Natural Features & Ecosystems

Sand Dune Arch

Sand Dune Arch, one of the thousands of catalogued arches

NPS Photo by Tom Gray

To many, the most outstanding natural features of Arches are the park's geologic formations. Its namesake arches mingle with spires, balanced rocks, thin sandstone fins and undulating fields of ancient lithified sand dunes, to list just a few of the park's many landscapes.

But that rocky foundation supports a wide variety of ecosystems filled with desert life. From the microscopic communities of biological soil crust, to the unexpected aquatic oases of desert potholes, to the undeniable power of the Colorado River that forms the park's southeast boundary -- life abounds in every corner of the park.

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