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Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah

Entry sign
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is a dozen mile detour off of US-89, close enough to categorize it on this site as a US-89 park. It's a worthwhile stop, and it's not too far (relatively speaking) from Zion, Bryce Canyon, Glen Canyon and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. But there are a couple of caveats below...

The dunes form here because there's a narrow notch between two mountain ranges which funnels and accelerates the prevailing wind, which picks up the sand of the eroding Navajo Sandstone. It's the Venturi effect on a very large scale. As the notch widens on the other side, the wind velocity drops and the sand falls out onto the dune field.

The first caveat is... The Sand! Back to Top

Coral Pink State Park Map
Map supplied by Utah State Parks.
It's a very fine sand, and like climbing most hills of sand, one step up is really one-half step up as the loose sand slips under your weight. (And if you're a flatlander like me, I should mention the park is 8,000 feet above sea level.) More than that, the sand is pink, as the name of the park suggests. So what? If you were wearing grey running shoes with white socks like I was, the leather/cloth surfaces of the shoe will turn pink. The shoelaces will turn pink. Since sand gets in your shoe, the inside of the shoe turns pink, and your socks turn pink. The sand is fine enough to freely flow inside your socks, so be prepared to do a total shake out before getting back into the car.

Even so, you'll find pink foot prints on your car's floor mats when you get to your next destination.

The second caveat is, even if you like pink, the majority of the dune field is open to ATV's, or more officially OHV's (Off Highway Vehicles), and the owners race through the dune field, making it look like an accident waiting to happen if you're on foot and on the other side of a dune. It would seem prudent to stay on the crest of the dune, where you're visible from all sides. We only walked to the edge of the dune field, where OHV's are prohibited.

If you're into geocaching, or at least geo-locating, the park provides coordinates to the oldest Ponderosa Pines in the area, one dating back to before 1600. Back to Top

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
200809SW_1374P19143 200809SW_1375P19145 200809SW_13761380P19150 200809SW_1381P19150 200809SW_13821386P19150 200809SW_13871402P19151 200809SW_1403P19151 200809SW_1405P19151 200809SW_14071413P19151 200809SW_1415P19151 200809SW_1417P19152 200809SW_1418P19152 200809SW_1421P19154
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Related Links

US-89 Link US-89 is a remarkable road that follows some of the most scenic areas of the West from Canada to Arizona, and along the way passes through (or comes within a few miles of) over a half dozen major Western Parks. Glacier to Yellowstone to Grand Teton, Bryce, Zion, Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon.

I've actually frequented this road quite a bit, but in a disjointed, non-continuous fashion.

Visited Various
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Trip Report: Sep 2008.

Return to: State Index Utah State Page State Parks

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