Petrified Dunes, Petrified Dunes Viewpoint, Arches National Park, Utah
Petrified Dunes - 1.0 miles
Petrified Dunes Viewpoint
|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|
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
Arches National Park
PO Box 907
Moab, Utah 84532-0907
Headquarters Phone: 435.719.2100
Phone: 435.719.2299 (recorded information)
Camping Reservation Line: 877.444.6777