Dunes to Mountains to Dunes Again
Millions of years ago the Coral Pink Sand Dunes were dunes of sand, then they
changed into Navajo Sandstone, only to once again breakdown and return to piles
of sand. This cycle will repeat itself over and over again. Even the towering
monoliths of Zion National Park will one day break down into piles of sand.
Throwing Sand Around
The Coral Pink Sand Dunes are a feature of the Colorado Plateau and the Vermilion
Cliffs. The dunes are an accumulation of loose sand thought to be ten to fifteen-thousand
years old. For a sand dune to form, certain conditions need to exist. High velocity
wind (at least 10 mph) must blow in a single direction across an empty desert
environment. In addition, there must be a unique influence upon the wind, allowing
the suspension and deposit of sand.
A notch between the Moquith and Moccasin Mountains funnel the prevailing wind
of the Arizona Strip between the two mountains. Fine grains of sand toss and
turn in turmoil, wielded by wind. Sand grains are carried through the air and
deposited when and where the wind calms; in this case into the Coral Pink Sand
Dunes State Park, building a unique desertscape of uninterrupted dunes. This
effect is known as the Venturi effect. Wind continues to organize and create
hills and flat areas along the dunes. Today a beautiful landscape of sand exists
set against a dark backdrop of Vermillion Cliffs.
Sitting High -
There are several hundred feet and two-thousand acres of sand piled along the
Sevier Fault and the park is growing. A dune of sand usually accumulates to its
mass another fifty to one-hundred fifty feet each year. Sitting at over 6000',
the Coral Pink Sand Dunes is the second highest dune in North America, 150' lower
than the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado.
Are the Dunes in Arizona or Utah?
The Coral Pink Sand Dunes lie just north of the Utah-Arizona state-line in Utah.
The closest town is Mount Carmel Junction, 11 miles away in Utah. Past the state
park entrance, the road continues. It becomes a dirt road, that may be impassible
when wet, and continues through the Arizona Cane Beds to Highway 389.
Are the Dunes really Coral Pink? This is a matter of opinion. Visitors have suggested they are and they are not.
Some say the sands are pink in color and others say they are orange or brown.
The pink tint is apparent late and early in the day. The sand is formed from
Navajo Sandstone, colored from iron oxide, so it only makes sense that the color
of the sand, is in-deed, coral pink or reddish.
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.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
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.