Balanced Rock on the left
Our trusty 4Runner
Balanced Rock in the middle

 

No justice given to being there in person.
Zoomed in for a look at the La Sal Mountains! Side note: Is it silly to call them ‘The La Sals’? The the Salt…
A little further up the road

A few more early views on the drive to the Devils Garden!…

The Park Avenue hike is on the other side of the “rabbit ears”.
The sun reflection on the red rocks was awesome! (Yes, this is edited some, but quite a sight).
Courthouse Towers
Courthouse pano
Skyline Arch from the parking lot. So many arches in the park that we actually didn’t make it back to this fantastic arch!
Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock looks much more…um, balanced from the official balanced rock viewpoint.
Now with Mt. Tuk in the background. The lighting made it look sort of like snow, but not at this time of year. I didn’t have the heart to break it to some of the other gawking visitors.

We were tempted to stop at the many pullouts and take more pictures, but we had a game plan to stick to for the day. Our plan was to hike in the Devils Garden area before it got too hot, return to the visitor center (which wasn’t open yet) to try to get a permit to the Fiery Furnace for the afternoon, and then venture back into the park! Spoiler alert: We got a permit and the Fiery Furnace was amazing!

There were only about ten or so cars in the Devils Garden lot as we started at around 7:30am. By the time we returned, the lot was relatively full. Given we weren’t there during peak season and the lack of shade, you definitely want to get there early if you can. Then again, I recommend getting everywhere early in my posts!

Ok, let’s start our hike!

Just out of the parking lot…
The first mile or so of the trail to the Landscape Arch viewpoint is an easy and tame trail. The “difficult” rating given to the Double O Arch hike is because of the rock section you’ll see later.
The sun still working its way up
Lots of interesting rock formations, but I won’t post them all! Although, we did go totally overboard and probably have pictures of them all! (Not quite, but I took an incredible number of pictures. Elizabeth took many of our photos as well, but she blames me for the crazy volume of photos).

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch was awesome, but the Devils Garden is full of many more arches as well so…onward!

Partition Arch…we visited it up close later in the hike.
Elizabeth as we started the “difficult” section up the rocks.
The term “difficult” is relative in national parks. It is pretty steep, require a little bit of twisting around, and can be a little slippery; especially in the event of rain.
Cool trail venturing on top of the rock
Chronologically inaccurate, but here is a look at the trail.
Black Arch in the distance.

Double O Arch

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

On the way back down we checked out several more arches, which we passed the trails spurs for on the way up. Here are a few more pictures on the way over to the other arches.

Navajo Arch

Partition Arch

Pine Tree Arch

Pine Tree Arch is back down by the easier paths closer to the trailhead.

Tunnel Arch

Tunnel Arch is also on the way back to the trailhead…via a short detour.

The Devils Garden is a pretty cool spot and has tons of options! We skipped the longer Primitive Trail and did not check out the campground area. In retrospect, it would’ve been awesome to camp in the park, but all the site were full when we checked maybe two months out. We took our time in the Devils Garden, but then anxiously drove back to the visitor center to see if any permits were available for the Fiery Furnace! All of the guided ranger tours were also booked in advance by the time we looked and the day use permits are only issued in person.

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