Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is a hugely underrated, immensely entertaining and incredibly sandy stop to include on your Southern Utah road trip itinerary for hiking, sandboarding, driving ATV, camping or even hunting for Bigfoot.
But where is this stunning ocean of coral pink and what should you know before visiting the sand dunes?
This is exactly what we will cover in this comprehensive first time visitor guide, including:
- How to get to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
- Entrance Fees
- Weather and best time to visit
- Things to do at Coral Pink Sand Dunes
- OHV and ATV information for driving on the dunes
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park photography tips
- What to do when you find bigfoot
Now, let’s get sandy at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park!
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Directions To Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park visitor center is located in Southern Utah around 20 miles west of Kanab. We have rounded up the most comprehensive list of the 25 best things to do in Kanab Utah, which includes Coral Pink Sand Dunes.
When looking on a map it isn’t obvious where you need to drive in order to access the main state park area, but there is only one entrance for vehicles and it will become obvious once you arrive.
Here’s the exact address you need:
12500 Sand Dune Rd, Kanab, UT 84741
If you use Google Maps for directions, search for or find “All Ways Adventure at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park”. That is the only building on site and where the visitor center is located.
Zion National Park To Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Driving from Zion National Park main visitor center in Springdale to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park visitor center is 40 miles and will take around 1 hour 15 minutes.
The drive time is so long because getting out of Zion via the Zion – Mt Carmel tunnel and highway is slow going. Plus, the winding roads have a 40mph speed limit until you leave the park boundary.
Take UT-9 out of Zion, turn right at Mt Carmel Junction onto highway 89 and take another right turn onto UT-43, which is also known as Sand Dunes rd.
Follow Sand Dunes rd for 11 miles until you turn left into the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park visitor center parking lot.
Zion is one of the best USA national parks and a visit to Coral Pink Sand Dunes before or after compliments your vacation perfectly.
Kanab Utah To Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Driving from Kanab to Coral Pink Sand Dunes is around 21 miles and should only take 30 minutes. Drive north out of town on highway 89, before taking a left on Hancock Rd which eventually joins with Sand Dune Rd closer to the State Park.
Right at the beginning of Hancock Road near 89 you can pull over and walk to a small natural arch called Sand Dune Arch for a quick side trip detour.
How Much Does Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park Cost?
Day use entry to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is $10 per vehicle or $5 for Utah seniors 65 and older. Entry includes use of the sand dunes all day but does not include hiring of equipment.
It’s well worth spending $10 for a few action packed hours of fun.
The park is open from sunrise to sunset daily. Just make sure you display your ticket on the windshield of your car throughout your time in the park.
Here’s the Utah State Parks website for more information on fees and opening hours.
Are you a photographer or videographer visiting the dunes?
You can fly your drone over the sand dunes for a fee of just $5. It’s rare to be able to fly drones in state parks so we took advantage and flew our Mavic Pro 2 after filling out the appropriate paperwork.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes Weather
Coral Pink Sand Dunes sits at an elevation of 6,000 feet, enjoying mild Winters and warm Summers. Winter daytime temperatures are comfortable but Summer daytime temperatures can become dangerously hot.
June is the driest month of the year with just 1 day of rainfall expected. August, February and March represent the biggest chance of getting wet with 5 days of rain expected in each month respectively.
Best Time To Visit Coral Pink Sand Dunes
The best time of year to visit Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is typically in both shoulder seasons, namely the months of April, May, September and October. You will benefit from perfect temperatures for hiking and sandboarding.
However, we did have a gorgeous sunny day with way above average temperatures of around 65 degrees Fahrenheit when we visited the park in December 2021.
Check current weather for Coral Pinks Sand Dunes State Park.
Best Things To Do At Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a vast and wonderfully photogenic landscape filled with constantly moving sand dunes formed by erosion of nearby red Navajo sandstone cliffs made up of iron oxides.
Personally we think this sandy oasis is a must visit stop between Kanab and Zion, both of which feature in our popular guide to the 50 best places to visit in the United States.
But what can you actually do once you gain access to the dunes?
- Hike for miles on the dunes
- Sandboarding and sledding
- Drive an ATV over the dunes
- Search for Bigfoot
If you’re visiting with older family members, there’s a viewing deck area with benches that can be used as a place to watch the young guns running up and down sand dunes.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is mainly used by OHV enthusiasts and tourists sandboarding or sledding on the dunes as part of wider USA road trips to Utah and Arizona.
Hiking Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Coral Pink Sand Dunes is an enormous and wide open landscape and you are permitted to hike anywhere you like. There are no designated trails to follow, simply forge your own path through a sea of sand.
If you intend to hike here, you need to be aware of two things:
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes is entirely exposed with almost no shade, so you need to be careful in the Summer months.
- Hiking barefoot on the sand is fine but there are ponderosa pine forest areas in which you will need footwear.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes Sandboarding
Sandboarding and sledding down tall sand dunes is one of the major draws for Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. You have complete freedom of the dunes with your sandboard and you can stay out for as long as you have energy.
We can tell you from experience that you will run out of energy quicker than you might imagine.
Sliding down sand dunes on a sandboard or sled is a huge amount of fun. But climbing back up steep and deep sand dunes is seriously hard work, especially if the sun is beating down upon southern Utah.
Sandboarding Or Sledding At Coral Pink Sand Dunes?
Sandboarding and sledding on the sand dunes at Coral Pink State Park are completely different experiences, and you are going to eat a lot of sand either way.
Sledding is the easiest to master in a short amount of time, which is ideal if you don’t want to be making too many trips back up the dunes.
You’ll make it the whole way down almost every time and pick up some good speed.
Sandboarding is by far the more challenging and exhilarating (when it goes well). But it is also the one getting sand in all manner of places when you crash into a deep dune.
You can get some serious speed on the taller dunes, but you will fall harder and at speed. With that said, it’s an awesome feeling when you crush a run and get that hand graze on the top few millimeters of sand.
How’s your balance? Do you snowboard?
If you’re only going to pick one device for hitting the sand slopes, carefully consider whether you think you will prefer the safe bet of sledding or the risk of snowboarding.
Here’s our best piece of advice for sandboarding at Coral Pink Sand Dunes:
Try to make every run a good one!
Here’s what usually happens …
You start out looking great, feeling confident and ready for speed.
Things are going well so you get cocky and try to do one of those cool hand in sand shots like you’re in a slow motion movie clip.
And crash. Now you’ve got sand up your …
Coral Pink Sand Dunes Sandboard Rental Cost
Coral Pink Sand Dunes provide sandboard hire and sled hire at a cost costs of $25 per item. You can pick up boards and sleds inside the visitor center.
Each board you hire comes with wax so you can rub your board down after each run to keep your sandboard surface slippery and prevent friction between board and sand.
We hired one sandboard and one sled so we could switch and try each version. We’re glad we hired one of each so we could both run at the same time.
It takes a long time to get back up from the bottom of a dune so there will be a fair bit of waiting around time if you only hire one between two.
At $25, the price is maybe a little higher than you might want to pay, but it is worth it. Unless you have your own wooden sandboard or sled with wax, you will struggle to get down the dunes.
Can You Use Anything Else To Slide The Dunes?
When we were sliding at a fair old whack, a group trudged up the dune to join us. But they had brought along their own DIY improvised plastic saucers to use as sleds.
If they read this guide, they will be the first to agree that it just doesn’t work on plastic. Even after borrowing our wax, they still didn’t slide very well.
So if you’re going to BYOS (bring your own sandboard), make it wooden and flat with curved edges.
Where Are The Tallest Crests To Sandboard?
There are 2 obviously larger sand dunes once you walk out into Coral Pink Sand Dunes. The first is straight ahead and the second is off to the right side.
Dune 1 – Straight Ahead
If you’re shorter on time, head for the dune straight ahead because it is closer. It will take around 15 minutes to reach the crest of this sand dune and it can be slow going with deep sand.
However, it is also going to be busier due to its convenience.
Dune 2 – Right Side
The dune over to the right side doesn’t appear far away but distance perception can be deceiving in sandy landscapes and it is further than it looks. It will take around 25 minutes to reach the peak.
If you want to avoid the crowds, head over to the far away dune on the right side. It will be much quieter because it is further away from the parking lot.
Which Way Should You Go Down The Dune?
Upwind (prevailing wind direction) forces sand up the stoss side of a dune and after it peaks at the top, sand then falls down what is called the lee side.
Here’s what you need to know about which side of the sand dunes you should go down when sandboarding and sledding at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park:
- Fast – If you want to go faster on the steeper side of the sand dune, go downwind on the lee side.
- Slow – However, if you want to go a little slower and more gradual, go upwind on the stoss side.
Can You Drive On Coral Pink Sand Dunes?
You can drive OHVs and ATV dune buggies on over 2,000 acres of sand dunes in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.
Hikers, photographers and sandboarders will have to share the land with motorized vehicles using the sand dunes as a sandy playground.
Off Highway Vehicles And Dune Buggies
Driving Off Highway Vehicles (OHVs) and riding dune buggies are among the most popular activities at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. There are almost no limitations when it comes to OHV usage, with the exception of a small area closed off for conservation preservation.
There are over 2,000 acres of pure sandy bliss for OHV enthusiasts to explore. At 6 miles long and 1 mile wide, there is plenty of room for several groups of OHVs to spin their wheels.
This is a moderately trafficked OHV area, which means sandboarders and hikers should be aware of vehicles at all times, and drivers should be aware of pedestrians at all times.
Weekends and holidays see greater numbers of vehicles on the dunes, so visit on weekdays if you want a quiet and peaceful experience.
Here are some of the rules in place for safety when operating an OHV in the park:
- Dune riding is allowed from 7am – 11pm only
- Stay 100 feet from pedestrians on sand dunes
- Stay 10 feet from any vegetation in the park
- OHVs must be legally registered
- You must display an orange whiptail flag
- Drivers must have a valid driver’s license
- Ages 18 years and under must wear helmets at all times
There are a handful of marked trails you can follow when driving an OHV in the state park:
- South Boundary Trail
- Sand Highway
- Indian Canyon Petroglyphs
- Elephant Butte Trail
- Sand Springs
- Barracks Trail
There are also many more miles of trails you can find on land owned by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) near the state park.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes ATV Rental And Tours
Don’t own an off road vehicle or couldn’t fly it out to Utah with you?
You can hire an ATV and go on an ATV tour with Coral Pink ATV Tours during your visit to Kanab. We saw a few ATV’s picking up some good hang time when launching over crests and it looked like a lot of fun.
Here’s more information about Coral Pink ATV Tours:
Note: Tours are seasonal from March through October.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes Photography
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is a very photogenic landscape, but like many of Utah’s most beautiful formations, the best time of day to be out with your camera is around sunrise and sunset.
Check sunrise and sunset times for Kanab.
The pink hues of Coral Pink Sand Dunes are far more intense before sunrise and after sunset before the sun introduces yellows and whites to the color spectrum.
Plus, deep and dark shadows are a photographers worst enemy in a desert.
Your photos during the day will be fine, but you would do well to shoot a photo you would hang on your own wall at home.
Astrophotography At The Dunes
The nearby town of Kanab is a dark sky environment which means Coral Pink Sand Dunes doesn’t suffer from light pollution from its only potential source at night.
If you’re into astrophotography or you just like looking at the Milky Way glowing brightly at night, you might want to stick around in the state park for a night.
Bigfoot At Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
You might be wondering why we keep referring to Bigfoot?
Well, one thing you can’t miss on your visit to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is hunting down the location of a Bigfoot statue.
Park rangers periodically move the location of Bigfoot, which keeps things interesting because guides like ours can’t give anything away.
In truth, we didn’t know the statue existed until we got back to the visitor center in late afternoon after hours of sandboarding and weathering.
Trying to find Bigfoot is a great way to combine hiking with a bit more of a purpose in a place like Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Otherwise, you’re just wandering without a goal.
What Should You Do When You Find Bigfoot?
When (not if!) you find Bigfoot, you need to post a selfie to your social media channels with #CoralPinkSandDunes and #SandSquatch so you can get a discount on any t-shirt in the visitor center.
Here’s more information on Bigfoot.
What Do You Wear To Coral Pink Sand Dunes?
You are going to be covered head to toe in sand when you visit Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Wear old, comfortable and loose fitting clothes with flip flops or an old pair of running shoes.
Weather will play a role in what you wear during your visit. If it’s baking hot, you might want to wear very light and breathable long pants and shirts to prevent sunburn.
Sun hats, sunglasses and sunscreen should go without saying on a trip to Southern Utah no matter the season. Even in December we had to go heavy on the sunscreen.
You don’t need to worry about wearing long layers to prevent sand burn. We hit the sand hard plenty of times and didn’t come away with any type of friction burn.
Is Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park Worth Visiting?
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is definitely worth visiting if you have a few hours spare on your road trip around Kanab Utah. You can spend an action packed 2 or 3 hours blasting around in the sand before heading on to your next attraction.
We would include another half day visit to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park if we were to road trip Southern Utah again. The only thing we would do differently is arrive for sunrise or sunset for golden hour photography.
Exploring this sandy landscape is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Utah and it is perfectly located for road trippers to stop between Zion and Grand Canyon.
How To Include CPSD On Your Road Trip Itinerary
Coral Pink Sand Dunes is the perfect place to spend 2 or 3 hours when driving between Zion National Park and Kanab in Utah.
We made a list of amazing things to do near Kanab and Coral Pink Sand Dunes was near the top after seeing that sandboarding on towering dunes was an option.
If you leave Zion around lunch time, you can easily spend a few hours playing around on sand dunes before heading into Kanab for dinner.
Alternatively, leave Kanab right after breakfast and spend a few hours on the dunes before heading over for an afternoon hike in Zion if you’re heading in the opposite direction.
We have to mention that the staff working at the visitor center in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park were incredibly friendly and helpful.
Here’s the state park Facebook page for updates.
It’s definitely worth spending a quick 10-15 minutes in the visitor center.
Here’s what you can do:
- Hire a sandboard and / or sled with wax for the dunes
- Learn about Coral Pink tiger beetles that are only found in this state park
- Look at bottled sand through a microscope from places all across the planet
- Meet a gopher snake that the team rescued, named Houdini and are now looking after
- Show your Bigfoot #’s for discounted t-shirts
Coral Pink Sand Dunes Camping
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park has 34 camp sites and 2 group sites for RV’s, tents or larger groups. Camping under the stars in the warm and peaceful desert would be fantastic way to end a fun day on the dunes.
It also allows you to do sunset, astro and sunrise photography.
Here are the costs for camping:
- Old Campground (No hookups/Sites 1-22): $25 per single site, $50 for double sites
- New Campground (water & electric/Sites 23-34): $40 per site
- Group Campsite (old campground/Group Site 1): $150 per night for up to 5 camp units
- Group Campsite (new campground /Group Site 2): $175 per night for up to 5 camp units
You can reserve a campground at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park here.
Where To Stay Near CPSD State Park
If you’re not camping and you need a place to stay, drive over to Kanab. The small city has a chilled vibe with a couple of great places to stay and eat.
Our favorite place to eat was Peekaboo Canyon Wood Fired Pizza, which serves up tasty artisanal pizza with beers and cocktails to accompany. We sat outside in a covered area and really enjoyed the atmosphere.
Most people visit Kanab to apply for a daily lottery permit to hike The Wave or they are actually hiking The Wave. We have to say The Wave is one of the most amazing landscapes we’ve ever seen.
As of early 2022, the process for applying to next day walk in permits is being moved entirely online.
A geofence system will be implemented which means anyone applying has to be either in Northern Arizona or Southern Utah, but not necessarily in Kanab itself.
So that means the town may not have as many people as before, and that means you should be able to pick up better value on hotel rooms.
Best Hotels In Kanab, Utah
Let’s take a very quick look at the top rated hotels in Kanab based on previous guests ratings out of 10 as per Booking.com:
- La Quinta Kanab – 8.9
- Comfort Suites Kanab – Rated 8.7
- Holiday Inn Express – Rated 8.6
- Hampton Inn – Rated 8.6
- Canyons Boutique Hotel – Rated 9.1
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park FAQ’s
Finally, let’s take a quick look at some of the most asked questions about Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Southern Utah.
Are The Coral Pink Sand Dunes Actually Pink?
Millenia of erosion from nearby iron oxide heavy red cliffs, relentless wind and even human influence have resulted in golden yellow sand mixing with fine red rock sediments to create a rare and unique warm pink hue color.
The pink color is real but it is best seen right before sunrise and moments after sunset. Sunlight during the day distorts the color spectrum.
How Old Are The Dunes?
Coral Pink Sand Dunes are estimated to be between 10,000 to 15,000 years old and the Utah State Park was formed in 1963.
How Many Acres Does This Landscape Cover?
Coral Pink Sand Dunes covers a total area of around 3,370 acres, with a small portion of approximately 270 acres for conservation preservation.
Are Dogs Allowed At Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park?
Dogs are welcome at Coral Pink Sand Dunes for no extra fee, just be sure to keep dogs on a leash of 6 ft or less and pick up after nature calls.
Do you think your pup might fancy a go at sandboarding on the Coral Pink Sand Dunes?!!
What Else Can You Do Near Coral Pink Sand Dunes In Utah?
- Kanab – There are countless amazing things to do near Kanab that you should add to your Utah road trip itinerary. We never realized there was so much to do using Kanab Utah as a base, including hiking the longest slot canyon in the US Buckskin Gulch, and photographing both Belly of the Dragon and Moqui Caverns Sand Caves.
- Zion National Park – Zion is famous for its unique adventure hikes and dramatic canyons. Read about the best hikes in Zion or use our 5 different options for planning the perfect one day Zion itinerary.
- Grand Canyon – Are you on a longer American Southwest road trip? You can’t miss a one or two day Grand Canyon South Rim itinerary. We’ve compiled an awesome list of the best hikes along Grand Canyon South Rim you can use to pick out your favorite trails.
- Page, AZ – Photograph Antelope Canyon, visit Lake Powell and photograph sunrise or sunset at the impressive Horseshoe Bend, a gigantic U shaped bend in the Colorado River. Hike Toadstool Hoodoos trail between Kanab and Page.
- The Wave – One of the most sought after hikes in the US with a very competitive permit process. Here’s exactly how to win a permit for The Wave with updated daily lottery information. And here’s the most comprehensive guide on exactly how to hike to The Wave in Arizona with dozens of photos showcasing its unparalleled beauty.
We hope this guide to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park helps with planning your visit to Southern Utah!
Please let us know if you have any questions about Coral Pink Sand Dunes or your visit to Utah in the comments below.
Mark and Kristen
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