With towering red-tinged rock chimneys rising up from the basin floor, Kodachrome Basin State Park is a wonder to behold, as its name implies: a National Geographic Society expedition was so inspired by the area’s color and beauty that they named it Kodachrome, after the popular color film, in 1948. This Utah state park’s stunning beauty, varied recreation options, and nearby attractions make it an ideal destination for your next RV trip.
The history of Kodachrome Basin goes back more than 180 million years, with some of the exposed rock formations—composed of fine grained sandstone along with gypsum, shale, quartz, and clay—dating back to the Middle Jurassic Period. Today, nearly 70 monolithic spires made of sedimentary rock rear up from the basin floor or jut out from the sandstone, rising anywhere from six to 170 feet in height. Beyond its obvious natural beauty, Kodachrome Basin State Park also has a range of recreation options to offer: visitors can hike, mountain bike, or horseback ride throughout the park’s miles of trails, and can head to the nearby attraction of Grosvenor Arch, an intricate double arch that is one of Utah’s most impressive arches, only 11 miles away.
The park’s red rock spires and semi-desert climate make it a beautiful spot to visit year-round, though visitors should note that the park experiences pleasant springs, hot summers, cool falls, and cold and snowy winters, with rapid weather changes and inclement weather possible all times of year. Visitors who plan to stay overnight can take advantage of the park’s 54 RV sites spread across three unique campgrounds.
RV Rentals in Kodachrome Basin State Park
Transportation in Kodachrome Basin State Park
Kodachrome Basin State Park is located in southern Utah and can be reached by following Scenic Byway 12—a designated All-American Road that offers one of the most scenic drives in the West—to Cannonville, and then heading south for nine miles on a paved road.
While some roads leading up to the park are paved, many in the area and inside the park are dirt or gravel, and these roads can quickly become impassable due to rain or snow. The park advises visitors to make sure their vehicle is in good condition and to have a spare tire and reliable jack before traveling on backcountry roads. Visitors are also encouraged to check current road conditions at the park's Visitor Center or at any BLM Visitor Center before traveling.
Inside the park, visitors can plan to park in designated areas, including at the Visitor Center and at the Nature Trail trailhead, or at their campsite. Some of the campsites are pull-through, allowing for easier access for larger rigs. For supplies, guests can take advantage of a concession inside the park for small needs, and can head to the nearby towns of Cannonville, Tropic, and Bryce for more extensive supply needs.
Campgrounds and parking in Kodachrome Basin State Park
Campsites in Kodachrome Basin State Park
The third campground in Kodachrome Basin State Park is Arch Campground, which is located about a half mile from the Visitor Center down a gravel road on the east side of the park. This campground is intended for smaller RV’s and trailers, as it can only accommodate rigs of up to 25 feet long. The campground features six reservable sites with water and electricity hookups, with fire rings and tables at each site, a vault toilet in the campground, and showers available at Oasis Group Site or Basin Campground. The campground features a mix of pull-through and back-in sites.
Bryce View Campground
Guests eager to camp with a view of Bryce Canyon should plan to camp in Bryce View Campground, which offers great views of the pink ledges of Bryce Canyon in the distance. Bryce View Campground features 11 reservable sites, which can accommodate rigs up to 20 feet long. The campground can be accessed from a gravel road a quarter mile past the Arch Group Site. These sites offer fire rings and tables at each site, a water tap, vault toilet, and showers available at the Oasis Group Site or Basin Campground. The sites are a mix of back-in and pull-through, and the campground is closed from November to March.
Kodachrome Basin State Park has three great campgrounds to offer visitors. Nestled right at the head of the basin, Basin Campground boasts views of one of the park’s many sandstone chimneys and offers easy access to many of the park’s hiking trails. This campground features 13 reservable full hookup sites, two first-come first-serve full hookup sites, 18 reservable standard sites, two first-come first-serve standard sites, one reservable double site, and one ADA site. Flush toilets and hot showers are located within the campground, and generators are allowed from noon to 4pm only. The campground closes for the winter season and reopens in March. The campground can accommodate rigs up to 50 feet long and offers a mix of back-in sites and pull-through sites, for easier access for larger rigs.
Seasonal activities in Kodachrome Basin State Park
For a more unique way to explore this southern Utah state park, visitors can also take advantage of the excellent horseback riding opportunities available at Kodachrome Basin State Park. Many of the park’s trails are open to horseback riders as well, and guided horseback rides are available within the park. These guided rides depart from the corral near the Panorama Trailhead and last one or two hours. Reservations can be made by phone or by booking online.
Visitors who would prefer to get their heart rate up by exploring the park on two wheels will be excited to learn that many of Kodachrome Basin State Park’s trails are open to bikes as well. Mountain bikers can hop on Grand Parade Trail, which winds for almost two miles along the floor of Kodachrome Basin, and allows bikers to explore two box canyons along the the trail. For a longer ride, bikers can also check out Panorama Trail, which can be done as either a three-mile or six-mile loop and allows bikers to explore geological features such as “Cool Cave,” “Secret Passage,” and “The Hat Shop.”
Kodachrome Basin State Park offers approximately 12 miles of trails for visitors to take advantage of during their visit, so hikers will have plenty to keep them busy. For a hike with stunning views, visitors should check out Angel’s Palace Trail, a moderate hike under two miles that offers stellar views of Kodachrome Basin, Bryce Canyon, and the surrounding area. For a longer hike, visitors can hop on Panorama Trail, which offers a six-mile loop that winds across the western side of the park.
While there is plenty to do within the park itself, visitors making the trip to Kodachrome Basin State Park should take advantage of the park’s stellar location in southern Utah and check out some of the other natural attractions in the area. Only 11 miles southeast of Kodachrome Basin is Grosvenor Arch, an intricate double arch located in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Only 22 miles northwest of the park is Bryce Canyon National Park, a must-see for those eager to explore more of the area’s unique towering rock spires.
Kodachrome Basin State Park is home to a wide variety of plants and animals who have adapted to this harsh environment. Larger animals in the park include mule deer, mountain lion, coyote, bobcat, and grey fox. Visitors can also look out for cottontail rabbits, grey squirrel, chipmunk, kangaroo rats, mice, Sonoran whip snakes, gopher snakes, and fence and whip lizards. Birders can keep their eyes peeled for common raven, scrub jay, rock wren, loggerhead shrike, and golden eagle.
The area’s stunning red colors and towering rock chimneys inspired the National Geographic Society to name it Kodachrome Basin, in reference to the popular color film. Visitors to Kodachrome Basin State Park will quickly understand how it earned its name: it is a photographer’s paradise. The park’s red-tinged rock formations jutting up from the valley floor and protruding from the sandstone rocks beg to be captured on film. While the park contains endless possibilities for great shots, Angel’s Palace Trail is an especially good trail for photographers.