Sand Dune and Broken ArchesArches National Park
Arches National Park, A Giant Sandbox, Geological Wonders
Length: 1.4 miles (out and back)
Elevation Gain: 183 ft
Approximate Hiking Time: 1/2 – 1 hr
Features: Geological Wonders
Nearest Town: Moab, Ut
On this trail, visit two cool arches slightly off the beaten path.
Broken Arch that appears to be broken at the top? Will it stay standing or will it fall?
Sand Dune Arch that looks like it belongs on the moon rather than tucked away in Arches National Park, accessed through a short slot canyon and perched over a bed of sand.
- Trail Condition 75% 75%
- Usage 90% 90%
- Trail Head Easy to Find 100% 100%
- Kid Friendly 100% 100%
1. Sand Dune Arch
Spanning the distance between two fins and taking on another worldly appearance, Sand Dune Arch is a really fun family friendly side trail.
2. Broken Arch
Looking like it’s broken in the middle, hence the name, Broken Arch seems like a balancing feat. The trail runs right underneath allowing views looking up and through.
3. Slot Canyon
A very short slot canyon runs part of the side trail to Sand Dune Arch. It’s a fun experience for anyone who’s always wanted to hike in a slot canyon without getting into anthing technical.
Broken Arch trailhead can be reached by taking the Main Park Road for about 16 miles to a pull out/parking area. There is a big rounded rock at the trailhead that can’t be missed. It’s like a huge kid magnet and our kids made a beeline for it as soon as they got out of the car.
Follow the trail from the trailhead for 0.1 miles to the spur trail that heads to Sand Dune Arch. It is shaded for much of the day and can be a great reprieve from the heat of the summer; however, the trail is almost all sand making hiking a little harder.
Part of the trail heads through a small slot canyon before widening out near the arch. Just one area of the slot is quite narrow, but there is an option to up and over rather than squeeze between the rocks.
Near the end of the trail the space really widens out and Sand Dune Arch comes into full view spanning the distance between two fins and taking on another worldly appearance.
When you are done exploring Sand Dune Arch, head back to the main Broken Arch Trail to continue the hike to Broken Arch or return to the trailhead.
This part of the trail is exposed and can be very hot in the summer, although we found it was easier hiking here than through the sand to Sand Dune Arch. Distance from the side trail to Broken Arch is another 0.5 miles.
Once at Broken Arch the trail comes through the center of the arch where you can continue on to Tapestry Arch and Devil’s Garden campground or follow the trail back to the trailhead. Tapestry Arch is also accessible from the campground and is a shorter hike starting from there.
Why is this hike easy?
In spite of the sand on the trail to Sand Dune Arch and the exposure of the trail to Broken Arch, hiking this trail is pretty easy albeit slower than hiking on harder surfaces. For kids, the hike may be more like playing in a giant sandbox which is really fun!
More Hikes to Choose From
Check out this and other hikes in Arches National Park and Moab, Ut.
Copper Ridge Dinosaur Tracksite, Green River, Ut
Elevation Gain: 66 ft
Discover, touch, and ponder a sampling of the enormous diosaur tracks that can still be seen at Copper Ridge Dinosaur Tracksite.
Delicate Arch Viewpoints, Arches National Park, Ut
Length: 0.1 – 1 mile
Elevation Gain: 10 – 141ft
Delicate Arch is synonymous with Utah. While you won’t be able to reach out and touch Delicate Arch from here, you still get great views at a distance.
Wolfe Ranch and Petroglyphs, Arches National Park, Ut
Length: 0.5 mile (loop)
Elevation Gain: 20 ft
For a great cultural stop, visit Wolfe Ranch and the petroglyph panel while exploring Arches National Park.