Tuesday started like Monday with a stop by the Grand Staircase Escalante office to try for the Wave lottery. Different day, same outcome: no Wave for us, we decided we would be back Wednesday to enter the lottery for Thursday permits.

From there we departed for our destination for the day: Zion National Park. Enroute to Zion, we spotted a sign that said “Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park go left in 1000 feet.” Jesse made the executive decision to add this pit stop to our day trip. Jesse has traveled often in Southern Utah and sees Utah State Parks as a hidden gem of the area. Many travelers come to Southern Utah for the proximity to the many majestic National Parks in the area (Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon) overlooking the equally impressive State Parks and often leaving them secluded.

We arrived at the Dunes 15 minutes later. The National Parks Pass doesn’t work at State Parks, the entry to Coral Sand Dunes is $8, well worth it. There is an overlook a short walk from the parking lot with views of the Dunes. This is an easy and handicap accessible option for viewing the Dunes. We opted to walk out into the Dunes.

That morning we had the Dunes to ourselves:

Coral Pink Sand Dunes: Can you spot Jesse near the top of the dune?


There is an office at the entrance gate where you can rent a board for $25 to ride down the sand dunes. There is also an ATV rental company that does tours of the Dunes for $45/ person.  We opted for neither.  Our car was packed with things we were bringing from Denver to Salt Lake so we identified two tea trays as optimal vehicles for riding down the Dunes.

Tea trays from our car $0!


Unfortunately, tea trays don’t work very well as sleds and instead of riding down, Jesse broke a tea tray:

The great part about this stop was we had the entire park to ourselves. While not as large as the Great Sand Dunes National Park we had visited on Saturday, the pink sand and mountains surrounding the dunes we found to be much more majestic and having the place to ourselves was truly incredible.

Here are a few of our favorite photos from this stop:

Since the hike out was fairly short, we ran the Dunes to get some additional exercise in

We spotted this sand drawing a previous visitor had left behind

Coral Pink Sand Dunes and just the two of us

Jesse perched on top of a dune

Resilient desert plants grew along the edge of the sand dunes