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 know, even secret, place to experience the scenic wonders of this region. 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 was named by the National Geographic Society, and this state park contains many unique spires and chimneys that take on an ethereal glow at sunrise and sunset.
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
Kodachrome Basin State Park’s unique landscape once resembled that of Yellowstone National Park. 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 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.
Without a doubt, the sand pipes are the main attraction at Kodachrome Basin State Park, with the largest spire, Chimney Rock, towering at 170 feet tall. Several hiking, biking, and equestrian trails run throughout the park.
The Grand Parade Trail is an easy, 1-mile scenic trail that follows along the park road. Other popular hikes are the easy 1/4-mile trail to Shakespeare Arch, another easy 1/2-mile trail to Angel’s Palace, and the more challenging 3/4-mile trail to Eagle’s View Overlook. The 3-mile roundtrip Panorama Trail leads to the renowned Ballerina Slipper formation, with the option to continue for another two miles on the Big Bear Geyser/Cool Cave Trail.
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 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.
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.