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Double O Arch

A male hiker standing in the lower arch of Double O Arch in the Devils Garden. Arches National Park, Utah

The Double O Arch Trail is a moderate 3.75 mile (one way) hike in the Devils Garden of Arches National Park, bringing hikers to a spectacular double-decker arch, with many more along the way. Note that the route could be much shorter by removing spur trails to other arches along the way, but it would be a loss to skip out on them.

Double O Arch Trail Description

The trail begins along the same used by the Landscape Arch hike, guiding you safely along the well maintained trail through the narrow entrance between massive sandstone fins. You’ll emerge in a large open landscape between groupings of fins, with a spur trail for Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch.

If you’d prefer to cut a bit of mileage out, skip ahead. Otherwise, head right at the fork, first reaching Tunnel Arch on the right after a quick descent down a hill. The large arch is located near the top of the fin to the right, and even has a companion with it. Continue along to the spur’s terminus where you’ll soon reach Pine Tree Arch, a colossal arch with a magnificent view through its opening. Once you’ve sufficiently enjoyed it, head back to the main trail to continue onward.

Sandstone fins rising in the distance below a fiery sunrise along the Devils Garden Trail. Arches National Park, Utah

The main trail continues between more sandstone fins and emerges at the top of a large basin. The trail will drop a bit, passing the fork for the Primitive Trail on the right, and accessing Landscape Arch towering above to the left. Landscape Arch is the largest natural arch in Arches National Park at 290 feet, so be sure to give it the respect it deserves and stay on the trail. After all, geologically speaking, it could collapse for good any day now.

Beyond Landscape Arch the trail takes a more primitive (traditional) turn. The large manicured trail is left behind while hiking more reminiscent of other trails in the area becomes the norm. At this point, the Devils Garden Trail begins steeply climbing a sandstone fin, tucked down below two other significantly larger fins. Continue to the top where you’ll wind through sand below the tops of the surrounding fins. It’s in this area you’ll reach the fork for Partition and Navajo Arches. Again, if you’re looking to shed mileage, continue below. Otherwise, head left to access the side destinations.

Erosion in sandstone from wind, water, and ice leaving ghostly abstract shapes. Arches National Park, Utah

The fork for Partition Arch comes up first on the left, squeezing along the base of a fin all the way to the arch. Once at the arch, most people are taken by the view through the larger opening, completely missing the smaller on the opposite side (hence the name). Astute hikers will also notice that this arch was in plain sight at the viewpoints below Landscape Arch. Once the view has been sufficiently appreciated, head back to the spur trail and then left to access Navajo Arch. The trail to Navajo Arch wraps around the next fin back, narrowing along the fin where you’ll see some ghostly pockets eroded into the sandstone. Soon enough, Navajo Arch pops into view, tucked away in the fin, leading to a small canyon just through its opening. Enjoy the arch as long as you’d like then head back to the main trail the same way you came in.

The main trail to Double O Arch continues ahead, crossing a sandy patch and reaching a sandstone hilltop. From here, you’ll climb up a small sandstone fin, straddling it across until you reach a sign directing you to a slightly higher fin. Follow that fin’s crest along its duration as you’re treated to stunning panoramic views of the region along the way. Sign posts will direct you downward, soon reaching a sign for Double O Arch and the Black Arch Overlook.

A male hiker overlooking the landscape from the Black Arch Overlook along the Devils Garden Trail. Arches National Park, Utah

The spur to Black Arch Overlook is so short that it adds hardly any mileage to the round-trip journey, so it’s well worth doing. Only a few dozen yards from the main trail you’ll stand where an arch once stood, overlooking the Devils Garden and seemingly hundreds of miles stretching out eastward beyond. Tucked away in the fins of Devils Garden is a heavily shaded arch, whose name becomes glaringly apparent.

Heading back toward Double O Arch, the trail climbs up some sandstone and over another small fin. You’ll cross through thick juniper trees before taking advantage of flat slickrock below a larger fin to your left. After a short stretch along the slickrock, the larger fin clears from the left, leaving a beautiful view of Double O Arch back and to the left.

To access it, continue straight on the trail where it drops down on the fin you’re on and turns back toward the arch. Please try to stay on the trail as you head toward the arch and remember that while climbing on the arch may not cause it to collapse for you, it will add unnatural stress which will cause it to collapse sooner than it normally would. Respect the arches and the park. Once you’ve enjoyed the arch as much as you’d like, head back out the same way you came in.

Getting There

From the Arches National Park entrance station, head up the main park road to its terminus at the Devils Garden Trailhead 16.5 miles beyond.

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All content © Copyright Mike Cavaroc, Free Roaming Hiker & Free Roaming Photography