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    Coral Pink Sand Dunes: the pink dunes park in Utah

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    Martí Micolau

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    When we see the photos of high sand dunes we immediately think of the Sahara desert, often forgetting that there are many other sandy deserts around the world. Many of these, each with their own characteristics, are found in American territory: from the hot Kelso Dunes of the Mojave to the whiteness of the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, to the remote dunes of the Kobuk Valley in Alaska.

    In southern Utah, not far from the routes of those who visit the main destinations of the south west, the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. The name speaks for itself: we are faced with high coral colored sand dunes, which especially at sunrise and sunset give the eyes enchanting shades.


    • How to reach us
    • Hours and prices
    • Visit the Coral Pink Sand Dunes
      • Dune buggy e sandboarding
    • Accomodation

    How to reach us

    There are not many alternatives to reach this park on the southern border of Utah. In fact, only one road allows you to get there. This is the Hancock Road, a detour of Hwy 89 that branches off from the latter just north of Kanab.

    If you come from the south and the east, so in general from the main attractions of Arizona, you will necessarily have to go through Kanab. From here you just need to take the US-89 towards the north, until you find the signs for the park of the dunes: the detour is located about ten kilometers from Kanab and is well signposted. Consider that from Kanab it takes about half an hour by car.

    In case you are coming from the north, or from almost all locations in Utah, the road to follow is always the US-89, heading south, until you meet the same indications mentioned above.

    Hours and prices

    The park has no timetables and can therefore be visited at any time. However, it is not recommended by rangers to go to the dunes after sunset.

    The ticket for day access is $ 10 for each vehicle, regardless of the number of passengers.
    Please note: as this is a state park, the parks card is not valid, because the latter only includes parks managed by the National Park Service.

    Visit the Coral Pink Sand Dunes

    What we are about to visit is a state park relatively small and little beaten by tourism, when compared to neighboring giants like Zion or Bryce. However, you will find that passing through here can be worthwhile, also because it lends itself very well to both a short visit and a long day of outdoor activities.

    The pink sand what makes this place unique is due to the erosion of the sandstone by the wind, which has been blowing between the Moquith and Moccasin mountains for almost 15000 years, detaching grains of sand from the sandstone rocks and depositing them in this valley. But to make the pink dunes unique it's not just their color. For example, some rare plant and animal species live here, such as the tiger beetle, an insect that does not live anywhere else in the world. To protect the ecosystem, within the approximately 14 sq km of the park, it was established a conservation area of 1 sq km, where it is not possible to access by motor vehicles.

    To immerse yourself completely in beauty of this coral colored desert, the best thing is to walk in the middle, but it is important to be very careful because walking on the sand dunes is not as easy as following a marked path. Furthermore, among the various animals that inhabit this area there are rattlesnakes: it is therefore good to pay attention and not go to the areas not traveled by. You will find it easily from the parking areas the accesses to the paths, which do not have a specific route, but go through the dunes.

    If yours is a hit and run, however, you can reach by car two panoramic points from which to take some nice photos, without having to fill your shoes with sand and waste precious time during your on the road. Once you pass the ranger hut at the entrance, you will find yourself in an open space with a series of stations for campers and caravans.

    Among the 4 outermost stations you will easily find small paths that in a few steps will lead you to look out over the sandy valley. The second and most impressive panoramic point it is not far away. Follow the road towards the campground until you reach another rest area. Here a short wooden paved path leads to an elevated platform. From the steps designed for watching the dune buggy races, you will enjoy a magnificent view, especially at sunset.

    Dune buggy e sandboarding

    Are you looking for an alternative for a more adrenaline-pumping visit? The sand dunes offer two possible activities that are very popular among locals, but also accessible to tourists. What better way to run on the sand of the dune buggy? The light wide-wheeled cars allow you to move up and down the dunes with agility and are suitable for both exploring the park and racing in the clouds of pink sand.

    For the more sporty, it is also possible to launch a board down the sandy slopes. You got it right: here it is possible practice sandboarding, the desert version of snowboarding. Think you can balance on the board while sliding down a dune? If you can't, you can always use it as a sled to sit down. Fun will be guaranteed in any case.

    If you are interested in these activities, here are 2 interesting options:

    Dune buggy and sandboarding by day

    Dune buggy and Sandboarding at sunset


    As mentioned, Kanab is the closest town at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. For this reason, unless you intend to camp inside the park, Kanab is the most comfortable place to spend the night in this area. In our article Discovering Kanab, you will also find our tips on where to stay in Utah's little Hollywood. To get an idea of ​​the facilities available, take a look at this link.

    Just take a look at the map, however, to realize that the park of the pink dunes it can be an excellent intermediate step among some of the most famous destinations in the south west. The Bryce Canyon is 120km north-east, lo Zion National Park only 45km north-west, Page, Antelope Canyon e il Lake Powell instead they are located about 150km to the south-east.

    It is therefore undoubtedly a good idea to plan a ride on the dunes to break the journey between two of the aforementioned must sees. If you are planning such an itinerary, you will probably find it convenient to check out our tips on where to sleep in Page, where to sleep near Bryce Canyon and where to sleep near Zion.

    Find the closest hotels to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

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