The hustle and bustle of Arches can be exchanged for a modicum of quiet on the 7 mile Primitive Loop hike.
Though it starts and ends in the crowded parts of Devil’s Garden, the loop takes you out into a moderate stretch of trail that discourages some visitors. You may even have a moment alone with an Arch or two!
The hike takes you by six arches and Dark Angel, which is not an arch but a towering thumb of rock that juts into the sky.
There are mild, fun rock scrambles up sandstone fins. Don’t worry about getting lost, helpful cairns guide you along a couple of disorienting washes.
The arches are all worth it. They’re more subtle than Delicate Arch, but they lend a quiet wonder to this desert hike. Each one tells a story of salt, rock, water and time.
I found Dark Angel Particularly dramatic, but we did run into a few confused people who assumed that it was an Arch. It’s definitely worth the little offshoot to find it.
Bring water, sun protection and some snacks. We ate lunch at Private Arch, though we shared our spot with some other hikers.