Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Arches National Park - Devil's Garden Part One.

I've written up several posts regarding Arches National Park, and have saved the best for last - Devil's Garden. There is seven miles of trail within this one section of the park; one trail is sand and dirt, so easy for walking. The second trail is the primitive loop which takes travelers over slickrock, extremely thin ledges, climbing up and over sandstone fins and boulders, and is the most difficult of the two trails to maneuver.  This write up is about the first trail and from the over 200 photos taken in this part of Devil's Garden, it was very difficult picking out only a few to post.  Might as well get started with a map, so you can see the trails and all the arches in this area.


There are two options for getting to the Devil's Garden Trailhead; drive to the parking lot just in front of the area; or park at the Campground and walk the short desert trail (about 1 and 1/2 miles) to the parking lot area.  While Roy drove to the parking lot and waited for me, I got out at the campground area and walked the desert trail.  If you want a true appreciation of the desert, I highly recommend doing this; you get enthralled by the sight of it, the calming atmosphere, and even though I was carrying water with me, I kept forgetting to drink it...like I said, enthralled.  At the trailhead entrance I watered up, got a fresh bottle out of the cooler and into the garden of the unholy one we went. 

Skyline Arch

Oh my, I almost forgot to tell you about Skyline Arch which is located before you reach the Devil's Garden campground area.  Funny thing was, while doing my research about Devil's Garden, I saw Skyline mentioned, but didn't remember seeing it.  However, going through my photos, well what do you know, I had one of it.

Devil's Garden is a maze of sandstone fins and walls, corridors you can barely squeeze through, others that come together at a dead end. Here and there in this garden, the limbs of lifeless trees twist into bizarre forms; yet plant life sprouts up from the sand and in between boulders. After the corridors, the trail suddenly opens up and you can see the vastness of the entire area; but you'll still get a neck ache from trying to see to the tops of those fins.

Devil's Garden Trail

Pine Tree Arch
At the bottom of the main trail, keep an eye out for the signs that will lead to side trails; these lead to various arches along the way.  The first two arches you'll see are Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch; Pine Tree Arch is ground level, so you'll be able to stand inside it (see photo).  The Pine Tree area is very shady and cool; a breeze seems to continually blow through the arch itself.   Make sure to walk through the arch and look at the view on the other side...stunning!

Tunnel Arch

Tunnel Arch is aptly named, and there seems to be a smaller version of it just off to the left; think of them as two slides, one for the adult giants and the smaller for their children.

Crystal Arch
Before you decide if you should try the Primitive Loop Trail or not, continue forward a bit and you'll see an arch.  It's on the northeast side of the current trail you're on, and you'll have to do a bit of looking and juggling position to truly see it.  This is Crystal Arch, and, for whatever reason, it is not listed on the map that you receive when you enter the park.  On the map I posted, I put an indication of approximately where it will be located; basically if you don't know to look for it, you won't see it.  Now you know.

If you're brave enough, you're starting off on the primitive trail; not only weren't we brave enough the day we were there, but we were very tired from doing the Delicate Arch walk.   Just another excuse to come back again; heck, I've only been to Arches National Park twelve times, why not a baker's dozen?

The paved road into Arches is the road you'll be taking out; as you leave Devil's Garden you'll come to a point where you can look into the distance and see the Windows Area, including Balanced Rock.

 At this time, there are delays on the road in the Devil's Garden area due to construction.  I see it this way, it's very much worth the wait, and just another excuse to pack a picnic meal.  Think Positive!!!

Mary Cokenour