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Utah Unique: Snowshoeing Adventure at Coral Pink Sand Dunes

a man snowshoeing in the sand at Coral Pink Sand Dunes

The nice thing about snowshoeing is that you can do it anywhere. Well, anywhere that has snow. Right?

Actually, there are ways to enjoy snowshoeing even without it! Just ask our favorite crazy snowshoe guy Greg Frei, Zion Ponderosa’s On-Property Marketing and Guest Relations Coordinator, about one of his favorite East Zion adventures.

a man riding a bike down a dirt road

“One of my favorite snowshoeing experiences didn’t have any snow at all. In fact, it was in the middle of summer with morning temperatures near 70 degrees Fahrenheit at one of southern Utah’s most unique parks, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. Located just 30 miles southeast of Zion National Park, Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a can’t-miss East Zion adventure and an easy day trip from Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort any time of year.

Here, green Ponderosa pines rise tall against a brilliant desert blue sky, surrounded by a sea of pink sand. For this sand shoeing adventure, I have selected my Eva Foam snowshoes made by Crescent Moon. The snowshoes are super lightweight, flexible without the aluminum frame work found in typical snowshoes, for a soft, quiet and super comfortable experience. I wear them comfortably with my trail running shoes. 

The snowshoes – or in this case, sand shoes – keep me from sinking into the soft coral sand. I walk gently with ease as I trek along with my son, Elliot, towards the center of this amazing place where the colorful sand dunes rise high and wide. Together we share a moment in time that we both know is special. We seem to have the 1,500-acre state park all to ourselves.

a man flying through the air on a snow covered slope

Reaching the highest point on the biggest dune, we jump off the edge and for a moment we are in flight – zero gravity.

As we arrive at the dunes we quicken our strides and find ourselves jogging and running across the sand dunes. Reaching the highest point on the biggest dune, we jump off the edge and for a moment we are in flight – zero gravity. We feel weightless. A rush of colorful dust fills the vacuum of space that surrounds our bodies as we make contact with the coral pink sand. Our strides quicken to maintain our speed as we run down the dune of sand. Wow! Amazing! We give each other high-fives and laugh with joy. What a great time! 

We spent the rest of the morning walking silently across the amazing landscape, studying the diverse desert plants. Desert Globe Mallow and Dune Evening Primrose flowers flourish in this sand-covered world. We examine Moqui Marbles, small round balls of iron with a sandstone core. These amazing stones lay gently cradled in the sand among lizard, Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle and Scarab Beetle tracks. We come across one of the Scarab Beetles working furiously to push a round ball of dung up a rising dune of sand and wondered why this odd creature would work so hard on this endeavor? 

a close up of a snow covered mountain with Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in the background

Coral Pink Sand Dunes, this land and it’s inhabitants are one of a kind – a MUST-see while visiting Zion National Park and the surrounding East Zion area.

The Coral Pink Sand Dunes allow off-road vehicles and enthusiasts to explore this vast area wilderness. But for me and my son, we prefer to trek along in silence while wearing our snow –no, sand – shoes.”

– Greg Frei

Photos @crazysnowshoeguy