• South Window

    Arches

    National Park Utah

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 sanddunes, 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.

Did You Know?

Common Raven

The common raven displays abilities to play and problem-solve that are rare among animals. This member of the crow family is also very vocal, communicating with over a dozen sounds. Perhaps because of these qualities, ravens have achieved a certain stature in both European and Native American folklore.