Maneuvering between cloudbursts, we left Zion behind and, utilizing still some rays of light, we drove towards Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes are the only major dune field in the Colorado Plateau region of the southwest, estimated to be more than 10,000 years old. Tucked along Vermilion Cliffs, the delicate sand dunes stretches for 11 km. The dunes’ name comes from the sand’s color that originates from Navajo Sandstone beds to the south, eroded by wind. The color results from a high concentration of iron oxides.
The color of the sand kickstarted a heated discussion about color schemes and whether coral is a color. To my boyfriend’s surprise, he found out it is a real name of a pink-orange color that derives its name from marine invertebrates decorating the bottom of the sea.
As we were maneuvering between cloudbursts, looming closer and closer, and disappearing sunlight, we went only for a short walk in the area. I was tempted to venture more, and conquer yet another sand hill, only to be pulled back by my boyfriend. I guess he learned that “one more hill” does not necessarily mean just one 🙂
We had a lot of fun running down the slope and enjoying the soft feeling of the sand. Even though it is not the most popular park, I totally recommend taking a short break there.
Sledding and Sandboarding
One of the park’s most popular activities is sledding or sandboarding down the sand dunes!
You can rent sandbars or sand sleds for $25 a piece at the visitor center or bring your own. We were there at sunset, so we didn’t have enough time to run up and down the hills. So it still stands on my “to-do” list 🙂
Driving Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) and ATV dune buggies are among the most popular activities at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. There are almost no limitations regarding OHV usage, except for a small area closed off for conservation preservation. You can either bring your own or participate in an organized tour (for example, this one).
When we arrived in the park, we noticed rows of ATVs and a group getting ready to embark on an adventure. We went to ask if they had a place for us by any chance, but to our utter disappointment, they were full ;(
By default, most national and state parks do not allow drone photography. I recently discovered that Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is one of the few that permits it. You need to fill in some paperwork, so if you want to fly, head to the visitors center and inquire.
The park entrance fee is $10. It’s a state park, so the “America the Beautiful” National Parks pass is not accepted here.
The current pricing is available on this website (if you’re not in the USA, you need a VPN to see it, so weird😅)