Sunday, May 13, 2012

Arches: Sand Dune Arch

Distance: 0.4 miles round trip
Elevation: 5,169 ft - 5,198 ft
Elevation Gain: 29 ft
Dogs: Not allowed
Bathroom at the trailhead: No
Water at trailhead: No
Date Hiked: 27 April 2012

Toddlers play in the soft sand beneath Sand Dune Arch
Sand Dune Arch in Arches National Park is a small secluded arch overhanging a giant sand box.  It is surrounded by walls, which makes the area a mecca for parents with small children.  They can play in the sand while the adults lean against the opposite wall eating a picnic lunch.

A soft gravel path leads towards the arch.
A series of fins hides the arch and adds bling to the surrounding area.
On the day I hiked this trail, it was cold but the play area was sheltered from the wind and so warmer and more welcoming.  Even in the heat of summer, this area can provide a pleasant respite from the harsh elements and toddler-terrorizing real world outside.  If you are a family visiting the park, this is great spot to spend a few hours.

A trail junction points towards Sand Dune Arch to the right.  To the left you can reach Broken Arch across a broad flat plateau.  It is much better to hike to Broken Arch from the Devil's Garden Campground, however.
The route cuts through this narrow slot.  I did not have to turn sideways to walk through so it is roughly shoulder width.   I did overhear some other adults talking, however,  that turning sideways does not always present one's skinniest profile, so think before you enter or you might be a permanent part of the scenery!
Adults hanging out against the back wall of the "sandbox" where they can keep and eye on there young'ens. The arch is just out of view where the sunlight is streaming in.
Hikers without children may not find much appeal here unless you want to relive your sandbox days.  Just leave whatever herbaceous or fungal substance you usually use on such trips down memory lane.  There are real children present after all!

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