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One of the top things to see in Arches National Park is definitely Landscape Arch. Why? It’s one of the longest arches in the world at 306 ft (96 m) long! The trail to Landscape Arch is a part of a larger loop trail located in Devil’s Garden. We only hiked to Landscape Arch because we were short on time, but hope to one day come back and do the whole loop as it was my favorite hike we did in the park!
Landscape Arch Trail Info:
- Length: 1.6 miles, 2.6km round trip
- Difficulty: Moderately Easy
- Elevation Gain: Minor. Most of the trail is relatively flat, made from dirt and sand, with some gradual slopes here and there.
- Trail Head Location: Devil’s Garden
- Best time to go: Late Afternoon. We started our hike there around 3pm in October. It was a good time of day to go because the sun was partially obscured many times by the cliffs off to the left, so there was a lot of shady areas. Going earlier with the sun overhead or on the right side I don’t think would have been as comfortable.
- Small side paths to Pine Tree and Tunnel Arch are worth a view!
Bring lots of water with you! In fact, bring lots of water with you anywhere you go out west in this very dry climate.
Depending on the time of day, and the weather, having a hat and sunglasses to keep the blazing sun off you a little is recommended too, along with sunscreen.
On the Trail
Arriving later in the day we didn’t have a problem with getting a parking spot at Devil’s Garden, and the trail head was right there, easy to locate with signs and restrooms nearby.
With a name like that you expect a place extremely hot and inhospitable. Well although I’m sure it does get very hot during the summer, this place is a gorgeous desert landscape full of life! The sandstone rocks and ground all throughout the park are a red orange coral color mixed with darker desert varnish, and a lighter sandstone. Sage colored brush and juniper trees spot the landscape creating a beautiful color palette, just begging to be painted!
The trail was either hard packed or soft and sandy at times. I’ve never walked on a sandy ground anywhere but at the beach before, so for me this was something new! Right after the two tall rock walls you walk between upon entering the trail, turn around and you’ll see a long slope, full of sand. It’s not hard to imagine this area could have been covered in water at some point.
As you go on walking, you’ll come to a split in the trail to the right. It’s a small detour to Pine Tree if you bare left on the new trail, and Tunnel Arch to the right. Both are definitely worth a walk to down the hill to see!
Pine Tree Arch
We got to Pine Tree Arch expecting it to be in the shape of a pine tree or something! Well sadly it’s not, and other than some small pines or junipers nearby, which are found throughout the area anyway, I’m not sure why it’s named as such. The arch creates a beautiful frame of the landscape beyond it however. Also-more of that soft sand is really concentrated in this area, it’s so much fun to walk on!
This arch was set up high in a big rock wall. We noticed that as the sun was dipping down lower towards the horizon, that it would probably fall through the arch in a little while. We decided to come back later on our return to get a picture of it.
We walked the rest of the way to Landscape Arch enjoying the surroundings and hunting for lizards or any other wildlife we might spot. We saw some tracks of mule deer in the sand here and there, but didn’t actually see any. You might get luckier!
Our destination finally came into view just as the sun moved behind it. It was great lighting at this time of day for some nice pictures without the harsh light and shadows! You could see below the arch where the rock looked to be a bit cleaner, and is most likely where back in 1991 a large piece of the arch broke off.
Since it was getting later in the day, we elected to turn around at this point and go back the way we came, however the trail does continue on as I mentioned above.
On our return trip, we caught sight of a midget faded rattlesnake, by a bush at the intersection of Pine Tree/Tunnel Arches. I know snakes might scare a lot of people, and you do not want to get close to a rattlesnake! But they really just want to be left alone and don’t mean to harm anyone. If you see one just steer clear, and take pictures from a safe distance away.
I really enjoyed this hike so much, a big reason for that probably had to do with it being a little cooler and shadier in the late afternoon when we went, as opposed to being fully exposed in the sun for the greater portion of the hike to Delicate Arch that we went on earlier that day.
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