Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah

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It’s hard to imagine a more colorful desert landscape than what you’ll find in Kodachrome Basin State Park. The hills are alive with an incredible range of color.  Red and White rocks mix with grounds covered in green.  Then add the perfectly blue sky, and the basin comes alive.

I must have forgotten briefly how many trails I had hiked in the past few days, and for some reason, decided I must tackle the steepest, most challenging trail in the park, Eagle View.  The trail ascends this steep flight of stairs, directly up the side of the hill.  I only made it halfway to the top… but that was just far enough, to take in an impressive view.

Kodachrome Basin earned its name when National Geographic photographers came here in the late 1940’s, to test out a new type of color film.

A drive out to the eastern edge of the park seems somewhat plain, until you reach Chimney Rock.  Stop here to read signs, that provide more information on the National Geographic Society expedition that earned Kodachrome Basin its name.

Kodachrome Basin is home to an unusual type of formation called sand pipes, or chimney rocks.  It’s not completely clear how they formed.  One theory is that they were extruded up through the ground.  Another possibility: geysers filled up with sediment, then dried up.  When the dirt eroded away, the sand pipes were left standing.

Here is one of the park’s most prominent examples of a sand pipe, or chimney.  You can easily view it from the main road.

Another view in Kodachrome Basin, showing the sharp contrasts in colors.

Note: This trip was first published in 2004.  I visited Kodachrome Basin again in 2013, hiked several trails, and even spent the night at one of the cabins in the park.  You can check out that visit here.

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