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Hiking The Trails Of Kodachrome Basin State Park In Utah

Hiking the Trails of Kodachrome Basin State Park in Utah

Hiking the empty trails of Utah’s Kodachrome Basin State Park is definitely worth doing.

Hiking the Trails of Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park was named for the colour film by visiting members of the 1948 National Geographic Society. It wasn’t a park yet but the name stuck. The 2,241 acre park is filled with beautifully coloured, multi-hued sandstone formations and unique structures known as sand pipes, not found anywhere else in the world. There are 76 of these monolithic stone spires – representing 180 million years of geologic time. It is believed that they were underground springs or geysers (like you might see in Yellowstone) which filled with calcite rich sediment and cemented over time. The softer sandstone around the pipes eroded, leaving behind what you see today – sand pipes, chimneys and petrified geysers.

"View of wild rock formations from the parking lot"

View of wild rock formations from the parking lot

We hadn’t planned to visit the park but then a few photographs in coffee table type books caught my eye and voilà. Kodachrome Basin State Park offers five trails form 1.5 miles to six miles in length. The trails are mostly easy and almost deserted on the day we hiked. Although the park is only about 30 minutes away from Bryce Canyon National Park it doesn’t see nearly the traffic. But I think its well worth the visit.

Here’s a look at the scenery on our hike in Kodachrome Basin State Park.

"The start and finishing point of our hike"

The start and finishing point of our hike

"Ballerina Spire"

Ballerina Spire

"Interesting shaped rock"

"A fat spire"

A fat spire

"Slickrock sandstone"

Slickrock sandstone

"Looks like the head of an old man"

Looks like the head of an old man

"Natural rock art"

Natural rock art

"Inside the "Cool Cave""

Inside the Cool Cave

"Looking up out of the cave"

Looking up out of the cave

"Wildflowers"

Wildflowers

"Close-up of cryptobiotic soil"

Close-up of cryptobiotic soil – the stuff you should NEVER walk on

"Markings in the sandstone"

Markings in the sandstone – looks like fingers but ???

"Big views and stormy skies"

Big views and stormy skies

"The view from Panorama Point"

The view from Panorama Point

"Photos of a flash flood that occurred in the park"

Photos of a flash flood that occurred in the park

Useful Information about visiting Kodachrome Basin State Park

  • It’s $6 per vehicle for a day use pass.
  • The park is open from 6 AM until 10 PM.
  • Overnight camping is an option -with and without hook-ups.
  • You can book a stay in the Redstone Cabins located within the park.
  • The park is located nine miles south of the town of Cannonville off of Highway 12.

Other posts in the area that may be of interest:

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Hiking the Trails of Kodachrome Basin State Park in Utah

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 36 Comments
  1. You hike in the most beautiful places, Leigh – the photos are stunning! I thought the handprints were fossil markings – it sure would be interesting to know what they actually are.

  2. You always manage to make me want to grab the hiking boots and follow in your footsteps (at least on these types of hikes 😉 ) Still don’t think I could have followed you into the canyon! Beautiful shots.

  3. Slickrock sandstone looks beautiful. Those markings in the sandstone, I really thought they were fingerprints until I read it was not. Wonder how it got there. The view from Panorama Point is beautiful, and other photos too.

  4. Beautiful photos of another awesome hike, Leigh! I have never heard of Kodachrome Basin before and it’s interesting how close it is to Bryce. Those spires and rock art are all fascinating but I would love to see those finger markings in the sandstone and find out what they are. Unfortunately, the Zion/Bryce trip isn’t happening this weekend but I can now add this to the list when we get there.

  5. I belive those hand markings are modern era tourists just playing around. The rock is incredibly soft and I think it is a case of monkey see monkey do.

  6. I belive those hand markings are modern era tourists just playing around. The rock is incredibly soft and I think it is a case of monkey see monkey do.

  7. I would have guessed the centre of Australia, or perhaps Jordan. Beautiful, especially that almost surreal shade of red. Must have been a magical place to hike!

  8. I love Utah! When we were there this summer, I just found so many national parks and state parks that I had so much fun exploring. Looks like you are enjoying them too!

  9. Nifty shots. Looks a little bit like the Painted Desert in Northern Arizona.

    In Utah, I’ve been to Bryce, Capitol Reef (which I highly recommend visiting), Lake Powell, Natural Bridges National Monument, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Goblin Valley State Park and Coral Pink Sands State Park. It’s probably the most scenic state in the entire Western U.S.

    1. @Dick I went o Capital Reef with my kids school one year and thoroughly enjoyed myself. We got a bit of this via a back entrance on the Burr Road on this trip. I haven’t heard of Coral Pink Sans Park but will check it out next time I’m in Utah – which is hopefully in the next year or two.

    1. @Jan Isn’t that Ballerina Spire something? I was actually excited to see all the cool rock formations. My husband says the markings are modern day humans though I’d like to believe otherwise.

  10. I imagined they were toes and feet. Basin State Park is really stunning; it gave you some pretty amazing shots, Leigh.
    I’d never heard of a park named after a company, wonder how that happened.

  11. We stumbled across this park a few years ago. Can’t believe we hadn’t heard of it before that! It was incredible, and incredibly empty even though it was Memorial Day weekend when we were there. Great photos and write up–makes me want to return to the park!

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