Exploring Devil’s Garden in Grand Staircase Escalante is a whimsical and fun experience! In many ways, Devil’s Garden reminds us of a natural playground. Here you will discover sandstone arches, jagged hoodoos, and a mushroom-shaped assortment of rocks. Climbing up and hopping around these strange rock formations will have you feeling like a kid romping around a playground! (Or, if you have kids of your own, will surely keep them entertained!)
- Devil’s Garden in Escalante
- About Grand Staircase Escalante
- Highlights and lowlights
- How to get to Devil’s Garden?
- Hole in the Rock Road
- When is the best time to visit?
- Things to know before you hike
- Metate Arch
- Mano Arch
- Four hoodoos
Devil’s Garden in Grand Staircase Escalante
- Hiking distance | 1 miles
- Elevation gain | mostly flat
- Total time | 1 hour
- Epic-ness rating | 6
- Difficulty | Easy
Find this hike on AllTrails: Devil’s Garden
On the sign that leads to the trailhead, Devil’s Garden is referred to as an “Outstanding Natural Area”, and we think that describes it well! Devil’s Garden is a whimsical assortment of unique geological features, including hoodoos, small arches, towering spires, and round slabs of slick rock.
There is a series of trails that lead through Devil’s Garden, but you can also just choose your own adventure around the area! Expect to total about a mile of distance on your feet to explore the best of Devil’s Garden.
In this article, we’ll tell you all the best spots to find in Devil’s Garden and help you prepare for your visit.
About Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
Devil’s Garden is located in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, a massive area of protected land encompassing over 1 million acres in Southern Utah. You won’t find long entry lines or throngs of tourists.
Instead, you may come across unsuspecting cows, who are more timid than they are curious, and large tracts of land filled with some of the most unique and diverse geological formations in the country.
Many of the best hikes Grand Staircase Escalante are located nearby on Hole in the Rock Road, including Zebra Slot Canyon, Peekaboo and Spooky Slot Canyons, and Jacob Hamblin Arch.
Help us protect this beautiful place!
Before we get into it, we wanted to start with a word about preserving the incredible landscapes found in Grand Staircase Escalante. You’ve almost surely heard or read about “Leave no trace“, but it’s especially important in this remote area, as services are limited, the ecosystem is particularly fragile, and there are often no defined trails.
Here are a few important things to keep in mind while exploring Devil’s Garden:
- Do not carve or vandalize any of the rock or plant life.
- Always stay on the trail. When there is no defined trail, avoid trampling the crypotbiotic soil (that layer of black or white crust over the sand and dirt). Walk through loose sand, previously disturbed land, or across slick rock where ever possible.
- Pack out what you pack in – do not leave behind trash. Do not take anything with you that you didn’t bring.
- Be prepared! There are no services on Hole in the Rock Road. Make sure you are prepared to change a tire, carry extra water and food, and have a means of navigation without cell service. Carrying a GPS device, like a Garmin In-Reach Mini, is a good idea to be able to call for help in case of a serious emergency.
- Carry extra food and water, and avoid hiking midday during the summer.
Grand Staircase Escalante is a remote and rugged place. Please help keep it that way!
Remember to Leave No Trace. Pack out what you pack in, stay on trail, be well-prepared, leave nothing behind, take only photos and memories with you, treat the area with respect and help preserve this beautiful spot for generations to come.
How difficult is Devil’s Garden?
The great thing about Devil’s Garden is that you can really choose your own adventure! The official trail on AllTrails totals one mile, but there’s no need to follow a trail – simply wander around where ever your heart desires (sticking to trails, sand or slick rock, of course!).
The area around Devil’s Garden is fairly flat. If you want a little extra adventure, you can scramble up on some of the formations (just be sure to avoid delicate areas, ie. do not try to walk across on Metate Arch).
- Unique geological formations: hoodoos, narrow passageways, arches, etc.
- Climbing around Devil’s Garden is a ton of fun, and will make you feel like a kid again!
- Typically not very crowded.
- Road to the trailhead is bumpy and washboarded. Becomes impassable after rain or snow.
- Devil’s Garden area is fairly small, so it’s a quick stop.
How to get to Devil’s Garden
Devil’s Garden is located about 30 minutes from the small town of Escalante in southern Utah. To reach the trailhead, you will have to drive 12.5 miles down Hole in the Rock Road. Then turn right at the sign for Devil’s Garden onto a side road for a quarter mile until you reach the trailhead.
Hole in the Rock Road
Hole in the Rock Road is a remote, washboard dirt road that deteriorates the further down you drive. It’s important to be prepared before setting off down this road, as there is no cell service and no services for 50 miles.
Make sure you have a vehicle that can handle the conditions and do not attempt to drive this road following rain or snow or if the forecast calls for precipitation. The short side road to the trailhead for Devil’s Garden is in worse condition than Hole in the Rock Road, and high clearance is recommended.
To read more about how to prepare for driving on Hole in the Rock Road, check out our complete guide here:
When is the best time to visit Devil’s Garden
The best time to hike in Grand Staircase is during the spring or fall when temperatures are milder. During the summer, extreme heat in Grand Staircase can make hiking dangerous. If you must visit during the summer, be sure to pack several liters of water per person and wear appropriate sun protection.
Winter can also be a nice time to visit Devil’s Garden, but expect cold temperatures. Additionally, snow is possible and would make Hole in the Rock Road impassable.
Things to know before you visit Devil’s Garden
- There is no cell service in the area, so download trail maps in advance. To find the trailhead, you can start your GPS while you still have service, set your odometer when you turn onto Hole in the Rock Road, or use the downloaded AllTrails map.
- There are restrooms located at the trailhead for Devil’s Garden. Trash cans are not available so be prepared to pack out all garbage.
- Dogs are permitted on the trail. Please keep your dog on a leash and be considerate of other visitors.
- There is little shade and it gets very hot in Grand Staircase, so be sure to pack plenty of water and sun protection.
- Make sure that you are prepared for driving on Hole in the Rock Road. Have a spare tire (or two) and know how to change it. Carrying a GPS device in case of emergency is also a good idea.
- There are no entrance fees in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
Where to stay nearby
The closest town to Devil’s Garden is Escalante, Utah, a small town with several hotel, motel, campground and RV park options. You can also pick up groceries in town at the Mercantile or Griffin’s Grocery, although don’t expect a large selection.
Be sure to grab a delicious burger and sweet potato fries at Nemo’s after your day of hiking!
Things to see in Devil’s Garden
For the most part, you don’t need to go into Devil’s Garden with any sort of plan – you can just wander around and you’ll come upon the best sights. However, there are a few special formations that you don’t want to miss, which we’ll describe below!
Metate Arch is a particularly delicate sandstone arch located near the center of Devil’s Garden. While it’s beautiful from below, you can also get a view from above by climbing up on the sandstone slick rock behind it.
From here, you’ll also have stunning views looking over Devil’s Garden and the landscape beyond.
Though less impressive than Metate Arch, Mano Arch is also worth seeing. It’s located just around the corner from Metate Arch, but can be a bit trickier to find as it’s wedged between two walls.
There are hoodoos everywhere in Devil’s Garden, but the most impressive (in my opinion) are a set of four hoodoos located on the far outer edge of Devil’s Garden.
Devil’s Garden at sunset
Devil’s Garden is exceptionally beautiful at sunset, and we highly recommend visiting just before the sun goes down! Better yet, you’ll likely have the place nearly to yourself.
Plus the short hiking distance makes it easy to get back to your car before it gets too dark.
Other useful resources
Planning a trip to Grand Staircase Escalante in Utah? Be sure to check out these other great hikes in the area!
- Coyote Gulch Backpacking Trip
- Zebra Slot Canyon
- Big Horn Canyon
- Peekaboo and Spooky Slot Canyons
- Willis Creek Slot Canyon
- Lower Calf Creek Falls
- Upper Calf Creek Falls
For all things Utah: Utah Travel Guide
Questions about the hike? Or can’t decide between the upper and lower falls? Drop us a question in the comments below!