Arches Double O Arch

Overview: A trail to a most unusual formation where one arch is on top of another.

Start: Devils Garden Trailhead Parking Area

Distance: 4.2 miles; out and back

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Maps: USGS Arches National Park; Trails Illustrated Arches National Park

Finding the trailhead: Drive north into the park on the main road for 19 miles and park in the large parking area at the Devils Garden Trailhead. The trailhead is at the end of the road where it makes a small loop. Be sure to stay on the loop instead of turning into the Devils Garden Campground.

Trailhead GPS coordinates: 38.782876, -109.594996

This trail takes hikers to Double O Arch, a most unusual formation where one arch is on top of another. This first part of the Devils Garden hike is a “super trail”—flat, easy, double-wide, and usually heavily populated with hikers. About a quarter mile from the Devils Garden trailhead, the trail splits. To go to Landscape Arch and Double O Arch, take the left-hand fork. The right-hand fork takes you on a short spur trail down to Pine Tree and Tunnel Arches, definitely worth adding 0.4 mile to your hike.

At 0.8 mile you come to Landscape Arch, which has an opening spanning an incredible 306 feet, which may make it the longest stone span in the world. On the geologic time scale, Landscape Arch is a senior citizen among arches in the park. The arch is also famous for the extreme slenderness of its stone span. Don’t wait too long to see Landscape Arch. Geologically speaking, it’s likely to collapse any day.

After Landscape Arch the trail gets primitive for a short stretch, where it climbs over the ends of fins and is marked with cairns. Be careful through here and keep an eye on your kids. The trail is still easy to follow, though. In this section you used to pass by Wall Arch on your right, but no more. It collapsed in August 2008.

Another quarter mile up the trail, you’ll see a short spur trail going off to the left to Partition and Navajo Arches. Both are worth a side trip.

When you get back on the main trail from Navajo Arch, go another half mile to Double O Arch on a fairly rough trail that is mostly on slickrock and a little hard to follow. Double O Arch is most unusual, one arch on top of another. After enjoying the locale, retrace your route to the trailhead.