Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Location: near Kanab, Utah
Date: January 17, 2011

Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is in southwestern Utah east of Zion National Park, south of Bryce Canyon National Park, and west of Kanab.  The park contains the only major dunes on the Colorado Plateau, and these dunes were formed from the surrounding Navajo sandstone, giving them their pinkish color.  

Between hills covered in pinyon pine and juniper, the dunes encompass 1,200 acres, most of which is open to off road vehicle use.  The dunes formed in this location because the land forms a small notch that funnels wind, which carries sand grains and deposits them in the valley.  There is a very short nature trail in the park near the visitor center and campground, but all of the dunes are open to hiking.  

The Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle (Cicindela albissima) is one of the rarest insects in North America and is only found on a few small sections of dunes within Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.  The entire population of this beetle ranges between only 600-3000 individuals in any given year.  These beetles are only active April through September, so I was unable to see any.  The park also contains the largest population of the threatened plant, Welsh's milkweed (Asclepias welshii) photo.  A protected area of 250 acres in the park is off limits to off road vehicle use to protect these species.  

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.


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