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Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park  (Kanab, Utah)

(Reprint from News: June 18, 2001)

June 16, 2001


I spent a pleasant night camping in the northern part of Zion National Park then headed east through the slickrock sandstone country of southern Utah.  Each time I drive through southern Utah, I try to visit a few new places, and this time I visited a couple of places that I'd highly recommend: Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park near Kanab, and Calf Creek Falls near Boulder.  


The Coral Pink Sand Dunes stretch for over 10 miles and they're incredibly beautiful, especially at sunset.  The park is a little off the beaten path, but it's definitely worth a visit.  There's also a pleasant campground there with really nice showers which I savored... twice, in fact.


I made the mistake, though, of visiting the park during a Saturday afternoon when it seemed like every dune buggy and dirt bike in Utah was there, tearing through both the dunes and the campground.  I used to deal with dirt bikers when I was a ranger in the Colorado Rockies and I really got fed up with their sometimes-arrogant and inconsiderate attitudes.  Many of the dirt bikers I met in Colorado were nice, but some of them had a real attitude problem. 


As I sat there in the dunes watching the sunset with Yamahas zipping all around me, I figured there wasn't anything more irritating than trying to enjoy the beautiful desert while listening to the annoying sound of a noisy dirt bike.  Well, yes there was, come to think of it:  trying to enjoy a beautiful lake while listening the annoying sound of a whining jet ski.  The world would be a much better place, I think, if all the jet skis and dirt bikes in the world were dumped in a giant trench somewhere in New Jersey and covered with a thousand feet of wet cement.


Fortunately, all the dirt bikers were asleep the next morning, with thoughts of Kawasakis dancing in their heads, I'm sure, when I snuck out to the silent dunes, took off my shoes and felt the cold sand squish between my toes.  After a delicious breakfast of jelly donuts and Diet Pepsi (it tasted better than it sounds), I hiked up to the highest peak in the dunes where the view was absolutely stunning.



Above left:  Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is beautiful at sunset...  

Above center:  ... but watch out for those dune buggies!

Above right:  The dunes here are over a hundred feet high. 




Above left:  The quiet campground early the next morning. 

Above center:  I snuck out to the dunes and ate a picnic breakfast of donuts and Diet Pepsi (normal fare), and I had the dunes all to myself.  After breakfast, I hiked a mile to the top of the tallest dune in the background... with not one dirt bike in sight!

Above right:  Heading north on U.S. 89 near Kanab. 



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