Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park

We noticed Kodachrome Basin State Park on our area map and decided to drive out to take a look. After visiting Bryce, it was difficult to imagine anything as spectacular. Boy, were we wrong. Just driving along the road was evidence enough that we were entering a special place.

 

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Kodachrome Basin State Park

 

Kodachrome became a state park in 1963. At an elevation of 5,800 feet, it is an easier place to visit for people who cannot tolerate the higher altitudes of Bryce Canyon.

The layered sandstone hills and sedimentary pipes that range from six to 170 feet in height reveal the geological formations that began 180 million years ago.

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The Carmel Formation, noted by the white striations in the red colored cliffs at lower levels, forms the base. The red sandstone, along with gypsum, shale, quartz, and clay, makes up the Entrada Formation. The white to tan portions of the cliffs are from the Henrieville Sandstone deposited toward the end of the Jurassic Period.

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The Dakota and Tropic Shale Formations top the previous layers. A sea that covered much of the interior of North America deposited this layer 95 million years ago. Geologists haven’t quite yet agreed on how the spires were formed, but there are three theories that attempt to explain their creation. You can be read about them here on Wikipedia if your interest is piqued.

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Another Sandstone Hill

Since then, wind, rain, and earthquakes have left their marks on the cliffs and monolith shapes we see today.

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Indigenous Woman Wrapped in a Shawl
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The Priest

There are several trails in the park ranging from easy to strenuous. We only had time for the 0.5-mile nature trail, which included informational panels on the plants, animals, and geology. This trail is also ADA accessible.

 

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Red Sandstone and Snag
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View from Kodachrome Basin State Park

 

The state park would be a good place to spend a few nights so we could explore more. I have a feeling, though, that reservations are difficult to obtain.

A few miles from the park’s entrance, we came across an alternative to the Kodachrome campgrounds.

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Bryce Luxury Camping Near Kodachrome Basin State Park

How about a luxury tent complete with chairs, table, barbecue, and fire pit? Select a site with neighbors close by.

 

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Luxury Tent Camping

 

Or opt for one with a bit more privacy.

 

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Great Views from Luxury Campsite

 

Cannonville, Utah

On our way back to the trailer, we stopped off at the visitor center in Cannonville, Utah. Although they were not open, we wandered around outside where they have interpretive panels and displays.

 

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Cannonville, Utah,  Visitor Center Farming Display

 

 

 

This fence looked rickety to me, but apparently, a ripgut (interlocking) fence is said to be one the strongest for corraling livestock without the use of nails or baling wire.

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Ripgut Fence

A Little More of Bryce Canyon

 

Before we left Bryce, we attended a ranger talk at Rainbow Point. We drove into the park early to grab a parking spot before the lot filled. Thank goodness it was warmer than the first day we came out on our tour. The ranger talked about the geology and taught us how to distinguish among the white fir, bristlecone, limber, and ponderosa pine trees. I’m afraid I’ve forgotten this skill already.

 

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Snags are Left to Provide Shelter for Insects, Rodents, and Birds

 

He encouraged us to take a whiff of the cinnamon-colored bark of the mature ponderosa trees. They smelled like vanilla.

 

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Bark of a Ponderosa

 

This little squirrel was so busy munching on the pine cone that she, or he, ignored the group of people listening to the ranger impart tidbits about the green leaf manzanita.

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We stopped at a couple more overlooks on our way out of the park. This amphitheater reminded us of terracotta warriors.

 

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Terracotta Warriors

 

 

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Temple Cliff

 

After six nights at Ruby’s Inn and Campground, it was time to move on. But not too far away.  There was plenty more to see in the area.

Safe Travels

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park was our destination on September 24, 2017. The California hills along Interstate 5 south of Tracy sported their summer golden highlights. Bands of scorched earth, patches in places and acres in others, signaled that the California fire season had arrived. We made an overnight stop in Barstow at Shady Lane RV Camp. Its location away from the freeway was a better pick than the KOA at Calico Ghost Town where we had previously stayed.

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We selected Ruby’s Inn RV Park & Campground as our home for six nights. Ruby’s accommodates all types of travelers whether they need a motel experience, full hookups for an RV, a cabin, tipi, or tent site. The restaurant serves up delicious western grub and the store contains food items, camping equipment, clothing, and gifts. The convenient shuttle stops for the national park, one near the motel and the other near the RV park, were a bonus.

Our first venture into the park was on the Rainbow Point Shuttle Tour, included with admission to the park by reservation. Our driver, Jay Evans, regaled us with the history and geology of the park, information about the flora and fauna, stories about the people, and a few jokes during the 3.5-hour tour. The tour allowed us to acclimate to the change in elevation from sea level to 8,000 feet and to figure out the areas of the park we wanted to explore in more depth. What we didn’t acclimate to was the cold wind that cut through our thin pant legs. Why did I not pack my long johns?

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Our Tour Group Overlooking One of the Fourteen Amphitheaters of Hoodoos
Bryce Canyon became a national park in 1928 and is named after Ebenezer Bryce who was a Mormon pioneer. The canyon is best known for its long and narrow 56 square miles which contain unique geological formations of hoodoos, fins, windows, arches, domes, and pinnacles.

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View From Rainbow Point
While on the tour, Jay pointed out the names of some of the hoodoos we looked down on from the rim of the cliffs.

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The Hunter is Known for His Ear Muffs

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The Rabbit Or Bart Simpson?

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Natural Bridge

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Olympic Flame

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Kneeling Monk
Layers of silt, sand, and lime in beds that run up to 2,000 feet thick provided the base of sedimentary rock for Bryce Canyon. Erosion from wind, rain, and the freeze-thaw action, which causes fracturing, created the formations and continue their impact on the landscape. In addition, plant roots, and burrowing animals loosen the rocks and accelerate the erosion.

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Fairyland Overlook Fin Hoodoos
We topped off our day at Ebenezer’s Barn & Grill for some old fashioned western fun, music, and cowboy chow. Members of the Bar G Wranglers, the evening’s entertainment, greeted the guests, escorted them to their seats, and made sure the diners followed the proper route through the chow line. Surprisingly, the food was delicious, the music great, and we enjoyed meeting the other couples at our table.

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Ebenezer’s Barn & Grill

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Jay Evans: Best Shuttle Bus Driver and Fastest Strumming Guitar Player
One day, we rode the shuttle to Sunset Point where we hiked the Navaho Loop Trail, connected with Queen’s Garden and came up out of the canyon at Sunrise Point.

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View from Sunset Point

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Navaho Trail Slot Canyon

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Looking Up at the Hoodoos

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Squirrel? Prairie Dog?

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Sorry Squirrel. No Feeding the Animals.

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Queen Victoria Standing on the Back of a Camel

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The Fortress

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Olympic Flame

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Queen’s Garden Trail

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Sunrise Point Queen’s Garden Trail

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Shipwreck Rock
 

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People on the Trail Below are Barely Visible

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Photographers Abound on the Trail

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The Sentinels
Not interested in a long steep hike? Take the Mossy Cave trail from Highway 12. The short walk follows the Tropic Ditch to a mossy cave and a waterfall. In 1890 and 1892, Mormon farmers, using picks and shovels, dug the ditch to bring water to the settlements around Tropic, Utah. Except for 2002 during the drought, the ditch has continued to carry irrigation water to the towns of Tropic and Cannonville.

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Mossy Cave

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Tropic Ditch Waterfall

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Tropic Ditch

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Hoodoos and Windows Along Mossy Cave Trail
Words and photos are not sufficient to portray the feelings that well up while walking among the hoodoos and gazing across the vistas. Bryce Canyon is a place to slow down, feel the sun on your back, breath in the fresh pine scent, hear the wind rustle through the pine needles and aspen leaves, and watch squirrels and lizards scurry around and raptors fly overhead. Oh, and don’t forget to look for queens, hunters, rabbits, Chinese terracotta soldiers, Scotty dogs, and whatever else you can make of the gazillion formations.

Safe Travels