The Kodachrome Basin State Park lives up to its name no matter whether the skies are sunny or gray. This Utah State Park is one of the most colorful destinations in the west and this strange landscape is one of the weirdest too. The combination of bright orangish red sandstone outcrops, green juniper trees, white volcanic tuff and cobalt blue skies are what creates the vivid Kodachrome visual effect in this majestic place. The tall rock spires and strange looking conical tent rocks literally make the Kodachrome Basin look like it belongs somewhere in outer space. The sheer size and scope of this strange red rock outcrop area easily overwhelms the senses, which in turn readily separates a visitor from the world they once knew. The Kodachrome Basin certainly is a world of its own and this destination is a must to experience when touring Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bryce Country!
There are two ways to get to the Kodachrome Basin State Park Access Road and only one is suitable for ordinary passenger cars. Jeeps and 4x4 vehicles can follow the rough Cottonwood Canyon Dirt Road from Highway 89 near Lake Powell all the way north to the paved Kodachrome Basin Road. This long 4x4 trail is an adventure in itself and it should not be attempted if rain is in the forecast.
The easier way to get to Kodachrome Basin is to arrive by way of Utah Scenic Byway 12. The side road to look for is Main Street in Cannonville, which changes name to Kodachrome Basin Road and Cottonwood Canyon Road when heading south. It is all smooth paved roads when coming from Cannonville and the roads inside the Kodachrome Basin State Park are also paved.
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument surrounds Kodachrome Basin with its desolate inaccessibility, so nearly everybody that goes to this State Park will arrive by car. At first, the drive down the long access road will provide few clues as to what lies in store. It is not till reaching the crest of the high ground that the Kodachrome landscape starts to come into view and when it does, the sight of this strange landscape will cause a driver to instinctively pull off the road to take the views in! This State Park is well designed in one respect concerning the roadside scenic overlook placements. It seems like every possible place that a driver might get the urge to pull off onto the shoulder of the road, there is a scenic overlook turnout pad that awaits to be parked on.
One thing is for sure, whoever laid out the locations of the roadside scenic overlooks in Kodachrome Basin really knew what they were doing. Each roadside scenic overlook presents views of the unique landmarks in Kodachrome Basin, so each must be checked out while doing the grand tour. Hiking trailheads are also located at some of the overlooks and there are many good trails in this big State Park that are worth noting. The campgrounds can be found along the two paved touring loops and there is even a little village where modern conveniences can be found. Finding a laundromat and a general store way out in the middle of nowhere truly is a blessing and horseback rides can be booked here too.
Kodachrome Basin is a very odd looking place that can be disorienting, so doing the scenic overlook tour upon arrival may help to keep the bearings straight. Some of the landmarks do look like phallic symbols, some look like monsters, while others are difficult to put into words. For this reason, Kodachrome is definitely a place to break out the selfie stick!
On a bright sunny day, Kodachrome Basin glows with vivid bright colors. Unfortunately, it was a dreary overcast day during my visit, but even so, the colorful landscape still shined through. It was drizzling rain that day so the rock outcrop surfaces were saturated, which helped to reveal deeper colors. Since about 99% of the Kodachrome Basin photos on the internet were taken on bright sunny days, the photos in this article do present a seldom seen opposing view of this picturesque surreal landscape. Rain or shine, the colorful entertainment value that the Kodachrome Basin State Park presents is well worth the entrance fee!
I only did the short Kodachrome Nature Trail hike during my day trip visit, because the rain started coming down in buckets.The Nature Trail at Kodachrome State Park certainly is a memorable one to do and some of the weirdest of the weird rock formations and spires can be viewed along this path. Needless to say, I left plenty to do for a future visit on a bright sunny day, which is the best kind of weather condition for visiting this glowing colorful park. No tour of Bryce Country or Scenic Byway 12 would be complete without snapping a few pictures in Kodachrome Basin and the best part is that the friends back home who view the photos will never believe this place is real!
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