Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park — Panorama Trail

 Punctuated by white chimneys of sand pipes, and orange cliffs, spires and fin-like ridges of Entrada Sandstone, Kodachrome Basin State Park (surrounded on three sides by Grand Staircase Escalante) is one of the more spectacular areas in southern Utah, a land renowned for its unique landscapes

Start: Panorama Trailhead

Distance: 5.4 miles, double loop

Approximate hiking times: 3 to 3.5 hours

Difficulty: Moderately easy

Trail surface: Stagecoach road and constructed trail, well-defined

Trailhead access: 2WD (paved access)

Best seasons: April through early June; September through Octover

Canine compatibility: Leashed dogs permitted

Water availability: None available; bring your own

Topo maps: Henrieville and Cannonville USGS quads (trails and state park not shown on quads; a trail map is available at the visitor center)

Finding The Trailhead

From UT 12 in the Bryce Valley town of Cannonville, Utah, 33 miles east of Panguitch, Utah, and US 89 and 36 miles west of Escalante, Utah, turn south onto Cottonwood Canyon Road (the Cottonwood Canyon Scenic Backway), signed Kodachrome Basin–9. Follow this paved road south through Cannonville, then through the broad valley of the upper Paria River. You pass the junction with southwest-bound Skutumpah Road after 2.9 miles, and after 7.4 miles, reach the end of the pavement on Cottonwood Canyon Road. Turn left here, staying on the paved road, to enter Kodachrome Basin State Park.

After 0.9 miles, stop at the visitor center and pay a small day-use fee, then continue north 0.6 miles to the signed parking area for Panorama Trail, Grand Parade Trail and Picnic Area.

The signed Panorama Trailhead is on the left (west) side of the road, 1.6 miles from Cottonwood Canyon Road and 8.8 miles from Cannonville. The twenty-six-unit campground is located 0.4 miles from the trailhead, along the loop at the road’s end.

Hike Information

Park, has vivid colors and dramatic landforms. This state park is like a national park in miniature. Its concentration of unusual landforms, good access, numerous short trails, and visitor services, including a general store, campground, and cabins, combine to make the park a premier destination.

Six hiking trails traverse the park, most of them less than 1 mile in length. The exception is the Panorama Trail, a nearly level 2.9-mile loop that surveys perhaps the park's finest scenery. Panorama Point, an overlook just above the loop trail, affords an unparalleled vista across the park’s colorful landscape. You can take the 2.5-mile Big Bear Geyser Trail to extend the trip into a rewarding half-day hike.

From Easter week through mid-October, hikers, mountain bikers, and park stagecoach tours share one mile of the Panorama Trail. They do not share the remaining singletrack. 

The Panorama and Big Bear Geyser Trails are the only trails open to mountain bikes in the park. The sand pipes in the park add a unique dimension to a land dominated by unusual landforms. These white chimney-like spires, averaging 30 to 50 feet in height, are composed of coarse sand far more erosion-resistant than the overlying orange Entrada Sandstone. Geologists believe that long ago, the park was a geothermal area with hot springs and geysers, much like Yellowstone National Park is today. After the springs and geysers ceased to flow, they filled with sand and are the white spires you see today.

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