A morning full of hiking and site seeing in Arches National Park left Julia and I ready for a good lunch. We exited the park and made the short drive back to Moab where we stopped at the Moab Diner. I’m a huge fan of diners, regardless of where I’m travelling. There is something about the tables, booths, menus, and service that keeps me coming back time after time. Julia opted for an omelette, and I got another one of my road-trip favorites, a burger and fries.
With a great lunch under our belts, we made our way back to Arches National Park to do a little hiking in the Devil’s Garden section at the back end of the park. The parking lot was jam packed for this popular stop off. There is also a really nice campground at Devil’s Garden that I’d love to stay at some day.
There are a few hiking options in Devil’s Garden that will allow you to see some or all of the eight arches in the area. The full hike is 7.2 miles, and includes a some easy trail hiking, a little slick rock scrambling, and a short stint on the “primitive trail”. Julia and I were a little short for time, so we decided to just do a section of the total trail, allowing us to see 3 of the 8 arches.
Landscape Arch is the main attraction in Devil’s garden and is accessible by a short and level hike. Before reaching Landscape Arch, there is a nice side trail that heads downhill for a quarter mile before reaching Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch.
After seeing Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch, we made our way uphill to get back on the main trail. We hiked along with a pretty nice sized crowd towards Landscape Arch, and it was really cool to see how many families and children were in the park enjoying the outdoors. After about a mile of hiking I could see Landscape Arch ahead on my left. I was amazed at how thin and frail it looked. It rose like a thin and elegant finger jutting up from the ground beneath to touch the other side.
Landscape Arch is the second longest natural arch in the world.
Beyond Landscape Arch, the trial heads uphill for a slight scramble on some slickrock. This is hardly a difficult scramble, but you’ll definitely need proper footwear and decent balance to make your way up. Most hikers turned back here, but I could tell that the best views of Devil’s Garden were ahead. Julia and I hopped up the slickrock and found ourselves staring back at one of the most beautiful views I’ve taken in all year.
We made our way down the slickrock and headed back to the parking lot. It was really tough to be leaving Devil’s Garden with so much left to explore, but I’ll leave that uncovered ground for another time in the near future. There was still one more site I wanted to see before sundown, Sand Dune Arch.
Reaching Sand Dune Arch is really easy, as it’s only a .3 mile hike from the parking lot. The trail is just as the name implies, all sand. I felt like I was walking through the set of a sci-fi movie as we passed by a series of tall sandstone fins to reach the heart of a fully enclosed and walled off dune. The sun had nearly set, and the red walls were radiating with the unnatural colors of a Utah slickrock. If I were to ever stumble upon extraterrestrial life forms in a National Park, this would make for the perfect setting to do so.
We left Sand Dune Arch just as the sun was beginning to set on Arches National Park. It was a beautiful way to end the day, and a fitting end to our adventures in the park.