Tanya Milligan holding a Common King Snake

Animals at the Sand Dunes

In the hot arid climate of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, many species of animals survive due to their ability to adapt to a changing environment. Animals living at the dunes include the ring-tailed cat, mule deer, black-tailed jack rabbit, coyote, fox, mountain lion, bobcat and the cottontail. More than mammals tread the hot sands. Reptiles have found their niche at the dunes including the plateau striped whiptail, California king snake, Utah milk snake, Utah Mountain king snake and the sonoran lyre snake. Some of the birds that are in the park visit, but do not nest there. The bird list includes the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, golden eagle and mourning dove. Even bats find a home in the arid, sandy desert. Not as common, but salamanders and toads exist at the dunes . They find water where it is scarce, (usually from melted snow) to help stave off dehydration.

Standing on the boardwalk at the dunes, piles and piles of sand are in view. Panoramic views reveal few plants dotting the harsh landscape, but not an animal in site. Nothing. But look closer. Look for tracks in the sand. Soon you will notice traces of life. Paw prints, lizard toes, bird tracks and snakes all live at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Many animals have adapted to the dry desert life of the dunes. Amphibians such as salamanders and toads can be found near small water sources.

The horned lizard is often called a "horny toad." Not a common site due to their coloring and habits. The animals name is due to the protruding "horns" above the eyes and its flat body and eating method that resemble a toad. Although fearsome looking, the horned lizard eats ants and other slow moving insects and spiders. In autumn, the lizard will hibernate, by burrowing into the sand. In the spring, they will come out and warm their bodies before hunting for food.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona - North Rim Map Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah Lodging: Zion National Park Zion National Park Cedar Breks National Monument, Utah Dixie National Forest: Cedar Mountain Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion Book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National ParkEndangered Endemic Coral Pink Tiger Beetle
It is always interesting when a small area is host to one of a kind species; sub-species in this case. The Coral Pink Sand Dunes is home to the Coral Pink Tiger Beetle. The harsh sandy desert environment of the dunes is the only place on the planet that this sub-species of tiger beetle exists. The adult beetle tends to eat other insects. The bright green headed beetle lives in one of the smallest home ranges of any species of animal on earth. The adult Coral Pink Tiger Beetle habitat is the upper dunes and the larva inhabit grassy interdune swales. Swales of Coral Pink Tiger Beetles are evident in the spring.

Common King Snake
Most snakes are more active during warm weather and the Common King Snake is no exception. The snake is usually a medium sized animal, 35 - 80 inches in length. King Snakes are constrictors and eat a wide variety of food including amphibians, birds, reptiles and rodents. The Common King Snake is immune to rattlesnake venom and will feast on their young.

Bald Eagle
A beautiful and elegant bird, the bald eagle, soars the skies above the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. The desert nesting Southwestern Bald Eagle is smaller than the more common variety. The Bald Eagle likes fish, but the southwestern bald eagle also eats small mammals and birds.

Jack Rabbit
Big feet, donkey ears and long legs characterize this odd looking animal. Those same characteristics are what helps this desert dwelling animal beat the heat by releasing heat through the large surfaces. The black-tailed jack rabbit is a hare, rather than a rabbit. Therefore the name "jack rabbit" is a misnomer. A better name would have been "jack hare." The hare uses the coolness of the night to forage for food and its keen sense of hearing and sight help to elude predators.

Directions to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Plan your Coral Pink Sand Dunes Vacation with our
Utah Maps and Information

Coral Pink Sand Dunes from Zion National Park
From Zion National Park. Exit Zion Park through the east entrance and drive 12 miles to the junction U-9 & US-89. This is Mount Carmel Junction. Turn south on US-89. Turn-off to the sand dunes 3 miles from Mt. Carmel Junction. Follow Yellow Jacket road for 8 miles to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. Lodging for Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Coral Pink Sand Dunes from
Utah Highway 59 & Arizona 389

From Hurricane, Utah take Utah 59 to Arizona 389 just past Colorado City look for the road leading to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. It will come out 3 miles from Mt. Carmel Junction, Utah. Do not travel through the dunes when it's been raining or the roads are wet from snow.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes through Fredonia, Arizona
From Hurricane, Utah take Utah 59 to Arizona 389 and travel to Fredonia, Arizona, then to Kanab, Utah. Drive on US Highway toward Mt. Carmel Junction, turning at the signed entranced to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes.


Horned Toad

Horned Toad


Lodging Zion National Park
Lodging Zion National ParkLodging and services are available on the gorgeous east side of Zion National Park, where guests are close to Zion National Park (12 miles), Bryce Canyon National Park (60 miles), Cedar Breaks National Monument (45 miles), Coral Pink Sand Dunes (12 miles), and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (85 miles). It's where city traffic is absent and the skies are bright and clean.




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This is my new favorite quote:
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It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park

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Map: Coral Pink Sand Dunes and Moquith Mountain US Highway 89 Southern Utah Backways Southern Utah Scenic Byways