Petrified Dunes, Petrified Dunes Viewpoint, Arches National Park, Utah

Petrified Dunes - 1.0 miles

Petrified Dunes Viewpoint

The Petrified Dunes and La Sal Mountains

The Petrified Dunes and La Sal Mountains

Round-Trip Length: 1.0 miles (No Trail - Cross Country Travel Required)
Start-End Elevation: 4,390' @ Trailhead
Elevation Change: Elevation changes vary with route
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Petrified Dunes - 1.0 Miles Round-Trip

The Petrified Dunes stand today across an area once covered by vast sand dunes. Some 200 million years ago winds from the northwest carried tons of fine-grained sand into this area, creating an immense desert.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Over time the sand drifts were covered by other layers of sediment, compressed and cemented by quartz and calcite into Navajo Sandstone. Erosion has since washed away overlying layers, exposing the original dune-scape.

These ancient dunes are erroneously referred to as 'petrified', as if to imply they were once organic, like wood. Here this term simply applies to sand that has been cemented into rock.

There is no trail leading into the dunes; simply set off east on the most enticing path. Consider traveling at least one half mile in to fully examine and explore this unique landscape. Keep track of your route and leave enough time to find your way back. When in doubt, head due west - you will eventually run into the main park road.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N38 39.943 W109 35.251 — Petrified Dunes Viewpoint and Parking Area
  • N38 39.916 W109 35.105 — Cross Country Point #1
  • N38 39.854  W109 35.083 — Cross Country Point #2

Worth Noting

  • Avoid crypotobiotic soil and tread only across petrified dunes, slickrock and washes.

  • The Petrified Dunes are best lit in the afternoon.

  • Geo-historical information in this section provided by the National Park Service.

Directions to Trailhead

The Petrified Dunes Viewpoint Parking Area is located 10.5 miles from the Park Visitor Center on the east side of the main park road.

Contact Information

Arches National Park
PO Box 907
Moab, Utah 84532-0907
Headquarters Phone: 435.719.2100
Fax: 435.719.2305
Phone: 435.719.2299 (recorded information)
Camping Reservation Line: 877.444.6777

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