Today, we visited the Pipe Springs National Monument in Arizona as well as the nearby Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Utah. It was a hot and sunny day with temperatures in the 90s and very little wind. Luckily, it was a dry heat as is typical in this part of the country.
Pipe Spring National Monument
Our first stop this afternoon was at Pipe Spring National Monument in Arizona. This small park protects a natural spring that was originally used by the Native Americans and then by settlers and Mormons before eventually falling under the control of the National Park Service. The site currently represents what it would have looked like during the 1800s.
Other than the natural spring which currently feeds two ponds, the immediate area is flat, dry, and dusty. There are quite a few birds in the area that appeared to be taking advantage of the water supply. Additionally, the NPS keeps 3 adult chickens, 6 young chickens, two mules, and a longhorn bull! They let the adult chickens out to roam during the day and need to find them in the evening!
The fort at the center of the park is a small structure, basically just a large brick house with courtyard and slit windows on the exterior walls. The natural spring feeds into the lower level from a pipe in the wall. Currently, the water comes out at around 4 gallons a minute. Previously, it was 10 times that! This is due to the lack of snowfall here in modern times. The fort was also the site of the first telegraph in the state of Arizona, used by the Mormons for security purposes.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
After leaving Pipe Spring, we headed back north to Utah to visit the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. There isn’t much to do here when you have an injured leg! We just went to the viewing platform where we got a good view of the nearby dunes.
The dunes are pretty small compared to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado as well as White Sands in New Mexico. It turns out that the little viewing platform in the park is the best place to see them as they aren’t really visible from the road.