So maybe you’ve been to Southern Utah before. You’ve hit all the major tourist sites, you’ve seen Zion National Park once or twice, and you’ve walked around the amphitheater in Bryce Canyon, and you’ve hiked to Delicate Arch. You’re looking for someplace a little less traveled, a little more wild. Don’t worry, Southern Utah is an explorer’s dream-come-true, we’ve got plenty of wilderness for you to get lost in.
So here’s a couple of thoughts on where you can explore next – from your friends at Red River Ranch. And lucky for you, all three of our suggestions are located next to each other, on Utah’s famous Cottonwood Road.
The national parks in Southern Utah get all the love. And we’re not saying that they don’t deserve it, but there are other places in our state that are just as cool. Utah’s state parks for example. So if you’ve done the five national parks already, the next logical step is to check out the state parks. And a great place to start is Kodachrome Basin State Park.
Kodachrome Basin is named after the famous film (like for film cameras, remember those?) that produced exceptional colors. And the park is definitely colorful. 67 bright red, sandstone pinnacles rise abruptly from the desert. Contrasted against the bright blue of the summer sky and the deep green of the juniper trees, the sandstone really “pops.”
So what do you do when you get to Kodachrome. Start by taking a bunch of photographs (seems appropriate, considering the name and all) then hike one of the several nearby trails. Horseback riding is also a common activity in the park. If you plan on staying the night, there is a campground in the park, and there are even a couple of cabins that you can reserve. The park is open all year round. There is an entrance fee of $8 per entering vehicle.
You can see where Kodachrome Basin is located here at Google Maps.
Right next door to Kodachrome Basin is Grosvenor Arch. It’s one of the strangest, and coolest arches in Utah. There aren’t a lot of double sandstone arches in the state. So if you’re making the journey to Kodachrome, don’t go home without a trip to Grosvenor Arch.
The area is well maintained, with a cement trail that leads directly under the arch. You can see where Grosvenor Arch is located here at Google Maps.
Lower Hackberry Narrows
This is one of Utah’s best hikes, and nobody really knows about it. It’s easy, fun and the scenery is amazing. The “trail” is actually a shallow riverbed that flows year-round. So when we say that you’ll be hiking, what we really mean is that you’ll be wading through the narrows. But unlike other water-filled canyons, the water is only ankle deep in Lower Hackberry.
The first one-and-half miles can properly be considered “narrows.” The canyon opens up after that, so most visitors turn around here. But if you continue until the end of the canyon you can find Frank Watson’s cabin. Frank built his cabin out there to get away from it all. He couldn’t have picked a better spot. The cabin is now abandoned.
We can’t recommend this trail enough. If you really want to explore the backcountry wilderness of Utah, this is certainly one of the best spots. And you can bet Frank would have agreed. You can find the trailhead to Lower Hackberry Narrows here on Google Maps.