When Tom, John and I took our big trip out west in 2006, we stopped between the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Zion at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. Despite temperatures in the high 90’s, Tom, John, and Steve Winstead all had to hike to the top of the tallest sand dune in the park. Now, 12 years later, Tom and I revisited Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is an unlikely sandbox in the middle of a desert. Like so many of the sand dunes in the United States, it is formed by wind scouring the stone and blowing the sand into a valley. The valley at Coral Pink Sand Dunes is full of sand and the dunes move up to 50 feet a year. There aren’t any trails on the dunes because the maps would need to be redrawn every couple of months. The sand dunes are a lovely and unique pink color from the sandstone.
Like many state parks, Coral Pink Sand Dunes is multi-use and not as picky about staying on the trails as the National Parks. Tom and I walked a bit on the nature trail. When we lost it, however, we went “cross-country” heading to the Visitors Center. At the Visitors Center we talked to the ranger a bit and Tom bought a cool t-shirt. It says “Got sand? In my shorts, in my hair, in my food, in my eyes, in my soda, in my socks, in my shoes, in my ears, in my nose . . .”
Unlike Steve and John, I was not willing to hike up a sand dune with Tom. I don’t like sand in all those previously mentioned places. And sand dunes tend to be low on shade and high on heat. Tom tried to talk me into sand-boarding. You can rent a board at the Visitors Center. Climbing up the dunes and then falling down them didn’t sound like a lot of fun to me.
I did enjoy the display in the Visitors Center that held little jars of sand from all over the world. We found sand from St. Simons Island. We did not, however find sand from Lake Erie, so Tom and I will send them some when we get to Ohio in November. Aside from that, I was content to view the dunes from a distance.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park has a hiking / boarding area and an ATV area. We saw several people heading up the dunes in their ATVs. There is also a small campground with some hookups. We paid $8 to get into the park. Definitely worth a look if you are passing through the area.