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Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park - Utah

Summary: A short stroll on a nature trail across the only sand dunes on the Colorado Plateau. Be aware that this area is heavily used by 4-wheel OHVs on the weekend.
Directions: The Coral Pink Sand Dunes are located in southern Utah roughly between Kanab and Zion National Park. From Kanab, drive north on highway 89 past Moqui Cave and the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Turn left (west) on Hancock Road (you can also get there on Sand Dunes Road which lies further north on 89). Drive to the entrance on the left (south) and pay $5 at the self pay station (camping is also available for an additional fee). The trailhead begins a short distance down the road at a parking lot and board walk on the left.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car - paved all the way
Navigation: Easy
Length: 1/2 mile
Date Hiked: September, 2002
Weather Conditions: Nice & windy
Required Skills: None
Hike Description: From the car park, walk to the end of the board walk to a few signs which explain dune formation. The Coral Pink Sand Dunes were formed by high winds and eroding Navajo sandstone cliffs to the south. There is a constricting notch formed by Mouquith and Moccasin Mountains which causes wind funneled through the notch to increase in velocity depositing Navajo sand in this one particular area forming the dunes. The dunes are the only major ones on the Colorado Plateau and stretch for 7 miles along the Vermillion Cliffs. There is a 1/2 mile nature trail which begins just off the board walk on the right. The nature trail is fenced off from the rest of the park to prohibit the entry of OHVs. Signs at frequent intervals explain the dune plant and animal ecology as well as various aspects of dune formation. Half way through the loop you can risk your life by venturing out of the fenced area to climb one or both of the largest dunes. It's actually sort of cool to examine the semi-liquid properties of the sand and action of wind across the dunes.
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author and his wife got an early start and hiked the nature trail and climbed the tallest dune before the OHV riders were out of bed and on their stinky, noisy machines.
Maps: None
Books: None
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
Pink sand & footprints. View from the top of the large dune.