Our tips to enjoy Kodachrome Basin State Park with kids: how to get there, what to expect,kid-friendly trails, practical tips for a family visit.
Kodachrome Basin is a beautiful State Park in Southern Utah.
It owes its name to the photographers from National Geographic who visited the park in 1948 and admired the incredible rock colors of the rock formations here: impressed by the layers of white and red rocks here, they used the name of one of their most-used camera films as a nickname for the area, and the name stuck!
Indeed, the main reason Kodachrome Basin is famous for and why it is worth visiting is its impressive colors.
We came to Kodachrome on a summer afternoon, after a visit to Bryce Canyon nearby. In an atmosphere of unreal quiet, a plumbeous sky covered the basin and revealed the peculiar geology of this park
We had the kids with us and spent an afternoon here and I recommend you do the same. This is what you need to know to plan your visit.
Why visit Kodachrome Basin: what is Kodachrome Basin known for?
Kodachrome Basin is a natural of great natural beauty with multi-layered colored rocks and impressive rocky spires shooting up towards the sky.
The mountains that surround it are made of sandstone rocks that sedimented here over 180 million years and the area has tens of monolithic rock chimneys with incredible colors ranging from white to red.
Kodachrome basic is popular with photographers, but you can also come here to hike, camp, go mountain biking and horse riding.
Kodachrome is also popular for stargazing since the area is an official dark sky park since January 2021 (read about it here).
Where is Kodachrome Basin + Kodachrome Map
Kodachrome Basin State Park is in Southern Utah, on the edges of Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument.
You access it by car following scenic highway 12: the nearest town is Cannonville and the park is well indicated by street signs along the way.
Bryce Canyon is a short 30 min drive from the park which means you can visit Kodachrome and Bryce on the same day (see below).
Salt Lake City is about 300 miles south of Salt Lake City.
Driving from Bryce Canyon to Kodachrome Basin State Park
The drive between Bryce Canyon and Kodachrome State park is 23 miles and takes about 30 minutes.
The first part follows stunning highway 12 and then turns left towards the basin. The first part of the drive offers stunning views of the rock formations of Bryce Canyon but the scenery changes drastically as you keep going and lose altitude.
As you get closer to Kodachrome, the land is flatter and grassy, until the basin and the rocks that form it appear in front of you, revealing this exceptional spot.
You do not need special vehicles to come to Kodachrome as the road is all paved and well kept.
Kodachrome Basin State Park Entrance Fee
Day use is $8 per vehicle
$4 Day-Use for Utah seniors 62+
$75 Annual Pass is available at the park
$35 Senior Adventure (annual) Pass
Kodachrome is a state park as you arrive you find a good visitors center with a park ranger, restroom facilities and information material.
You can leave the car in the car par just outside, get your ticket, then drive farther into the basin.
Things to do in Kodachrome Basin State Park with kids
Kodachrome Basin is a place of beautiful scenery: the best things to do in Kodachrome with kids are:
Hiking – Kodachrome has several hiking trails, some of them easy also for kids.
Grand Parade Trail stays on the bottom of the basin and it is good for kids too. This is the one you will most likely walk if you are in Kodachrome for a short visit.
The trail is good for seeing the rocks and spires and the main natural features of the basin.
Spot wildlife – Kodachrome Basin is home to jack rabbits, snakes, mountain lion, mice, lizards and many types of birds including eagles and jays and some of them are easy to spot.
Horseback riding – this area is popular for horseback riding and this can be a cool way to explore it with kids. Have a look here to see if may suit your children.
The basin can be very quiet in terms of human activity so if you keep your eyes peeled, you have the chance to see a good few native animals!
Mountain Biking – Kodachrome Basin has a couple of mountain biking trails. I highly recommend you ask the ranger at the entrance for suitability and details of each trail
Take photos – Kodachrome is a photographers’ paradise and this includes budding ones! Just give your kids a phone, camera or go pro / action camera for kids and set them free: they will come back with amazing shots!
Kodachrome Basin State Park trails – kid-friendly hikes in Kodachrome
|Name||Difficulty||What to expect||Kid-friendly hike|
|Grand Parade Trail||Easy||1.5 mile trail. On the floor of the basin, you can walk or bike here. Good to observe plants, animals and rock formations without gaining elevation||Yes|
|Panorama Trail||Easy/Moderate||3 or 6 mile loop trail, good to see sedimentary pipes and some cool spots such as ‘cool cave’ or ‘secret passage’. Also open to bikers and horses.||Yes|
|Shakespeare Arch Trail||Easy||1.7 miles trail to what used to be the only natural arch in the park (the arch recently collapsed). The hike is easy until the arch and it is open and pretty despite the lack of the main attraction. After the arch the path gets harder with some exposed sections||Yes|
|Angels’s Palace Trail||Easy||1.5 mile trail with 46mt elevation, great to catch views over the basin||Yes|
|Nature Trail||Easy||0.5 mile accessible trail, perfect for a first introduction to the Basin and its nature||Yes|
What to take with you to visit Kodachrome Sain with kids
To enjoy Kodachrome with kids, you need to be equipped for a day on the trail. We recommend you take with you:
- Hiking shoes and socks for you and the kids – you can find hiking shoes for children we like here.
- Sun hat
- Water and snacks suitable for hiking (fruit, gran bars etc)
- Suitable hiking clothing (layers, t-shirts, shorts etc depending on the season, see below)
- Hiking day pack with snacks and essentials – you can see what we have in our day pack for family hikes here.
- Camera / phone for photos
The best time to visit Kodachrome Basin with kids
Good times to hike in Kodachrome are spring and fall. Closer to the winter months temperatures fall and you can get snow however, in May-June and again in September -October temperatures are pleasant during the day and not overly hot.
In summer the park can get hot however, there weather changes fast here and we were able to visit without excessive heath thanks to a shower of rain the cooled the area.
Winter hets cold in the basin and you will see it covered in snow.
Camping in Kodachrome Basin
Kodachrome has two designated camping areas: Bryce View Campground and Arch Campground, both with restrooms and water.
The area is quiet and remote and it is most suited to families with kids who want to enjoy wilderness and do not need organised activities or restaurants nearby. If you prefer more structured accommodation, the area closer to Bryce and the town of Tropic has plenty of family friendly options.
I hope you enjoyed this quick overview and tips for visiting Kodachrome Basin with family. Before you go, you may also want to check out tips for attractions in the area.
Kid-friendly hikes in Bryce Canyon – just up the road
Kid-friendly hikes in Zion National Park – perfect if you are road tripping in this area
See how to include Kodachrome Basin in your trips following our Utah itinerary
You can also find our tips for hiking with kids here.
Find inspiration and great hiking spots in the US for an active family vacation here
Pin this family guide to Kodachrome basin using the image below!