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.
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.
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.
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.
Since then, wind, rain, and earthquakes have left their marks on the cliffs and monolith shapes we see today.
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.
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.
How about a luxury tent complete with chairs, table, barbecue, and fire pit? Select a site with neighbors close by.
Or opt for one with a bit more privacy.
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.
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.
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.
He encouraged us to take a whiff of the cinnamon-colored bark of the mature ponderosa trees. They smelled like vanilla.
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.
We stopped at a couple more overlooks on our way out of the park. This amphitheater reminded us of terracotta warriors.
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.