Day 3 and I'm up to 1000 miles! I thought it'd be tough to match the curious formations of Hobgoblin Playground in Southern Nevada but on my way through Southern Utah I found another incredible sight. With its proximity to famous places like Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, its easy to miss the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. But I'm so glad I didn't on my journey through the Southwest!
Well I've seen the White Sands of New Mexico and the black sand beaches of Hawaii- who's heard of pink sand? I discovered that the pinkish hue of the sands is simply pulverized Navajo Sandstone. The color might as well be state-designated in a place like Utah; its everywhere! But in this extremely windy place, the brittle sandstone does not last. Hence we have the dunes.
Getting to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
By Southwest standards, this is a very easy park to get to! Is about 1 hour southeast of Zion National Park and off a paved county road. If you're driving from Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park, its just a 20 minute detour. Its also a half an hour west of Kanab, Utah which is a fantastic base camp for exploring Southern Utah.
What to Do in the Park
In spite of the seemingly delicate nature of the dunes, its basically a chose-your-adventure kind of a place. There aren't established trails and aimless wandering is totally permissible. In the summer, you can hit the dunes on an ATV or even a sandboard.
Winter is a quiet time for the park. No visitor center nor concessions were open but there wasn't a single person in the park either. I parked at the main lot and just roamed about.
The dunes stretch for miles on end but I liked the southern part of the park best. These had characteristically conical dunes that looked something like the Sahara Desert with a Rocky Mountain backdrop. I climbed several of the dunes and took in the alien landscape. Everybody I showed photos to compared it to Mars-
I'd love to come back in the summer and try my hand at sandboarding. Its apparently a lot like snowboarding but with slightly less control. Either way, this is a park you can't miss if traveling through Southern Utah!
My next destination was Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument