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Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park   |  Larry C. Price
  • Weather: Sunny, 47F

If ever a state park was made to be photographed, it is Kodachrome Basin State Park. The park covers 2,240 acres of canyon country and is surrounded by Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument on three sides. With its close proximity to other popular destinations down Cottonwood Road, it makes for a spectacular basecamp or a stop on an event-filled day in the desert with friends.

The park is open year-round from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and is popular during spring and fall when temperatures are the most comfortable. Dogs are allowed in the park, but must be kept on a leash at all times. There is a day-use fee per vehicle and Utah State Park passes are accepted. 

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Campground

Camping can happen year-round with three campsites offering tent sites, hook-ups and two bunkhouses. Facilities are equipped with firewood, a comfort station, dump station, dog waste stations and restrooms have been updated with modern rain shower heads to put the perfect cap on a long, eventful day. It is recommended to make reservations months in advance as sites fill up quickly. Be sure to practice proper fire safety and leave nothing behind during your stay.

Reserve a Campsite

Weather

Weather in the park is most moderate during spring and fall. You can expect warm days and cool nights throughout the shoulder seasons so be sure to layer and pack for warmth. Temperatures in the summer months can reach the 100s during the day and drop to comfortable sleeping temperatures in the 50s at night. Summer rain storms are common so be aware of lightning and flash flooding. Winter temperatures can go below zero at night while beautiful winter scenery can be enjoyed during the day.

Utah Weather

Hiking

The park features a number of short trails that are family-friendly. Panorama Trail is a 3-6 mile easy to moderate loop that passes some of the park’s signature features, including the Ballerina Spire and Indian Cave. Shorter hikes are Angel’s Place Trail, Nature Loop Trail and Grand Parade Trail. Make sure to stick to the trail and leave nothing behind.

Mountain Biking

There are three trails accessible to both mountain bikers and hikers in the park. Panorama Trail is the longest, stretching just three miles, but the sandy floor offers more of a challenge. Other connecting trails are Big Bear Geyser Trail and Grand Parade Loop that wind through the stunning scenery.

Horseback Riding

Guided horseback riding tours take visitors through the red sandstone terrain on an excursion lasting up to two hours. For easy access, rides depart from the Panorama Trail, just off of Kodachrome State Park Road.

Stargazing

Some of the most spectacular stargazing can be experienced from Kodachrome Basin State Park. Scenic landscapes by day take a new form at night as the sky lights up and the Milky Way becomes visible. The park was certified as an International Dark Sky Park in January 2021, making this place even more special.

About the Name

In 1948, members of the National Geographic Society visited the scenic park to photograph a feature for the magazine, and gave it the nickname “Kodachrome” after the popular Kodak film of the day. It became Chimney Rock State Park when the area was recognized as a state park in 1962, but was changed to Kodachrome once Kodak granted legal permission. The first official name, “Chimney Rock,” refers to one of the most popular and unique features within the park, along with the area’s 67 monolithic stone spires, called sedimentary pipes. Their multicolored sandstone layers are beautiful and seem to glow in juxtaposition to any sky, be it a cloudy gray or a clear, bold blue. Some geologists believe that these spires were formed because the area was once filled with hot springs and geysers. These eventually filled and solidified, while over time, the surrounding Entrada sandstone eroded. The pipes range from six feet tall to 160.

Read more about Utah Geology

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