Southern Utah’s State Parks Don’t Skimp on Grandeur
By Barry Eitel
Kanab is in the heart of several state parks, each with its own unique beauty and singular enchantment that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Each park is within 90 minutes of Kanab and boasts gorgeous views just waiting to be discovered. We understand the want – the need, actually – to see each glorious park in detail, which is why Kanab is the perfect place to set up your ‘base camp’ for your adventures. You’ll be able to visit each park at your leisure and won’t have to compromise on anything during your visit to Southern Utah.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes
The Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is named for the soft red hues of the sand that covers 3,730 acres of this park. Over thousands of years the sand has been collecting as the wind gradually forces the grains from the surrounding red sandstone formations. The park is a secluded playground for off-highway vehicle riding, hiking, sandboarding, or simply squishing your toes in the unique soft sand. Hikers not only have the option of exploring the boardwalk, there are overlook trails and nature trails within the park, but the adventurous can join an ATV tour from the on-site concessionaire, and discover slot canyons and dinosaur tracks located inside the Park.
Grosvenor Arch is located in the middle of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It is a unique double arch that stands 152 feet high and spans 92 feet. Visitors will find a picnic area and a campground with tent/RV sites and showers. The campground is a popular base camp for exploring the backcountry area. The dramatic rock structure appears otherworldly; you’ll leave Grosvenor Arch with some very dramatic photos.
Hole in the Rock Road
Hole in the Rock Road is a 55-mile dirt road that runs southeast from the town of Escalante to a narrow crevice – or hole in the rock – within the western rim of Glen Canyon. The crevice is an exciting passageway to the Colorado River and terminates at Lake Powell, which now submerges the last 300 feet of the original road. The road was built in 1879 by a hearty Mormon Expedition in an attempt to cross from the Colorado River. The Pioneers discovered a steep crevice that served as the only breach in the steep canyon walls of Glen Canyon. Though it seemed an impassable barrier, six weeks of backbreaking labor enabled them to continue their expedition-- by lowering their heavy horses, oxen, and wagons by ropes and a series of posts drilled into the side of the canyon, down to the Colorado River below. And now you can enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Kodachrome Basin State Park is best known for its towering sand pipes, or ‘chimney rocks’, which rise from the earth and soar from six to 170 feet tall. Their variegated shades of red, pink, white, yellow and gray sediment – coupled with a backdrop of brilliant blue skies, desert vegetation and shifting daylight – make Kodachrome Basin a photographer’s paradise. Geologists believe the sand pipes are remnants of ancient geysers that filled with sediment and then solidified. Over time, the encompassing Entrada sandstone, formed during the Jurassic era, eroded away to leave behind the unique, multi-hued rock formations standing today.