Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails
by David Day (Rincon Publishing)
© David Day/Rincon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
This is one of my favorite desert hikes. My husband I hiked the entire loop ("primitive" leg included) on President's Day weekend. What an excellent time to visit Arches! The weather was perfect, but the trail was not at all crowded. Although the park guide considered the primitive leg of the hike to be difficult, I would call it moderate at the most. There are a few spots where it is necessary to scramble over some rock fins, but nothing that sliding on your butt can't handle!
Only went to Double O--really awesome w/sand walking one moment and then climbing atop rims the next. No matter how difficult it seems, there is always a way to climb up onto the rim (each has to find their own comfort level). Plants are pretty in Devil's Garden--not what one might expect. Wasn't too crowed as I went around 9 a.m. (later than I had planned); however, upon returning it was crowded. Amazed at people going out and not taking any water with them--please do. Also, so happy I made it before Wall Arch collapsed. Will post photos later.
This was a crowded hike until you reached Landscape Arch. After this point the trail is less crowded. This is an out and back hike with side hikes to the various arches. Take the Dark Angel and Primitive Loop routes at the end before heading back. Many different arches are observable here. Really enjoyed the hike as you traverse slick rock to beach sand. Great views in all directions.
Lots of people, but fun nonetheless. I recommend taking the detour to Dark Angel and the primitive to Private Arch and through Fin Canyon. Lots of slickrock trails but easily navigable with good hiking boots. Fin Canyon was beautiful and was much less populated. Rock cairns easy to follow.
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