Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch Trail

The Sand Dune and Broken Arch Trail is a 2.4 mile loop that has a trailhead along the main road and also in the Devil's Garden Campground in Arches National Park.

I started at the trailhead that is along the main road. Only a few steps along the trail is a side trail to Sand Dune Arch. The trail passes between some rock fins and goes up a narrow canyon with a loose sand floor.

The Sand Dune Arch is a small one, close to the ground and hidden from view by all the surrounding rock.

The trail continues across a brushy flat area for about 0.5 miles to Broken Arch. This arch is visible in the distance
The trail continues under and through Broken arch. The notch at the top gives the rock the appearance of being broken. Quite a few people from the campground were lounging here, enjoying the mild spring weather.
A little further on there is a side trail to Tapestry Arch. This one surprised me, as it's not mentioned on the park map or on the sign at the trail head.

Back on the main trail, the route enters the Devils Garden Campground and then loops back to the main road trail head. passing over a slickrock area and between more rock fins. It took me about 1:30 to cover this trail. Part of the way you have to walk in loose sand, making the going a little harder.

Skyline Arch Trail

The Skyline Arch Trail is a short 0.4 mile trail near the Devils Garden Campground in Arches National Park.Skyline Arch towers over the area below. The interpretive information says that in 1940, this arch suddenly doubled its size, a large chunk falling forward and crashing below. Arches are normally thought to form slowly, but this one grow with a leap.

As I stood below the arch and looked at the pile of stone still resting where it fell in 1940, I heard children's voices coming from the arch above. Somehow, two youngsters managed to climb up there and sit under the arch way.
This is a short and easy hike but is one that most skip on the way to the popular Devil's Garden.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Park Avenue Trail to Baby Arch

The Park Avenue Trail is a 2.0 mile round trip trail near the entrance to Arches National Park. This is the first opportunity for a hike at Arches after entering the park.

The route is a moderate walk along a mostly primitive trail on the canyon floor, offering close up views of huge sandstone fins, balanced rocks and tall spires.

At the trail head, look to the right and up for Park Avenue Arch. It's hard to tell that this is a true arch but apparantly there is a one foot space between the arch shaped rock and the back wall.

The trail can be accessed from either end and you can have someone pick you up if you only want to go one way. The south trail head looks down the canyon.

The Park Avenue name comes from the tall sky scraper appearance of the sandstone rock fins. The sandstone layer here is mostly the Entrada layer.

At the north end of the trail there are rock formations that have local names. This is the "Three Gossips."

The parking area at the north trail head offers a view of the Courthouse Towers, or maybe this is the Tower of Babel.

At the lower end of the Park Avenue Trail there is a view point that includes Baby Arch. From the view point it is hard to spot Baby Arch due to the rock surface that appears behind it. If you move about 100 yards further north, some blue sky appears through the opening. I took about an hour to walk down the canyon and back up.