Devil’s Garden in Escalante is a unique desert playground of hoodoos and arches (not to be confused with the other Devil’s Garden in Arches National Park, Moab). Carved by wind and water over the centuries, the formations stand out in a stark landscape of sand and heat.
Devil’s garden is like a miniature Goblin Valley, kid-friendly and fun for the whole family. It is a surprisingly overlooked part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, despite being right off the main access road. While a majority of hikers flood to other places like the slot canyons and rivers, you may find that you are the sole visitor at this peaceful location.
The hiking is easy and flat. There is no specific trail to follow--just a pathway winding around the various formations. Take your time and enjoy.
To get to Devil’s Garden from Escalante:
1. Travel South-East from Escalante on Highway 12 for about 5 miles.
2. As the road starts to turn eastward, take a right onto the dirt road called Hole-in-the-Rock Road.
3. Head South on Hole-in-the-Rock Road for 12 miles until you reach the sign that says “Devil’s Garden.”
4. Take the road on your right for ¼ mile.
5. Park at the trailhead parking lot.
To get to Devil’s Garden from Torrey:
1. At the East end of Torrey (Near the Subway/Gas Station), take a right (South) onto Highway 12
2. Travel South on Highway 12 over Boulder Mountain for about 60 miles. This road will ascend to over 9,000 feet in elevation then drop back down to 5,000 feet. It is a winding road with steep slopes through forest mountains and desert canyons. You will pass Calf Creek Falls Campground and Kiva Coffee House. Once you rise out of the winding canyon country, there is a flat, straight road going west.
3. Watch for the sign that says “Hole-in-the-Rock Road”
4. Turn left onto Hole-in-the-Rock Road, a dirt road which heads south
5. Go South on Hole-in-the-Rock Road for about 12 miles until you reach the sign that says “Devil’s Garden.”
6. Take the road on your right for ¼ mile.
7. Park at the trailhead parking lot.
No four wheel drive is required to get to Devil’s Garden, but be sure to check road conditions at the BLM, especially during or after inclement weather.
Hoodoos and Arches at Devil’s Garden
The most popular formation at Devil’s Garden is Metate Arch. The arch is made up of two pillars connected by a small stretch of sandstone, barely larger than the average person. As tempting as it might be, do not walk across this section. Not only is it dangerous because of the height, but it is made of delicate sandstone that, if collapsed, would ruin the experience for everyone else.
The three hoodoos is another popular one. Australian tourists sometimes call this the three cockatoos, as they resemble the bird common in the land down under.
Facilities and Safety Considerations
The facilities at Devil’s Garden include bathrooms and picnic tables. Be sure to take your own water, and take plenty of it!
Bring weather protection as well. In Summer, sunscreen is a must. During winter, take a coat. Even in Spring and Fall, a coat or windbreaker can be nice to cut off that edge.
As far as flash flooding, the main area of Devil’s Garden is generally safe as it is on high ground. Being near the wash in inclement weather could pose a threat. Always check local weather conditions through the BLM.
Extend Your Walk
Go further than the main area by traveling down the wash. It might not be quite as outstanding as the original playground of formations at the beginning of Devil’s Garden, but, there are still hoodoos and vegetation that might be worth seeing if you’re up to the hike.
Beat the crowds by going on a weekday, or better yet, visit during the winter. Mid January can bring surprisingly warm days at Devil's Garden.
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