2016 RM Cell

2016 Rocky Mountain Friends of the Pleistocene Field Trip

Geomorphology of the Grand Staircase region of the Colorado Plateau

October 14-16, 2016

Classic arroyo geomorphology

    Additional co-leaders contributing research and leading stops:

  • Dave Wilkins, Boise State University
  • Rick Ford, Weber State University
  • Joel Pederson, Utah State University
  • Michelle Nelson, Utah State University

Please join us for a Friends of the Pleistocene gathering in the Grand Staircase region of the Colorado Plateau in southern Utah.
We will explore the ‘Arroyo Problem’, history of eolian activity, paleo-flood hydrology, slot canyons, erosion rates and patterns of the Colorado Plateau, etc.

RSVP HERE – Please indicate your group name, affiliation, and # attending


Following FOP tradition, we will keep up-front costs low by leaving participants responsible for transportation, food, campground fees, and printing of a personal hard copy of the guidebook.

The trip will begin at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park campground located 12.6 miles southwest on Hancock Road from its junction with Highway 89 (see map 1 below).

Camping and Lodging:
Primitive Camping – There are many primitive campsites along Hancock Road. Look for pull-outs along the north side of Hancock Rd. Please be aware that some pullouts have deeper sands and 4WD may be required.

Ponderosa Grove Campground – This is a BLM managed campground with 9 campsites. No running water. Info – http://www.recreation.gov/recreationalAreaDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&recAreaId=2185

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Par Campground – There are 22 sites located in the campground ($20 dollars per single site and $40 for a double site). Reservations for campsites are highly recommended and can be made by calling1-800-322-3770 or online at www.stateparks.utah.gov.

Hotel lodging can be found in Kanab, Utah

Those arriving on Thursday can gather at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park campground (Campsite #5). This is where the leaders (Kerry Riley and Tammy Rittenour) will be staying.

General Itinerary (subject to change):

FRIDAY, 10/14 (see map 2)

Total distance for the day = 40 miles round-trip

AM – Discuss history and constraints of the Coral Pink dune field

Stop 1: TBD

Stop 2: TBD

Lunch at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

PM – Explore the arroyo in Kanab Creek and discuss history of arroyo cut-fill dynamics

Stop 3: Owl’s Eyes (latitude 37.065687, longitude -112.537198) – Located ~1.4 miles on right, if headed south on HWY 89 after passing the weigh station. Go over cattle grate and park on dirt lot.

Stop 4: Best Friends Stratigraphic Section (latitude 37.113860, longitude -112.548073) – Located ~0.5 miles down Angel Canyon Rd from junction with HWY 89.

SATURDAY, 10/15 (see map 3)
Total distance for the day = 85 miles round-trip

AM: Explore upper Kanab Creek and discuss Grand Staircase geology

Stop 5: Upper Kanab Falls (latitude 37.291173°, longitude -112.492507°)

(30-mile drive from Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park to the falls)

Lunch at Stop 6

PM – Introduce arroyo in Johnson Wash, compare regional arroyo chronologies, discuss distribution of erosion rates in Grand Staircase.

Stop 6: Basalt Junction (latitude 37.231783°, longitude -112.364927°)

(10-mile drive from Stop 5 at the falls to Stop 6 at Basalt Junction)

Evening celebration and planning for next FOP at Coral Pink Sand Dunes Campground Site # 5.

SUNDAY, 10/16 (see map 4)
Total distance for the day = 70 miles one-way

AM – Discuss aggradation versus paleo-flood deposits in Buckskin Wash.

Stop 8: Wire Pass Trailhead (latitude 37.019224°, longitude -112.024835°)

The trip will end around lunch time.

Aerial view of the Grand Staircase in southern Utah. Photo credit: Utahgeology.com

The original web page at the Utah State University Luminescence Laboratory is here.