There are so many places we want to visit and see — more than we have time to visit and see. What this means is that we don’t tend to go to the same places more than once, so when we travel, I want to squeeze everything possible into the time we have.
During our drive on Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 from Capitol Reef National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park, we planned to stop at every scenic overlook and visit the Anasazi State Park Museum, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, and Hole-In-The-Rock Escalante Heritage Center. We didn’t think we’d have time to take the detour out to Devil’s Garden, but we happened to hit the junction of Highway 12 and Hole-In-The-Rock Road at the perfect time — lunch time.
Devil’s Garden Natural Outstanding Area in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has a beautiful picnic area and we were ready to eat!
The Right Devil’s Garden
This Devil’s Garden is the Devil’s Garden Natural Outstanding Area, which is different from the Devil’s Garden in Arches National Park. This one is like a miniature Goblin Valley but because it is off the beaten path, it isn’t very crowded. We only saw two other cars in the parking lot while we were there.
Exploring Devil’s Garden
Devil’s Garden is a garden of hoodoos, arches, spires, domes, mushroom rocks, windows, miniature pour-offs, and other rock formations with no official trails.
When we got out of the car, we were ready for lunch. But I’ll be honest, Devil’s Garden looked so awesome that we all decided to go explore and have our picnic lunch later. It’s rare to be able to tell the kids, they can go anywhere they want, climb on anything they want, and basically do anything they want (except climb on top of stone arches), and the kids couldn’t wait to take off and stretch their legs.
Hoodoos, Arches, Mushroom Rocks, And More
While there are no real trails, there are slickrock routes and foot-worn trails and paths throughout the rock formations. Around every turn and over every rock was something incredible to see. We were in awe of the beautiful landscape, stripped curving rocks, and unearthly stone spires — especially Metate Arch, a thin caprock natural arch in the center of the Devils Garden, and Mano Arch, a thicker arch sitting southeast of Metate Arch.
After climbing around Devil’s Garden for over an hour, we walked along the wash back to the picnic area and ate lunch before hitting the road again and heading to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.
Know Before You Go
- Devil’s Garden Natural Outstanding Area is located within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. To get there follow Highway 12 until you reach Hole-In-The-Rock-Road (five miles east of Escalante). Drive 12.7 miles down the dirt/gravel road to a signed spur road on the right that will take you 0.3 mile to Devil’s Garden. Signs will point you to Devil’s Garden.
- Do not attempt to travel on these dirt roads if it has rained recently.
- Admission to Devil’s Garden is Free.
- There are no official trails. At Devil’s Garden, you can go anywhere you want and freely explore, climb, and play.
- There is a dirt parking area, a vault restroom, and a few picnic tables, elevated grills, and fire pits spread out among the shrubbery. No water is available and firewood collecting is not allowed
- While you can camp throughout the national monument, there are signs discouraging camping at Devil’s Garden.
- Leashed dogs are allowed but you must clean up after your pet.