BC- Panorama Trail Kodachrome State Park Loop


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FATMAP difficulty grade



Kodachrome Basin is a small, popular state park a few miles south of UT 12 due east of Bryce Canyon, and reached by a paved road, from Cannonville.

The basin contains eroded, multicolored rock formations in various shades of red, yellow, pink, white and brown; together with the (usually) deep blue sky and occasional green vegetation this combination led the National Geographical Society to name the area, in 1949, with the permission of Kodak Film Corporation.

The one unique feature of the park is the presence of over 60 spires or chimneys of rock, known as sand pipes, which are thought to be solidified sediment that filled ancient springs or geysers, left standing after the softer surrounding Entrada sandstone weathered away.

The tallest is 170 feet high.

The Entrada layer makes up most of the red rocks in the park, while the overlying whitish strata are from the Dakota and Tropic Shale formations. The Panorama Trail is the longest and most varied of the six hiking routes in Kodachrome Basin State Park, crossing flat land on the west side of the park road, to viewpoints, sand pipes, narrow ravines, red cliffs and other Entrada sandstone formations.

The total length is 5.8 miles, round trip, along three connected loops and three spurs.

Highlights of the trail are the red, yellow, pink, white and brown-colored eroded rock formations, most unusual being the tall white columns (sand pipes) rising high above the softer surrounding rocks.

There are six major, named features (see map below); the closest two are Ballerina Spire, a tall, graceful sand pipe, and Hat Shop, a small group of hoodoos; the one-way trip to these is one mile.

Further away are Panorama Point, a little hill that overlooks all of the park and has sweeping views across the Paria River valley towards Bryce Canyon, and Secret Passage, a short, narrow drainage - round trip for these is 3.8 miles.

The most distant part of the trail leads to another big sand pipe, Mammoth Geyser, and then a cliff-lined basin, past several narrow, shady ravines, one known as Cool Cave.

The Trail - The longest hiking route is the Panorama Trail, a 6-mile loop past more sand pipes, an elevated viewpoint, several narrow ravines and other formations.

Also starting at the campground, the half mile (loop) Nature Trail is accompanied by notices about the common plants of this arid, semi-desert region.

An unpaved road forks east from near the ranger residence, past a smaller, more primitive campground to a junction; the north branch leads to Chimney Rock, the largest sand pipe in the park, while the other heads south towards (the remains of) Shakespeare Arch, reachable by a quarter mile trail that continues around a series of cliffs to make a 1.4-mile loop.