Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is home to a 1200-acre open OHV riding area where you can drive wherever you want and explore a maze of sand dunes, bluffs, and gullies. Though less well-known than nearby Sand Hollow in Hurricane, the sand dune field here is larger and significantly less crowded.
The open riding area is split between the state park and adjacent BLM land, where you can find the most bizarre combination in federal land management - an open OHV area inside a Wilderness Study Area. Usually, those don't go together! The portion inside the state park requires an entry fee of $10 per vehicle, and all vehicles must have whip flags, which can be purchased at the visitor center. Camping inside the park is limited to the developed campground, but plenty of free dispersed camping is on adjacent BLM lands.
There is no fee for the BLM portion of the dunes, which can be accessed from separate entry points, but once on the dunes, it's hard to tell which part you're in. Almost the entire dune area is open to riding, except for an area in the center of the state portion and the northernmost part of the BLM portion, both signed as closed for resource protection. Driving on vegetation is also prohibited.
The largest dunes are found at the southern end near the main park facilities. On the eastern edge of the southern part of the dune field at the base of the steep slopes of Moquith Mountain, there is a trail called the Sand Highway, which follows a wash at the bottom of a gully and is one-way north-to-south. More traditional double-track trails can be found winding through the more vegetated areas.
The GPS track here represents one possible route that tours most of the dune area from south to north. It starts at the visitor center, loops through the tallest dunes, then turns north and climbs up the main dune field before ending at an exit down a steep sand hill onto the Hell Dive Canyon 4x4 trail. The terrain trends upward from south to north, making it challenging to find shallow enough slopes to climb without bogging down in the sand. The track shown here follows a fairly defined path on the western edge of the dune field. There is another fairly defined trail leading back downhill following the eastern edge of the dunes, which you can use to loop back to the visitor center instead of exiting the dunes at the northern end, as shown here.
The terrain along this route could be very intimidating to drivers unfamiliar with sand dunes. While the overall difficulty is moderate, mistakes in sand dunes can have major consequences, from getting stuck with nothing to winch off of to rollovers. Make sure to air down low to maximize floatation in the sand. Driving up the dunes requires a good bit of speed and keeping up RPMs. Use caution when approaching the crest of dunes, as there is often a steep drop on the other side you want to avoid launching off of and rolling your vehicle. Use low gears and keep the vehicle pointed straight down the fall line when descending these slopes.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a hidden gem that shouldn't be missed when four-wheeling in the Kanab area.
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