Utah what to see unusual and particular in this magic and very beautiful state of the Southwest USA, besides its most famous parks, trails and paths?
Have you ever heard mention about the Kodachrome Basin State Park?
Try to imagine a series of red, white, ivory and ochre rock valleys alternated with huge spires with bright colors spread over this small and fascinating State Park – unknown to the most – only 14km far from one of the most captivating scenic roads in the USA – Utah Scenic Byway 12.
Small and average trails, loops and paths as a whole to walk, to cycle by mountain-bike and/or ride, camping area and a landscape wonderfully surreal and unexpected.
No wonder discovering then from the Ranger’s tales at the small Visitor Center that the latest geological researches in the park have highlighted how the Kodachrome Basin State Park originally – ten millions years ago – had geysers and thermal springs, like a “small” Yellowstone.
Utah what to see: visit the Kodachrome Basin State Park
The Kodachrome Basin State Park was opened to the public as state park in 1963.
The expedition of the National Geographic Society arrived as far as here in 1948 to realize a documentary-movie was so bewitched by the colors of the neighboring rocky formations and by the surprising lights effect and the contrasts among land, rock and sky so that they named the whole area after the film used for photos and video – Kodak Chrome Flat. Today it is known – thanks to the approval of the films manufacturer – as Kodachrome Basin State Park.
The park boasts of 67 monolithic stones spires, ranging from 2 as far as 52 meters high, made of multicolor sandstone layers.
The most ancient ones date back to 170/180 million years ago.
Utah what to see: visit the Kodachrome Basin Stat Park, excursions and trails
Find down here all the trails which can be done inside the park, with distance in kilometers and difficulty level.
- Grand Parade Trail – a simple loop trail of 2,5km allowing to get a view of everything the park has to offer. It can be also ridden and cycled by Mountain-Bike.
- Panorama Trail – the most suggestive trail to discover the red pinnacles, caves and hidden passages in the rock. Average difficulty, from 5 as far as 8km.
- Angel’s Palace Trail – 2,5km to climb up to the end of the plateau to discover the stone basin from the top. Average difficulty.
- Nature Trail – extremely simple trail, about 800meters to admire close up plants and rocks.
- Shakespeare Arch and Sentinel Trail – a trail definitely easy of about 2km to reach one of the greatest attractions of the park – the Shakespeare Arch, unfortunately collapsed in part two weeks after my tour. The final part – 1,5km to come back to the leaving point – more difficult (but you can choose to come back once reached the
arch) gives amazing views of The Sentinel, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and farther the Bryce Canyon National Park.
Once the tour of the park ended, keep going for 16km southeastwards along Cottonwood Canyon Rd to reach and admire the suggestive Grosvenor Arch, a complex double arch among the biggest ones in Utah.
The trail to reach it is quite simple, about 1,5km back and forth.
Utah what to see: visit the Kodachrome Basin State Park, practical info and tips
The Kodachrome Basin State Park is opened 7 days a week 6am-10pm.
To reach the entrance, a simple detour of 14km is required from Utah 12, then once reached Cannonville take the Cottonwood Canyon Rd and successively the Kodachrome State Park Rd as far as reaching the Visitor Center, at 2905.
Admission to the park is for fee: $8 each car, with 8 people max.
It is possible to camp in the reserved areas – in this case the amount ranges from 20 as far as 30$ each place every night, always 1 car and 8 people max – find here all details to learn more and book. Anyway, move always well in advance, since the camping areas are often sold out even months before during the high season.
The tour of the Kodachrome Basin State Park needs from 3 hours – if you want to do at least a couple of loops/trails – until the abundant half day in case you want to take part into planned ride excursions or by Mountain-Bike.
Find here some suggestions about where to sleep in the area between Cannonville and Escalante.