Hiking in Utah
Adventures in Camping, Backpacking, and Canyoneering

Arches National Park:
Sand Dune Arch

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Overview

Trailhead and Map | Trail Description
Distance and Difficulty | Hiking Time | What to Bring

GPS Coordinates and Map

Courthouse Wash Bridge, USGS The Windows Section, Arches. Click HERE to view the approximate starting coordinates and map. Simply follow the main road into the park until you reach reach the turn off for Sand Dune Arch on the east side. Check the official Arches National Park Website for more information (http://www.nps.gov/arch/).

Trail Description

"Hey, this looks like a real funland!" -- Entering into slot between some sandstone fins
This is one stop within the park that you just can't miss, particularly if you have children. It is not necessarily a main feature for half-day visitors, but you'll kids will drag you back here again and again once they discover this gem. The easy hike is a short janunt from the parking area into a small slot canyon, but there are so many places to explore that you might spend longer than you expect here.

The bottom of the sandstone fins resembles a sandy beach with leading up to Sand Dune Arch. There are places to play and hide all along the way, and kids (and adults) will enjoy exploring the area. If you walk under the arch, will will two ways to explore behind the arch (Remember that climbing on top of arches is against park policy). To the left of you almost under the arch, you will see small ledge where you can climb up leading behind the arch. Kids and some adults might need help to get up from that spot. You can also walk directly under the arch and find a route up some slick rock.

See Video - Windows Media Format (555 KB, 42 seconds)

"What a great place for a sandy desert beach!" -- Sand Dune Arch
Once you find your way up, might might be able to see another route up some slick rock about 12-15 feet and will lead down into a keeper pothole, often filled with water after a good rain.

Unfortunately, you will also see that some people have have recklessly defaced some of the sandstone by engraving their names.

After returning down to the bottom of the arch in the main sandy bottom, you might consider hiking up and exploring some of the fins to the south; however, climbing up is somewhat difficult, requiring really good hiking shoes. Otherwise, you can return to your car or consider taking a hike to Broken Arch, about a mile northeast through some open flatland.

Distance and Difficulty

The short, .3-mile hike is easy for all ages.

Hiking Time

Well, you can be in and out in 15 minutes, but I always have spent at least a hour or more with kids.

What to Bring

No special shoes are required for this one if you not planning on climbing or exploring more of the area. Your shoes will certainly fill with some sand.

"Ah, a lonely head!" -- Having fun in the sand under the arch


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