One of the most popular arches in Arches National Park is just a short walk from one of the best less-known arches: Broken Arch. I don’t think its like, a hidden gem arch or a best kept secret in Arches but I don’t hear much about it.
I’ve been to Sand Dune Arch two or three times but I only did the hike to Broken Arch once and I really liked it! I’ll start with Sand Dune Arch though. The parking area here doesn’t have tons of space and in the summer it could easily be full.
Arches has a soft spot in my heart because it was the first national park I ever went to! I was there in 2015 for the first time and apparently only have one picture of Sand Dune Arch from then. The rest are from a later trip which I’ve now made plenty of.
If it is, consider a hike to Landscape Arch then stopping here on your way out. It’s a nice short 0.3 mile hike to Sand Dune Arch (round-trip) but it is pretty sandy. It’s not difficult but it’s loose sand, not packed.
This is a really unique arch because instead of being free-standing or up on a huge canyon wall, it’s tucked away in a bit of a slot canyon so there is a big wall behind you and behind the arch.
I haven’t been here yet without other people around but you can walk up under and behind the arch which is fun for a different perspective of it. People were usually good about taking turns under it and taking pictures here.
You don’t need a whole lot of time if you just want to see this one, but if you want to go over to Broken Arch, too, you’ll want to set aside 30-60 minutes, maybe a little more if you go to Tapestry Arch, too. I haven’t seen that one yet.
Thee trail to Broken Arch branches off of the Sand Dune Arch trail on the left (if you are at the trailhead with the parking behind you.) This trail is more packed down but it is still sand, not slickrock, unless you continue past Broken Arch in some spots.
The trail is pretty straightforward and it’s nice and easy to follow. Next thing you know, you’ll be able to see the arch on your left. You can walk under and around Broken Arch, which I enjoyed.
I really liked the view looking back through the Arch and out at the area you just came from but looking at the arch from both sides is beautiful.
I liked this hike a lot and next time I’m in Arches, I would like to hike to Tapestry Arch, too. This isn’t a long hike, just 1.4 miles round-trip to see both Broken and Sand Dune, and I would definitely recommend it.
There isn’t a whole lot to say about either of these arches and I only have a few pictures of each but I decided I wanted to write about it anyway. It’s a nice hike to fill a spare hour and Broken Arch is a great way to get away from some of the busier areas without having to go far from the main road.
National Park Pass + Other National Park Deals
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- Get yourself a little National Park notebook to write all about your adventures while you’re on the road. These from Field Notes are all very cute! If you want one for all of the NPS sites (400+!) then this one is for you!
- Before your trip, get some national park apparel for your trip! Homage is donating 5% of sales from the national park collection to the National Parks Conservation Association this year. Buy national park shirts here.
- Consider reading some of these books set in national parks before your big trip, on your adventure, or once you get home to take you back to the parks until next time.
- Planning a big national park trip? Check out these other posts: National Park bucket list, Make the most of a National Park trip, National Park camping packing list, My favorite National Park hikes, More National Park hikes I love, Underrated National Parks.
Where is the Sand Dune Arch Trailhead?
The Sand Dune Arch Trailhead is just about halfway between Fiery Furnace and Devils Garden and it is 16 miles from the visitor center. The parking area isn’t too big so you may have to back track if there isn’t room.
How long is the Sand Dune and Broken Arch hike?
If you just hike to Sand Dune Arch, it’s 0.3 miles round-trip. If you hike to Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch from the Sand Dune Arch trailhead, it’s 1.4 miles round-trip.
If you hike to Broken Arch from the Devils Garden Campground, it is a 1.7 mile loop to Tapestry Arch and Broken Arch, not including Sand Dune Arch which shouldn’t add too much to the mileage.
Do I have to go to both arches?
Of course not, but you should! It’s easy to get to both of them and Broken Arch isn’t as busy as Sand Dune Arch. If you want a slightly long hike, you could continue from Broken Arch to Tapestry Arch and back out.
Is the Broken Arch hike worth it?
Yes! I like both a lot but we didn’t see anyone else at Broken Arch when we went. Sand Dune Arch has always had other people there when I’ve seen it.
Have you hiked to Sand Dune and Broken Arches? What did you think of them? Which did you like better? Did you see Tapestry Arch?