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Kid Pleaser: Playing In The Sand At Arches National Park


Sand Dune Arch -- photos from both sides -- offers kids a great expanse of sand to play in...while parents cool off in the shade. Even getting to the arch is fun, as you have to slink through this narrow slot. Kurt Repanshek photos.

While the more than 2,000 rock arches at Arches National Park might hold your kids' attention for a good period of time, sometimes you just have to get down and dirty to keep them happy.

That's when you head to Sand Dune Arch.

In truth, the entire park is pretty much one big playground for youngsters. After all, how many places are there where they can climb up to, and through, much of the landscape? In the Windows Section of the park you and your kids can hike up to Turret Arch, and climb into the arch and down the other side. Ditto for North and South Windows which oppose Turret. 

In the Devils Garden area, if you hike past Landscape Arch towards Double O Arch—and they're not scared of heights—you can take the crew across the top of a fin that one day far, far, far in the future might itself become an arch.

But when the youngsters are tired of looking at arches and getting restless, you just might want to swing by Sand Dune Arch to let them blow off some steam and wear them down a bit. 

The payoff? A huge outdoor sand box situated near the base of a dwarf-sized arch (at least when compared to most other arches in the park), and rightfully dubbed "Sand Dune" for the sandy expanse beneath it.

While kids will enjoy playing in the sand, moms and dads might not—this is rich red sand that likely will stain socks and other clothing. 

The plus? The arch is located between towering fins of rock that shield the area from the sun. Come the high heat of summer, you'll be much cooler here than out in the direct sun, if only for a while.

The trailhead to Sand Dune Arch is located just a bit more than a mile south of the Devils Garden Trailhead. And the walk to Sand Dune Arch is less than 10 minutes from your car.


There's sand everywhere. I remember that the slog trough Devil's Garden Trail was almost all sand to get to Landscape Arch. I also feel fortunate that I got to see Wall Arch before it collapsed.

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