Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park- Utah
This was a location that I was so excited to see. While sand dunes do not sound overly exciting or beautiful I learned that the sand here was such a unique color and to make it even better- the visitor center rents snowboards or should I say sandboards and sleds that you can ride the dunes with! WHAT, how cool is that!?
I was honestly not really sure what we were getting into here though. You think a state park would be easy to find and well marked but as we were driving from Las Vegas to Arizona (we stopped at Valley of Fire in the morning- read about that here) and planned Coral Pink in the afternoon I honestly was worried we were lost. We were planning to end up in Page, AZ that evening so there was a lot of driving that day but it was well worth it- despite not feeling like I knew where we were more than half the day.
As we were driving through Utah there were no signs for the state park and I remember going in and out of cell service worrying about if we would make it or where we would end up. The road that was supposed to be the one the state park was on was narrow, windy, and went on forever but suddenly we ended up right at the entrance which was well marked with a state park sign.
This was also the point in our trip that we were sickest- yes we were sick and not feeling well but what can you do when you are traveling and on the road with a lot of plans and long itinerary? We forged on and hoped for the best. Keith got a nice nap in the car and we questioned if we really wanted to make another stop or not but I am so glad we decided to.
Once we got there, we only had a couple hours before the park closed and the boards had to be returned but that was okay with us. Like other state parks there was an entrance fee to get in I believe it was only $10 here. We parked and opted to rent only one sled since we had limited time and we weren't sure how long we would last with not feeling well. Each board comes with a brief rundown of how to use it and a wax bar to prepare you to ride. The cost for each board is $25 dollars and just had to be back when the park closed.
We could not imagine just how large and grand these dunes were. The sun was starting to go down and in true dessert climate fashion it was starting to get cool, so I am glad we had jackets and layers to wear into the dunes. I also wore sandals which ended up being a great decision since they were easy to get the sand in and out of and also easy to kick off when I wanted to walk barefoot. It felt like we had to walk miles to get out even remotely close to where the rideable dunes were and by that point our lungs were tired and we didn't even want to sled. LOL.
But we did and man it was fun! We each took a couple rides down a smaller section of the largest dune so that we didn't have to walk as far back up. If you are like us and used to sledding in the snow you know the walk back up is the worst part of the fun. And then we both wanted to do a ride down the biggest part of the dune but didn't want to walk back up. After watching some others, snapping some pictures, and watching the ATV tours ride through the dunes, we both got on the same sled and laughed SO incredibly hard the whole way down.
I highly recommend this unique experience. Despite the struggle with being sick and the few times we did ride the dune it was unlike anything we have ever done before. It was absolutely stunning watching the sun set from the top of the dunes and seeing the beautiful color of the sand.
Things to do before you go:
Plan ahead for food/drinks/gas stops as there is really nothing close to the park
Download your maps on your phone while you have service- we did not have any service the entire time we were approaching the park, there, or leaving the park. We did have to ask the people working the visitor center how the heck to find our way back to where we needed to be.
Make sure you have layers of clothing as the temperatures do vary greatly in a short amount of time.
Wear shoes/sandals that you can take off for ease of walking in the sand.
As always when traveling in dry climates, bring lots of water with you.
Plan for the park entrance fees and board fees if you plan to rent a board- they do take credit cards for both.
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