The Devil’s Garden loop trail at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument passes beneath a collection of hooded hoodoos located at the end of 15 miles of suboptimal gravel road. Bring an AWD vehicle.
Devil’s Garden Trail (Sept. 21, 2021), 1 mile
Utah boasts two devilish gardens – one with a possessive hyphen and the other without. The trail through the columns, arches and canyons of Devils Garden at Arches National Park is one of the park’s most popular hikes. The hoodoos at The Devil’s Garden at Grand Staircase-Escalante comprise the garden less traveled.
The drive on Hole in the Rock Road to the hoodoos near Escalante is half the adventure. Sudden changes in texture and occasional soft shoulders made us glad we were driving an AWD vehicle. The tiny two-seater we drove to Arches never would have survived.
The garden’s mushroom-like rock formations were unique to previous desert ramblings. We didn’t notice there was a trail. We simply wandered around the windswept rocks, sticking to the shade as the temperature slid into the 80s.
Which garden is best? The hike in Arches National Park. Hands down. (Find our story on that visit here.) But the next time you’re in Escalante, consider stopping by the garden less traveled. Leave your Miata at home.
In September 2021 we drove from our home Coastside on the San Francisco Peninsula to Rocky Mountain National Park via southern Utah. It was our first trip off of the the West Coast since the pandemic reached the United States in January 2020.