Coral Pink Sand Dunes Winter
Snow on the pink sand dunes

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!

Pink Sand?

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.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes Winter
A bit like Mars, no?

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 was especially serene

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