Kodachrome Basin State Park is just a short drive from the picturesque communities of Tropic, Cannonville, and Henrieville that make up the scenic Bryce Valley.
This is a lesser-known, almost secret place to experience the scenic wonders of Bryce Canyon Country. The Kodachrome Basin State Park is an ideal place to relax, hike, mountain bike, enjoy a picnic, camp, horseback ride, shoot photographs or even paint a picture. Kodachrome Basin State Park contains many unique spires and chimneys that take on an ethereal glow at sunrise and sunset and is an absolute must-see on your next trip to Bryce Canyon and Garfield County.
Kodachrome Basin State Park History and Namesake
Best known for the 67 towering sand pipes that dominate the desert landscape, this colorful park has a well-deserved reputation as a photographer’s paradise.
In fact, the multi-colored monoliths nestled beneath brilliant blue skies inspired National Geographic Society photographers to nickname the area Kodachrome Flat during a 1948 photography expedition. Although the park was initially named Chimney Rock State Park in 1962, the Kodak Corporation later gave permission to use the name of its popular brand of film, and the park was officially renamed Kodachrome Basin State Park.
Kodachrome Basin State Park Geology
Kodachrome Basin State Park’s unique landscape once resembled Yellowstone National Park’s. The sand pipes, or chimney rocks, are believed to be remnants of solidified sediment that filled the ancient geysers that dominated the landscape. Red, brown, white, and yellow layers of sediment became exposed as the outer layers of Entrada sandstone eroded. Today, these multi-colored sand pipes range in height from six feet to 170 feet, and the colors seem ever-changing with the day’s shifting light and shadows.
Undoubtedly, the sand pipes are the main attraction at Kodachrome Basin State Park, with the most prominent spire, Chimney Rock, towering at 170 feet tall.
Things to do in Kodachrome Basin State park
There are several hiking, biking, and equestrian trails that run throughout the Kodacrhome Basin State Park.
Kodachrome has five hikes, each taking you to unique and different areas of the park.
Grand Parade Trail: An easy 1.5-mile trail that provides excellent observation of bird and plant life. Walk the trail floor as you parade through two box canyons, similar to slot canyons and be guided by the narrow and plateaued passages.
Panorama Trail: Rated as easy to moderate, this hike can be completed as a 3-mile or 6-mile loop and leads to the renowned Ballerina Slipper formation. Get up close to the pipes and see iconic geological features like “Cool Cave,” “Secret Passage” and the “Hat Shop.”
Angel’s Palace Trail: As an easy to moderate trail, this 1.5-mile hike is keen for photographers. Views of the chimneys are supreme and the colors seem to pop all along the trail.
Nature Trail: A short and sweet 0.5 miles, this hike will give you a perfect overview of all the plants, animals, and geology found in Kodachrome.
Shakespeare Arch – Sentinel Trail: Get access to the only natural arch in the park on this 1.7-mile loop. Watch out for a sneak “peak” of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which surrounds the park.
Note that while most trails are multiporpose and allow hiking, biking and horseback riding – some trails are designated for foot traffic only, so please be aware of sinage and stay on the trails.
At the end of a long day of hiking, take some time to rest. Lay down, look up at the sky and experience the serenity of stars lighting up the darkness. Kodachrome was honored to be named an International Dark Sky Park in 2021. Be mesmerized by the stars and look for your favorite constellations.
Whether you’re spending a few days or one night at Kodachrome Basin State Park, there are some beautiful hiking trails, restaurants, and lodging nearby. Get ready to experience the sedimentary pipes colored in hues of cream, white and red. You’ll definitely need to snap some photos – the park is named after the Kodak company after all!
Kodacrhome State Park Camping and lodging
Enjoy a quaint stay at over 10 hotels located in the small towns of Tropic and Cannonville. Choose from rustic cabins like Bryce Canyon Log Cabins or Bryce Canyon Villas. Cozy up at a bed and breakfast like Buffalo Sage or Bryce Trails. Lodge in the treetops at Stone Canyon Inn’s treehouse or stay in one of their luxurious houses, cabins or bungalows.
If you’d rather be immersed in the expansive scenery of Kodachrome then book a campsite. Bunkhouses, tents, RV, group, horse, boat and day-use sites are all available so you can stay beneath the towering sand pipes. Each site includes restrooms, showers and a picnic pavilion. There’s even a convenience store nearby.
No matter what type of lodging you prefer, find it near or in Kodachrome!
Kodachrome State Park nearby food and resurants
Sizzling cheesy pizza, mouthwatering BBQ and a warm cup of coffee. All of this and more can be found right in Tropic, only a short drive from the entrance of Kodachrome. Even if you’re camping in the park, it’s worth it to venture out and experience the local restaurants.
The Pizza Place, you guessed it, serves pizza! However, add some onion rings, garlic bread or chicken wings for a scrumptious meal.
Bryce Canyon Coffee has the perfect lineup of espressos, americanos, lattes and more! Before you adventure out, begin your day with a warm cup of coffee and a muffin or bagel.
If you really want a feast, enjoy some All-American BBQ at i.d.k. Barbecue. Drool over their delicious BBQ, mac and cheese and peach cobbler.
Eat some hearty food at Rustler’s Restaurant featuring full menus for breakfast and lunch. Load up your plate with pancakes, waffles, sandwiches and burgers.
Still not seeing something that perks your tastebuds? Check out the other restaurants surrounding Bryce Canyon Country.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Get To Kodachrome State Park
Kodachrome Basin State Park is located about 20 miles southeast of Bryce Canyon National Park. To reach the park, travel west on Scenic Byway 12 to Cannonville, then head south for nine miles on the paved section of Cottonwood Canyon Road.
Kodachrome State Park Weather
Kodachrome Basin State Park is located at 5,800 feet, so you’ll find warm, sunny summers and mild winters that make the park pleasant to visit any season. The park is open year-round but check for road conditions prior to heading out.
Kodachrome Basin State Park has a campground with cabins, and tent and RV campsites. Available amenities include modern restrooms, showers, a picnic pavilion, and a convenience store. There is a visitor center near the park entrance. Kodachrome Basin State Park is open year-round and requires an entrance fee for day use.
How Long Does it Take to Explore Kodachrome State Park?
Kodachrome Basin State Park is surrounded by Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. The 2,240-acre park can be thoroughly explored in a day or less, leaving time for a side excursion to nearby Grosvenor Arch, a massive natural stone arch located about nine miles southeast, or a drive through rugged Cottonwood Canyon via Cottonwood Canyon Road.
$100 park annual pass. Good until 12/2022
Day-use fees are $10 and $5 for Utah seniors 62 and older.