KodachromeBasin

Kodachrome Basin State Park is a spectacular area in Southern Utah near Grand Staircase Escalante
National Monument. Deep in the heart of Red Rock Country, Kodachrome Basin is famous for its spires
and sandstone chimneys (called sand injectites or sedimentary pipes) which pierce the red-orange and
creamy vanilla sandstone landscape, along with hoodoos, desert foliage and picturesque hiking trails.

This page contains 45 images from two separate visits to Kodachrome Basin State Park.

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Kodachrome Basin

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Kodachrome Basin was first known as Thorley’s Pasture (it was on Tom Thorley’s ranch).
When the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built a road through the area in the 1930s, it
became a popular picnic spot and tourism destination for locals and the few brave souls
who would attempt the washboard dirt road, which would become a mud-pit after a rain.
In 1948, a National Geographic Society expedition through the area, documented in a
September 1949 article, named the area Kodachrome Flat after the new Kodak slide
film which was popular with the National Geographic photographers for its saturation.
During the expedition, they photographed nearby Grosvenor Arch (with Ektachrome)
which they then named for National Geographic Society president and the editor of
National Geographic magazine, Gilbert H. Grosvenor (the editor from 1899-1954).

When local residents lobbied to make the area a State Park, it was almost called
Chimney Rock State Park since they thought that Kodak would object to the use
of the trademarked name, but Kodak decided that it would be good advertising
and gave permission, so the area was named Kodachrome Basin State Park.

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Hoodoos Grand Parade Kodachrome Basin 1213
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A telephoto view of the Hoodoos in the Grand Parade area from Sentinel Trail.
The Hoodoos (eroded columns of sandstone) are Carmel and Entrada Formation
sandstones laid down during the Jurassic period, as are the red-orange rocks on the
cliff at the far right (detail below). The cream-to-tan rocks in the distance and on the cliff
are Jurassic Henrieville Sandstone, similar to the nearby Grosvenor Arch formation,
and the red-orange streaks at the top of the cliff and on the hills in the distance are
Cretaceous-period Dakota Formation Sandstone and Tropic Shale. The area
 is a geological paradise with numerous interesting features as you will see.

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Hoodoos Grand Parade Kodachrome Basin 1190
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Detail of the Grand Parade Hoodoos and the cliff face at the right side of the previous image,
taken with a longer telephoto (180mm vs. the 85mm lens used for image 1213). A storm was
in the area, and the sky changed from minute to minute, as it will in the Utah high desert. This
shot was taken 22 seconds after the following image, as the storm passed in front of the sun.

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Hoodoos and Sand Pipes Kodachrome Basin 1189
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Detail of the Grand Parade Hoodoos and two types of the distinctive sedimentary pipes
for which Kodachrome Basin is so famous, taken from the Sentinel Trail. Note the small
reddish cone-shaped formation at right center. This and some of the central formations
which resemble pillars are sedimentary intrusions (pipes) formed of harder sandstone
than the Entrada sandstone in which they used to be encased, which eroded away.
At the top right is a lighter cylindrical spire, also called a sedimentary pipe, which
is of a different type (detail will be shown further below). Nearly 70 of this sort of
sedimentary pipe are present in Kodachrome Basin. Geologists are uncertain
of the origin of the clastic (brecchia-laden) sedimentary dikes, but there are
theories on their origin which will be described in captions further below.

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Sandstone Formation Kodachrome Basin 1180
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One of the sandstone pipes on the Sentinel Trail. The softer Entrada sandstone eroded
away (some remaining Entrada sandstone can be seen in the lower front) to leave the harder
cone-shaped intrusion. Several of this sort of sedimentary pipe can be seen in Kodachrome Basin.

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Sand Pipe Grand Parade Kodachrome Basin 1243
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The lighter form of clastic (brecchia-laden) sedimentary pipe in the Grand Parade area of Kodachrome Basin. Based upon evidence found in the rock layers, Kodachrome Basin was similar to Yellowstone in that it had geysers and springs in a seismically active region. One theory is that the earthquakes provided the force required to inject water-saturated sediment into cracks in the overlying rock, which re-cemented into pipes which were harder than the surrounding sandstone.

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Sand Pipe Grand Parade Kodachrome Basin 1247
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This shot of the Grand Parade Sand Pipe was taken a little over a minute later, when the distant storm blocked the sun.

Another theory on the origin of these clastic pipes is that they are the remnants of ancient springs, which became choked with sediment that eventually cemented together. The most recent theory is that water-laden sediment was forced upward by the pressure of overlying rock and cemented later.

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Sand Pipe Grand Parade Kodachrome Basin 1227
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A more distant context shot of the clastic sedimentary pipe within its
sandstone formation in the Grand Parade area of Kodachrome Basin.

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Grand Parade Kodachrome Basin 1244
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Another one of the Entrada sandstone formations in the Grand Parade area of Kodachrome Basin State Park.

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Sandstone Formation Kodachrome Basin 1218

A cone-shaped sedimentary formation in the Grand Parade.

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Grand Parade Kodachrome Basin 1214
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A sandstone formation in the Grand Parade. When the light is right, the rock actually glows.
The orange-red rocks in the Grand Parade are the Entrada Formation Gunsight Butte Member.

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Grand Parade Kodachrome Basin 1229
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A sandstone formation in the Grand Parade with a clastic sedimentary pipe protruding in the center of the left side.

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Grand Parade Kodachrome Basin 1231
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Note the cone-shaped cap at the top of this formation. These are sometimes called “fairy chimneys” or “tent rocks”.

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Grand Parade Kodachrome Basin 1216
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Grand Parade sandstone formations, with a clastic sedimentary pipe rising on the left.
This is a wider view of the area shown in the detail portrait shot (1229) shown above.

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Grand Parade Kodachrome Basin 1250
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The rear of the Grand Parade formation with the clastic pipe shown in detail earlier (1227, 1243 and 1247).

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Grand Parade Kodachrome Basin 1253
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Two sandstone formations in the Grand Parade area of the Kodachrome Basin, shaded by the approaching storm.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
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Direct Link to the Kodachrome Basin images:

Kodachrome Basin

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Chimney_Rock_Kodachrome_Basin_1181


Chimney Rock Kodachrome Basin 1181
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At the northeastern border of Kodachrome Basin near the edge of Grand Staircase Escalante
is the tallest sedimentary pipe in the park. The 170 foot Chimney Rock was nearly the namesake
of the state park before Kodak gave permission for the use of the name Kodachrome. The formation
in the center of the image is called the Colossus of Cannonville (Cannonville is 9 miles away). It is
on Bureau of Land Management land, and was the site of a spectacular climb a few years ago.

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Ballerina Geyser Kodachrome Basin 1235
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This spire on the Panorama Trail is called Ballerina Geyser. A clastic sedimentary pipe, one theory is that it is the remains of an ancient geyser which silted up and cemented into a harder substance than the Entrada Sandstone, which later eroded away. Some remaining sandstone can be seen at lower right.

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Chimney Rock and Colossus
Kodachrome Basin 6908

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Chimney Rock (foreground) and the Colossus of Cannonville, taken on a different visit during a training session for a group of photographers. This was taken with an 85mm telephoto, which made the Colossus seem much closer to the spire.

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Chimney Rock Kodachrome Basin 6916
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Chimney Rock and the Colossus of Cannonville, shaded by an approaching storm.

Chimney Rock is an injectite pipe formation caused by saturated sand which was forced upward
by pressure of the overlaying rock layers, and later cemented into a harder sedimentary rock than
the surrounding Entrada Sandstone, which later eroded away. This occurs when a fine-grained mud
layer on top of the saturated sand prevents water from escaping under the pressure of later deposits.
This prevents the early processes of compaction and lithification, and overpressures the sand. Later,
when the mud is compacted to form a mudstone, it can both reduce in volume and crack. The high
pressure on the saturated sand layer below can then cause the sand to be injected into the rock
above. The great weight of rock on top of the saturated sand can also raise the hydrostatic
pressure of the sand, causing it to overcome the strength of the mudstone cap rock and
the high pressure sand and water is injected upward through the fractured mudstone.

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Colossus of Cannonville Kodachrome Basin 1185
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The Colossus of Cannonville is a fine-grained formation of Entrada sandstone below
Henrieville sandstone (the lighter layer). This was the site of a radically difficult climb by
Steve “Crusher” Bartlett, a solo climb belayed from below. The climb was so difficult that
he only averaged about 60 feet per day, as the grainy surface crumbled like hard sugar.
The Colossus of Cannonville is on BLM land (climbing is forbidden within Kodachrome).
Kodachrome Basin rangers stopped by to watch a part of the climb in total amazement.
It took him six days to climb the 400 foot tower. He was the first to stand on the summit.

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Big Stoney Kodachrome Basin 6934
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This shot taken from the Nature Trail near the Oasis Group shows the formation known as
Big Stoney, framed by a Juniper skeleton on a day when a storm was rolling through the area.

Kodachrome Basin is known by some of the locals as Phallus Park. Actually, one lady I know
heard that I was planning on taking a group of photographers into the area and asked if I was
going to take them to “penis park”. I suppose you can understand why this unofficial name
was conferred upon the area when you see the formation the rangers call “Big Stoney”.

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Big Stoney Kodachrome Basin 6944

Big Stoney is the most anatomically-correct of the numerous phallus-shaped spires in Kodachrome Basin. This is Mother Nature’s way of saying that “you’re just not that big”.

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Big Stoney Kodachrome Basin 6923

Big Stoney is near the campground, and there are invariably folks using it as a backdrop to create humorous photographs similar to people holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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Big Stoney Kodachrome Basin 1224
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Uncomfortable males and smug females are quite often seen around this sedimentary pipe formation in the Oasis Group.

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Big Stoney Kodachrome Basin 1217
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The first thing I was asked by my hostess at the B&B when we returned was “What did you think of Big Stoney?” [smirk].

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Cathedral Kodachrome Basin 6955
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A view across the sandstone shelf at the end of the Nature Trail towards the Oasis Group.
The large formation in the center left is the Cahedral, and in the left distance is Big Stoney.

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Cathedral Kodachrome Basin 6959
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Another view of the slickrock shelf (Entrada Sandstone) at the end of the Nature Trail,
with the Oasis Group Cathedral in the background as the storm was rapidly approaching.

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Juniper Nature Trail Kodachrome Basin 6930
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Juniper Nature Trail Kodachrome Basin 6936
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Juniper skeletons on the Nature Trail near the Oasis Group in Kodachrome Basin State Park.

The Nature Trail is a 1/2 mile hard-paved route through a section of the park near the campground and
the Oasis Group. Besides Juniper and Pinyon Pines, there are Sagebrush, Yucca and Prickly Pear cactus
with Entrada and Henrieville Formation sandstone and Sedimentary Pipes in the background (see above right)..

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Juniper Nature Trail Kodachrome Basin 6938
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Junipers Nature Trail Kodachrome Basin 6946
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The short Nature Trail offers a look at the native high-desert plants of Southern Utah, and the occasional
jackrabbit or cottontail rabbit, lizards, ground and grey squirrels, chipmunks, chukars and kangaroo rats.

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Junipers Nature Trail Kodachrome Basin 6949
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Juniper skeletons, Yucca, Pinion Pines and an orange wall of Entrada Sandstone on the Kodachrome Basin Nature Trail.

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Juniper Nature Trail Kodachrome Basin 6951
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My favorite portrait of a Juniper skeleton in front of an Entrada Sandstone wall on the Kodachrome Basin Nature Trail.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
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Direct Link to the Kodachrome Basin images:

Kodachrome Basin

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Shakespeare Arch Trail Kodachrome Basin 1195
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Entrada Sandstone Hoodoos in harsh mid-afternoon light on the Shakespeare Arch Trail.
Shakespeare Arch Trail is at the southeast corner of the park near Grand Staircase Escalante
National Monument. The arch was not discovered until 1976, when Superintendent Tom Shakespeare
was searching for a coyote den in an unremarkable section of the park and came upon it. It has since
become one of the marked highlights of the park, as it is the only natural arch in Kodachrome Basin.

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Hoodoo Shakespeare Arch Trail Kodachrome 1191

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Hoodoo Shakespeare Arch Trail Kodachrome 1193
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Some of the eerie sandstone hoodoos on the Shakespeare Arch trail.

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Hoodoos Shakespeare Arch Trail Kodachrome 1194
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Hoodoos are eroded sandstone features, sometimes called “tent rocks” or “fairy chimneys”.
This type of hoodoo is often called a spire due to the conical shape, tapering up from the ground.

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Hoodoos Shakespeare Arch Trail Kodachrome 1211
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Hoodoo Shakespeare Arch Trail Kodachrome 1206
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Hoodoo Shakespeare Arch Trail Kodachrome 1208
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The short Shakespeare Arch trail has few features other than
the hoodoos and the distant views of Grand Staircase Escalante,
but just as you are beginning to get enough of the sandstone hoodoos...

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Shakespeare Arch Kodachrome Basin 1196
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You round a corner and there it is... Shakespeare Arch.

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Shakespeare Arch Kodachrome Basin 1198
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Although the mid-afternoon light was rather harsh (as it often is), it turned out to be
 perfect for shooting the arch, which would have been in deep shadow earlier in the day.

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Shakespeare Arch Kodachrome Basin 1199
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Shakespeare Arch stands 180 feet over the trail.

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Shakespeare Arch Kodachrome Basin 1201
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Note the unusual tiered structure of Shakespeare Arch.

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Shakespeare Arch Kodachrome Basin 1210
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Shakespeare Arch peeks out of a hoodoo-laden sandstone formation in Kodachrome Basin.

You may want to visit the Grosvenor Arch page to see the most spectacular natural arch in the area.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Scenic Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

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Direct Link to the Kodachrome Basin images:

Kodachrome Basin

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GrosvenorArch


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Grosvenor Arch page

ArchesNP


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Arches National Park page

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Click the Display Composite above to visit the Indian Lands and Anasazi Sites Index page.

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