Southwest Dune Quest
March & April 2005
Stop #1 - Kelso Dunes, CA
- Closed to Vehicles
On the way to Phoenix, I stopped on Interstate 40 to check out
Kelso and Cadiz Dunes. Both of these dunes are designated Wilderness Areas
which means you can't use any vehicles. I hiked to the top of Kelso from
the parking area. About 600 vertical feet and over a mile from the top
to the parking area as the crow flies.
I saw lots of Mojave Fringed Toed Lizards. Only one
little guy would cooperate enough for me to get a good picture of him.
With all the rain we've been having this year, there were lots
of wildflowers and even a small creek heading to the dunes.
Stop #2 - Cadiz Dunes, CA
- Closed to Vehicles
Cadiz Dunes are east of Twentynine Palms and south of the
Mojave Preserve. It took me about an hour to get from Kelso Dunes to Cadiz
Dunes. I'm sure you could get there in less time if you knew where you
were going, and didn't stop to check out a tortoise.
This sign cracked me up. It has a sticker on it that says "OHV
Funds at Work". The trouble is the only place you can ride an OHV
in the area is on the access road. Everything else is designated
Wilderness and no vehicles are allowed.
I got to see a Mojave Fringed Toed Lizard, a very trusting
grass hopper and a lone Dune Evening Primrose.
And on the way from Kelso Dunes to Cadiz Dunes, I actually saw
a Desert Tortoise.
Stop #3 - Cinder Hills,
We camped just under the shadows of Sunset Crater. Went on a
nature walk and the family picked up a bit of trash along the way.
We also visited Sunset
Crater National Monument
The kids thought the lava flow trail was pretty neat. All they could
talk about was volcano's and hot lava.
And stopped by Wupatki
These building are all in the "Box Canyon" area.
Stop #4 - Lake Powell
On the way from Cinders to Coral Pink, we spent the night in
Page, AZ and decided to rent a boat and explore Lake Powell for the day.
The lake level is very low, but there is still lots of water. We went up
Navajo Canyon and found a small beach with a sand dune and a canyon complete
with a little creek. The kids had a great time exploring up the canyon.
Stop #5 - Coral Pink
Sand Dunes, UT
We camped at the dry lake bed at Coral Pink. Not too crowded
considering it was still Spring Break for some kids.
The kids and I hiked up the hill from the dry lake bed and
explored around. We found lots of neat animal & insect tracks:
We visited the Utah State Parks part of the sand dunes.
Their visitor center has some neat displays including a collection of sand
from around the world. We hiked on the nature trail (closed to OHVs).
They have some neat information about how the dunes were formed, etc.
Stop #6 - Sand Hollow
State Park, UT
The newest Utah State Park is Sand Hollow. The improved
campground just opened a week before we arrived. Very nice facilities. We had
a few storm clouds try to spoil our outdoor adventure.
We spent an afternoon exploring trails all the way around Sand
Hollow (with no map). We did find Ft. Pearce Ridge Trail, which is a
designated OHV, horse, hiking trail. Never did find the dinosaur tracks
or the Indian pictographs.
The kids roasted marshmallows by the fire after a long day of
Stop #7 - Clayton
Valley Dunes, NV
On the drive up Nevada on Highway 95, I decided to stop and
check out the Clayton Valley Dunes. I had previously been to Amargosa
Dunes and Crescent Dunes,
but Clayton Valley is a bit farther off the beaten path.
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