“This remote and scenic trail offers a true wilderness experience often elusive at Arches NP.
— Megan W
Rocky, rough, requires scrambling. Don't be fooled by the short distances - take water and wear sun protection.
The start of the Devils Garden Primitive Loop Trail is marked with a "Caution: Primitive Trail, Difficult Hiking" warning sign. It is worth evaluating your water levels and experience over the last half of the Devils Garden Main Trail
: if you were terrified, don't do the Primitive Loop. If you still feel energetic and successfully conquered the challenges of the Main Trail with aplomb, then you'll likely find the Primitive Loop to be similarly enjoyable.
From the 3-way junction with Devils Garden Main Trail
and the Dark Angel Trail
, the Devils Garden Primitive Loop Trail begins with a moderately steep descent of Fin Canyon. About halfway down, and about 0.4 miles from the beginning of the loop, look for the Private Arch Trail
on the right (leading south/southeast). This worthwhile detour is easy and visits an infrequently seen, isolated arch.
Once back on the Devils Garden Primitive Loop Trail, continue downhill over rock spines, through sandy washes and slickrock sections, threading between mesmerizing fin canyons. Some parts in this area become treacherous when the rock is wet or snowy. There is one rock face that must be navigated via a ledge and another tricky spot where a depression often fills with water and must be circumnavigated. Most runners with grippy shoes report excitement without dunkings. (If you are concerned about these obstacles, you can visit Private Arch and then retrace your steps back to the Devils Garden Main Trail
The remainder of the trail covers more open ground, ascending gradually to the junction with the Devils Garden Main Trail
at the Landscape Arch
area. Some words to the wise: take at least 1 quart (1 liter) of water per person, wear a hat, use sunscreen, take breaks. This trail is more remote than others in the park, users should be completely self-sufficient. Note: bikes are not allowed on this trail.
Flora & Fauna
Lizards, rabbits and chipmunks.