15 Top Things to See and Do in Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park is one of the best state parks in Utah. Although it might be a small park, there’s a lot to experience. I’ve visited a couple of times over the years and these are my top things to see and do!

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Amanda sitting at Panorama point with a purple backpack
Panorama Point Trail

The National Geographic Society named the park in 1949. They named it after the Kodachrome film made by Kodak. The landscape is full of colors that change throughout the day as the sun moves. Seeing the red desert rock landscape against the bright blue sky is incredible!

As a Utah local, I’ve visited the park and surrounding area many times over the years. Here are the top things to see and do within the park and why this is one of my favorite Utah state parks!

Things to Do in Kodachrome Basin State Park

1. Take a Hike

Hiking is one of my favorite ways to experience the park. There are several trails within the park. Most of them are easy and the views are incredible! 

Panorama Trail

Best Hikes in Kodachrome Basin State Park

  1. Panorama Trail – 3 miles (plus options to extend the mileage)

This is my favorite hike in the park. It’s an easy trail through the western side of the park with many geological features to see along the way.

You can do this hike as a lollipop loop or an out-and-back on one of the trail extensions. There are a lot of options in this area. You can hike or mountain bike on this trail. Panorama Point is one of my favorite views in the park. It’s a 1-mile extension off of the Panorama Trail.

Amanda hiking on the Angels Palace Trail utah
Angels Palace Trail
  1. Angels Palace Trail – about 1.5 miles

This trail is another easy trail. It takes you up above the basin for a different view of the park. I really enjoyed this trail. There are so many incredible viewpoints. I think this would be a fun place for sunrise or sunset! This trail is for hikers only.

Amanda hiking on the Grand Parade Trail in Kodachrome Basin State Park
Hiking the Grand Parade Trail
  1. Grand Parade Trail – about 1.5 miles (less if you skip the box canyon out and backs)

The Grand Parade trail stays on the valley floor below the Angels Palace Trail. This trail is easy and there are two box canyons that you can explore out and back if desired.

This trail doesn’t have the same wide open views like the Panorama Trail or the Angels Palace Trail. But, it’s still beautiful. It’s nice to experience the landscape from a different viewpoint. I only went to one of the box canyons, but it was cool and worth the short trail extension. This trail is open to hiking and biking.

view hiking along the Shakespeare Sentinal Trail in Spring
View on the Sentinal Trail
  1. Shakespeare Sentinal Trail – about 1.7 mile loop

This trail is over on the southeast side of the park. The main attraction in this area used to be Shakespeare Arch. Unfortunately, the arch fell in April of 2019. I went and hiked part of the trail anyway and enjoyed it. It’s a much less crowded area of the park now.

Along the trail, you can see Sentinel Spire and expansive views of the landscape below. This starts as an easy trail and then gets more difficult after the Sentinel Spire about 0.5 miles in.

  1. Nature Trail – 0.5 miles

This trail is a short easy trail that’s ADA accessible. There are info panels along the trail. You can learn more about the area’s plants, animals, and rocks. I hiked this after lunch one day and enjoyed it!

Amanda mountain biking in Kodachrome Basin

2. Rent Mountain Bikes

There are a few mountain bikes that you can rent at the visitors center for a half day or a full day.

We decided to rent bikes on one of our recent visits and I’m so glad we did.

I had so much fun riding the bikes through the park! It let me go further than I’ve hiked in the past to see places like the Cool Cave (more on that below).

You can ride bikes on the Grand Parade Trail and the Panorama Trail.

Having been on both trails, I would bike the Panorama Trail if you can only choose one. I love that area and the biking is fairly easy, but still a lot of fun.

We rented bikes for a half day and had plenty of time to bike out to Cool Cave and back.

Of course, if you have your own bikes, pack them on the trip and you can explore even more. The park is small. Biking is a great way to get around from the campgrounds to the visitor’s center and all the places between.

Amanda standing inside Cool Cave in Kodachrome
Inside Cool Cave

3. See Cool Cave

Cool Cave has both cool views and cooler temperatures. I wasn’t sure what to expect for this cave/alcove but I’m so glad we went.

We rode our bikes to the final junction and then hiked into the cave for a really fun afternoon in the park.

You also can rappel down into the cave from the backcountry Shepards Trail. The rappel option offers 3 separate rappels with the final one dropping into Cool Cave.

You’ll need proper gear and skills for this. I won’t cover them here because I don’t do that stuff anymore. I’m happier on the ground!

view from standing at Panorama Point in Kodachrome Basin State Park
View at Panorama Point

4. Visit Panorama Point

This is one of my favorite viewpoints in the park. To access this viewpoint, you’ll take the Panorama Point extension trail. The junction is along the Panorama Point trail. You can hike or ride bikes. But, I found I needed to drop the bikes for the last bit and hike. The trail got steep and narrow.

At the top, you’ll get views of Kodachrome Basin and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

view of Mammoth Spire in Kodachrome
Mammoth Spire

5. Mammoth Spire

This is another sedimentary pipe that is very cool to see. You can see this along the Panorama Trail at the Mammoth Spire Overlook. If you’re going to Cool Cave, you will hike or bike right by it.

view of Ballerina Spire in the distance
Ballerina Spire

6. Ballerina Spire

This is another well-known spire in Kodachrome Basin that you can see along the Panorama Trail.

7. See the Handprints at Indian Cave

About 0.6 miles from the Panorama Trailhead you’ll pass Indian Cave. This is a place where handprints have been carved into the sandstone. I couldn’t find any information about this site. There are no signs in the area, but I plan to ask a Ranger next time I visit.

8. Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock is a large spire that you can drive to. It stands out in the middle of a flat area and is huge. It’s definitely one of the bigger spires I saw in the park.

campsite in Kodachrome State Park with a tent, green picnic table, and Amanda sipping coffee
My campsite at Bryce View Campground

9. Go Camping

The Kodachrome Basin camping is great! Kodachrome Basin State Park has three campgrounds: Arch, Bryce View, and Basin.

Kodachrome Basin State Park Camping:

  • Basin Campground – Full hookup sites available. This campground has flush toilets and hot showers.
  • Arch Campground – Water and power sites for smaller RVs and trailers. Vault toilets.
  • Bryce View Campground – No hookups. Vault toilets.

When I camped in the park, I stayed at Bryce View Campground and I loved it. It’s a quieter more primitive campground with no hookups. The views from my campsite were awesome.

Backcountry Camping

  • The Shepards Trail is a 3-mile extension off of the Cool Cave Loop. There are two backcountry camping sites on this trail.

You can make camping reservations here for both backcountry and campground sites.

two sandwiches on a picnic table

10. Have a picnic with a view

If you’re just visiting the park for the day, pack a lunch. There are many places to relax and enjoy a picnic with great views.

get my free

Camp Cooking Starter Kit

Printable camping recipes, a gear checklist, and a camping meal planner so you can go camping with confidence (and good food!)

11. Ride on horseback through the park

You can experience Kodachrome Basin by horseback! The rides leave on the Panorama Trail with one or two-hour rides available. I couldn’t find a lot of information online about the rides. If you’re interested, I would call the visitors center (435-679-8562) for more information.

12. Try the 3D Archery Course

This new 3D archery course with 13 targets starts right by the Visitors Center. You can bring your bow or rent them. The course is free to use. You can get a scorecard and a map at the visitor’s center. I’m planning to do this next time I visit!

13. Play a round of disk golf

Kodachrome Basin has an 18-hole disc golf course located next to the visitor’s center. Discs are available to rent or buy.

Kodachrome basin visitors center

14. Relax with lawn games at the visitor’s center

The Visitors Center is small. But, the lawn outside is cute! It’s a great place to hang out, have a picnic, play lawn games, or try the small climbing wall. The last time I was there, ladder golf was out. There are swinging chairs if you want to relax in the sun instead.

15. Stargazing in Kodachrome

Kodachrome Basin is an outstanding place to see the night sky. If you’re camping and the moon is set, make sure to take a look at the stars!

Where to Stay When Visiting Kodachrome Basin State Park

Within Kodachrome Basin State Park

Within the park, there are 3 campgrounds (that I detailed above), and bunkhouses for rent.

The bunkhouses have bunk beds (twin over queen) and a futon. They also have a small table with chairs, heating and air, a fridge, a grill, and a picnic table. You’ll have to take a short walk to the laundromat next door for bathrooms.

These are “camper-style” bunkhouses. You’ll need to bring your own bedding. Think of these like glamorous tents. The cost is $85 per night. You can check availability and book them here.

Where to Stay Outside of the Park

Dispersed Camping – There are lots of free dispersed camping options on the BLM land outside of the park limits. In the peak visitation months (Spring through Fall) these areas can get crowded.

Cannonville, Utah – This is the closest town to the park. It’s very small but there are several lodging options here. They range from RV parks to geodesic sky domes to bed and breakfasts. Cannonville is about a 15-20 minute drive to Kodachrome Basin State Park.

Things to Do Nearby Kodachrome Basin State Park UT:

If you’re going to Kodachrome Basin, there are so many other things to see and do nearby! Here are some of my top picks.

  • Visit Bryce Canyon National Park – Kodachrome Basin State Park to Bryce Canyon is about a 40-minute drive. Bryce Canyon is worth the stop!
  • Drive Scenic Highway 12 – This is my favorite scenic drive in Utah. It’s like driving on another planet.
  • Visit Escalante Petrified Forest State Park – This is another Utah State Park that has a ton of petrified wood. It’s a small park, but I spent half a day there to break up a drive and I loved it! 
  • Visit Capitol Reef National Park – This is the least visited national park in Utah, but it will not disappoint! From scenic drives to hikes to fresh mini-fruit pies, there is so much to see here. Check out my complete guide to Capitol Reef National Park!

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