Kodachrome Basin Revisited

The drive to Kodachrome Basin SP took us through higher elevations of Dixie National Forest which had been transformed into a winter scene. Everything was covered in several inches of snow. As we descended, the rain was clearing and it looked like we might find some relief. And we did – briefly. We were able to set up our site and unpack before the rain started up again for two more hours.

I was mildly miserable while it rained. Truman hid out in the tent, and Zach was annoyingly optimistic. Only one other site in our small campground was occupied, even though all of the sites were reserved. I guess the rain scared everyone away. Once the rain stopped, we could actually see our surroundings. Our campground – Bryce View – had an excellent view of Bryce Canyon’s pink cliffs. When the rain ceased – restless – we went for a hike.

Later in the evening, we had clearer views

We visited Kodachrome Basin SP two years ago on Memorial Day weekend. On that trip we hiked the Panorama Trail – the longest trail in the park – so on this trip I wanted to hike the park’s other, shorter trails. To lift our (my) spirits after the rain stopped, I chose the Angel’s Palace Trail, a short 1.5 mile loop which offered panoramic views of the park and its setting. We were all eager to set off after a sedentary day, especially Truman.

The trail, while in some places very muddy, was beautiful. We climbed up to the plateau most of the trail traverses and were blown away by the views. It did its job of lifting my spirits too. I felt revived. The trail led us in a wide loop across the plateau and then we descended the way we’d come.

Not quite ready to go back to our site, we did the nature trail across the street too. Even though it was a simple half mile, it was nice to walk around that much more. Relieved that no more rain was on the horizon, we had an enjoyable (but chilly) evening by the campfire.

The next day was beautiful, but that posed its own problems. My original plan for Tuesday was to drive the Cottonwood Canyon Road and do a hike there. Then we could return and do another short hike in the park. With all the recent rain though, there was a closed sign straddling the road’s entrance. With that plan dashed, I had few other ideas except the park trails.

In the morning, with the possibility of rain in the afternoon, we decided to do the Grand Parade Trail in the park and figure out the rest of the day later. It was another simple trail which led us in and out of two box canyons on the basin floor. Slightly longer at 2 miles, it was a very pretty trail, and we had it entirely to ourselves. It was a fun hike, but afterward I felt at a loss for what to do next.

Box Canyon #1
Box Canyon #2

The only other trail in the park was the Shakespeare Arch – Sentinel Trail, but the dirt road to the trailhead – just beyond our campground – was also closed. We dropped by the visitor center and chatted with the employee on duty. He told us the trail was his favorite in the park and it was probably only a mile to the trailhead from our campground. He also told us that Shakespeare Arch – the only arch in the park – had recently collapsed. He shared some photos on his phone with us. With all of that knowledge, we decided we could walk to the trail and add an extra mile; we had plenty of time.

We no sooner started walking down the road than we realized why the road was still closed: our feet sank into the road with each step. We only managed to go a quarter mile before I wanted to turn around. Zach suggested we go to Bryce Canyon and do a hike there instead. It was cool enough that Tru could hang out in the car. I agreed, so we piled in the car and took off toward Bryce.

Where we wanted to go…

We could see another storm over Bryce as we entered Tropic. I felt so defeated by the day that I didn’t even want to continue. We stopped in Tropic for coffee and hung out there for a while. The storm blew in while we were there, and (thankfully) it wasn’t nearly as bad as the day before. We grabbed some bbq nachos in town before going back to Kodachrome for the evening.

The rain cleared up by the time we arrived back at our site. It was a pleasant evening, and we took a walk along the road spotting jackrabbits in the grass and listening to bird song. Other campers had filed into our campground making it a little livelier than the night before. We were able to enjoy another gorgeous (and much warmer) evening at our campfire which capped our time at Kodachrome well.

3 replies »

  1. Sorry the weather interfered with your hikes. We were in this area at the beginning of November, and were hugely disappointed that Cottonwood Canyon Rd was closed. I should have called ahead of time. We re-routed to Bryce Canyon instead, gorgeous though freezing!

    But how about those showers at Kodachrome Basin State Park? Best bathroom and laundry facilities of any park anywhere!

    • I knew it would be unlikely given how much rain had recently fallen, but I was still hopeful. I do love Kodachrome though. I think it’s still under the radar a bit. 🙂

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