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Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park   |  Angie Payne
  • Weather: Partly Cloudy, 27F
An off-the-radar expanse of photographic and OHV bliss, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is where weekend warriors can leave footprints in soft sand or adventure on the vast off-road playground. Walk among old juniper, and pinion and ponderosa pines. Then take your shoes off to leave footprints in the orange-red sand dunes. These geological oddities were formed by the continual erosion of the nearby Navajo sandstone cliffs.

About

While the dunes are estimated to be 10,000 to 15,000 years old, this state park was first opened to the public in 1963. A phenomenon known as the Venturi Effect created the dunes, which is when wind passes through a notch between the Moquith and Moccasin Mountains. It increases velocity through the notch, which erodes the sandstone and carries the grains to the dunes.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is 3,730 acres big, and more than 2,000 acres of sand are open to OHVs.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes is the only major sand dune field on the Colorado Plateau. Another unique aspect of the park: This is the only place in the world where you can find the Coral Pink tiger beetle.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes are open for hiking and kid-friendly playing. About 90-percent of the dunes are open for ATV riders, an attraction for which this state park has become ever popular. These four-wheelers generally check out the Sand Highway, which is a one-way narrow trail in a small canyon on the boundary of the dunes, and the South Boundary Trail, which is several miles long and continues along the eastern side of the main dune area.

Additional Information

Entrance into the park is $8 per vehicle. Park at the main lot just inside the park or at the campground (RV and tent campsites are $20/ night). There is primitive camping available on the nearby Bureau of Land Management lands. Pets must be on a six-foot leash at all times. The park is open year-round, seven days a week, during daylight hours. The best times to go are spring, early summer and fall, as the temperatures are the most mild and the weather is usually cooperative. ATVs and OHVs are allowed on about 90% of the dunes, but all of the dunes are open for hiking and just playing in the sand. As the only major sand dune field on the Colorado Plateau, this park is a unique geologic feature that should not be missed. Elevation is 6,000 feet. Learn more or reserve a campsite.

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