Although the sand dunes are set at a 6000' elevation, the
winters are mild. They get snow just a few times each year. Summers are dry,
until September, when the rains begin. Although moisture is scarce, a variety
of plants, trees and flowers exist. These hardy plants include the ponderosa
pine, pinyon pine, Welsh's milkweed, escarpment milk vetch, annual paintbrush,
Rocky Mountain bee plant, coral root, Brandegee's sand plant, golden bush, flax
flower, sweet clover, Palmer's penstemon, buttercup, globe mallow, serviceberry,
Mormon tea, cliffrose, gambel oak and dune grasses that reach up to 6' tall.
There are two distinct vegetation zones within the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State
Park. The elevation where most spend time is 6000'. It is where wildflowers,
grass, pinyon pines, Utah junipers and yucca cactus thrive and work to stabilize
the dunes. Above 6000', the towering ponderosa pines are evident. These Rocky
Mountain Ponderosa Pines are the predominant pine of the area.
The ponderosa pine has a unique butterscotch odor and commonly grows at the higher
elevations, ranging 6000' to 9000', in Southern Utah. This tree does well in
the arid climate of the Southwest. It is able to live on very little moisture.
The needles are long and grouped into bundles of three. Notice how branches are
absent in the first section of the tree. Seedlings as well as trees at various
mature stages. The few vernal (ephemeral) pools existing at the dunes are often
associated with stands of ponderosa pine.
the Dunes Few flowers live on the undulating sands of the dunes.
The muted pinks and yellows give color to the miles of pink sands. A fewdelicate wild flowers actually thrive in the harsh environment including the
dune sunflower and dune evening primrose.
Desert Globe Mallow -
Seen in the banner for this page, the desert globe mallow blooms summer to fall.
Native Americans chewed the plant and used it as a burn poultice.
Dune Evening Primrose -
Also seen in the banner, the fragrant and delicate primrose opens its petals
at sunset and keeps them open until the heat of the day causes them to wilt.
Dune Sunflower -
This flower is related to the common sunflower but it has
adapted to its sandy environment. This flower blooms in the spring and sometimes
again in the fall.
Directions to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park Plan your Coral Pink Sand Dunes Vacation with our
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.
Hardy flora thrive at the Sand Dunes
Lodging 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.