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Is Coral Pink Sand Dunes Worth Visiting? (Things to Do)

View of sand hill at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

If you have ever driven near East Zion and Kanab, Utah, you have probably seen the signs and turn-offs for Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.

But what is it? And is it worth a visit? We all know that debate, should we take the detour, or keep driving? And our answer is emphatic:

YES! Take the exit. Coral Pink Sand Dunes are well worth a visit, even if you are short on time! 

Keep reading to learn how to get there, must-dos, fees, rentals, sandboarding, and more!

What is Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park?

So first of all, what is it? Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is a state park near East Zion and Kanab, Utah that features a series of sand dunes that are coral pink in color

The state park website says it best:

“Venture onto a shifting sea of red sand. Changed by winds, these mountains and hills of sand can move as much as 50 feet per year. With areas for off-highway vehicle enthusiasts and those with non-motorized pursuits, the dunes offer adventures for all.”

children running in sand at coral pink sand dunes
kids playing in sand at coral pink sand dunes
man walking up hill at coral pink sand dunes

How Do You Get to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park?

Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a great destination for adventurers young and old. With endless sand to play in, you can ride ATVs, sandboard, sled, hike, and camp.

The Dunes are located 5 hours south of Salt Lake City, near Kanab and East Zion.

Kanab is 27 minutes (20 miles) from the dunes, and East Zion is 25 minutes (20 miles) from the dunes.

To reach Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park you need to take Highway 89. There are two turn-offs, one closer to East Zion and one closer to Kanab. Once you have made the turn-off, you will drive 12 miles to the state park fee station. From there it is a short drive to park and begin your walk to the dunes.

Entrance Fees

The state park does require a fee to visit! Day-use fees are ~$10 per vehicle or ~$5 for Utah seniors.

You can purchase a Utah State Parks Pass which will give you free entry into every Utah State Park for one annual year for ~$125. It expires on December 31st of the year you purchase it.

Things to Do at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park?

There are so many awesome things to do in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, listed below are some of our FAVORITES:

Sandboarding

One of the best things to do at the dunes is to rent (or bring your own) a sandboard or sand sled!

You can grab these from the visitor center/fee booth for ~$25 a board, which includes a wax stick to keep the board sliding down the dunes smoothly.

We had tons of fun going up and down the dunes and enjoyed watching other groups do the same. As the dunes slope upwards, it is easy to pick a spot that would be good for young kids, older kids, and even adults to go down.

child sand boarding at coral pink sand dunes state park
children playing in the sand at coral pink sand dunes state park

Play in the Sand

The dunes are basically a massive sandbox. If you have kids, bring along sand toys!

Our kids played happily for hours in the sand here both times we visited.

Be sure to bring sunscreen, plenty of water, and snacks as it is a little bit of a trek from where you park to the dunes. You won’t want to go back and forth to fetch things from your car!

Off-Roading

One of the major draws to visiting Coral Pink Sand Dunes is all the exciting off-roading! Imagine racing through coral sand dunes on an ATV with endless hills before you and clear blue skies above you.

The state park offers ATV tours that you can book directly from their website, or you can tow in your own off-roading vehicles.

All Ways Adventure Rappelling Tours

If you are a thrill seeker, this tour is for you!

All Ways Adventure Rappelling Tours describes the tour as:

“Rappelling adventure at Coral Pink Sand Dunes Park. It’s an exciting 1.5-2 hour long tour where our guests experience the thrill of hanging over a cliff edge with sweeping views of the sand dunes behind them.”

These tours can be booked directly from the State Park Website.

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Guide includes the Springville Shuttle, Zion Canyon Shuttle, What to Do at Each Stop, Handy Tips + Maps

Hiking

woman walking in sand at coral pink sand dunes

Hiking is another of the many activities you can do at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.

Walk 0.8 miles to the observation deck and view the dunes from a distance.

Or walk out onto the dunes and explore. Walk as far as you choose. This would include walking through deep sand which can be very tiring. However, it is very interesting to see the dunes up close and walk them.

Camping

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park has many campsites available for tents and RVs.

  • The Old Campground (no hookups) is $25/ single site, $50/ double site.
  • New Campground (water & electric available) $40/ site.
  • Group campsites are also available. 

The amenities the campground has to offer are:

  • Comfort Station
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Hiking
  • Hiking Trail
  • Hot Showers
  • Interpretive/ Nature Programs
  • Modern Restrooms
  • Off-Highway Vehicle Area
  • Parking
  • Picnic Tables
  • Sewage Disposal Station
  • Showers
  • Telephone
  • Visitor Center
  • Drinking Water
  • Wildlife

Check out Zion National Park – Where To Camp, Glamp, Or Boondock.

When is the Best Time of Year to Visit?

The best times to visit Coral Pink Sand Dunes are the spring and fall when temperatures are mild.

The sand on the dunes can get quite hot or cold depending on the weather and with full sun and no shade, the hot summer heat can be intense. 

In winter, there can be cold temperatures and snow in the area. 

view of coral pink sand dunes and hills in the background

The walk to and from the dunes can be tiring and even worse when compounded with the heat, so please take that into account before visiting!

If you go during the summer, be sure to visit early in the day or after the sun begins to go down so that the weather is easier to handle.

Don’t forget to wear sunscreen during your visit any time of the year and bring plenty of water

Where to Eat

There are no restaurants inside the state park or close to any of the entrances. The closest restaurants are in Orderville or Mt. Carmel area and Kanab. Each of these is a good 20-30 minute drive from the park.

For this reason, we suggest packing food and bringing it into the park.

If you would like to eat out, here are some restaurants we suggest nearby.

Thunderbird Restaurant

Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this retro spot serves up classic American favorites, homemade pies, fresh-baked bread, and more!

Archie’s Food to Die For

This burger joint has rave reviews and classic burgers, fries, Philly steak sandwiches, and chicken fingers. It is the perfect quick bite for the whole family.

Peekaboo Canyon Wood Fired Kitchen

If you are looking for a great pizza spot and vegetarian dishes, don’t pass over Peekaboo Canyon Wood Fired Kitchen. This is one of our favorite places to eat in Kanab.

Rocking V Cafe

One of the most loved restaurants in Kanab, Rocking V is right in the heart of town and features everything from burgers and chicken to bison tenderloin and vegetarian options.

Sego Restaurant

This up-scale social style restaurant has incredible dishes such as prime rib, duck lo mein, scallops, pork belly with watermelon, and many other amazing choices.

What is There to Do Near Coral Pink Sand Dunes?

Zion canyon overlook

Coral Pink Sand Dunes is nearby many other great outdoor adventures and popular destinations. Listed below are links to nearby adventures to visit while you are on your way to or from Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.

  • Zion National Park East Entrance is only 20-30 minutes from Coral Pink Sand Dunes and is an easy way to access Zion National Park from a much less busy entrance.
  • Kanab is one of our favorite little cities in Utah that packs a BIG adventure! From slot canyons to hoodoos, Kanab has many hidden gems.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Zion National Park is crowded!

Most travelers want to visit the most popular sites and still avoid crowds. We have a detailed itinerary that gives you a step-by-step game plan so you can get to the best places at the right times.

But that’s not all! Our itinerary includes a free audio guide to listen to while driving with over 2-hours of stories about the park!

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO
ZION

ZION TRIP PLANNER: To read or watch all of our content about Zion National Park, check out our  Zion Homepage

THINGS TO DO: Don’t miss all that Zion has to offer including Emerald Pools, Angel’s Landing, The Narrows, and Kolob Canyons

WHERE TO EAT: Check out the best places to eat in and near Zion National Park

GREAT CITIES TO STAY OR CHECK OUT: Learn where to stay or camp when visiting Zion and explore some amazing cities nearby including St. George, Kanab, and Cedar City

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Find out if you need a reservation and how to use the shuttle system as well as if you can drive in Zion, which entrance to use, and how to avoid crowds

WATCH: Enjoy videos of gorgeous Zion National Park while learning our best tips for visiting by watching our Zion YouTube Playlist

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