Utah State Parks
Ok, ok, we know you’re probably sick of hearing about the government shutdown. But as we’ve been helping guests figure out how to handle the temporary disruption of services in the national parks, we’ve been focusing more and more on Utah’s fantastic state parks. To be clear, you can still visit most of the national parks, it’s just that maybe you shouldn’t. So for as long as the shutdown persists, we’ll keep trying to help you navigate your way around Utah, and more specifically, around Utah’s state parks.
To point you in the right direction, here are three of our favorite state parks that we think are worth checking out, whether you make it to the national parks or not:
Goosenecks State Park
Goosenecks is a fairly small park, but it captures some pretty big views. The park encompasses a portion of the San Juan river as it cuts through the desert floor on its way to Lake Powell. There are several overlooks that allow you look down into the canyon far below. The erosion of the river lets you look at the remarkable striations in the rock walls of the canyon, revealing millions of years of geological history.
As we mentioned the park is pretty small, but it does have restrooms and a (somewhat primitive) campground. There is an entrance fee of five dollars per vehicle. And if you choose to camp in the park, there is a ten dollar overnight fee. There is no visitor center.
Kodachrome Basin State Park
So back in the day, people used to take photographs with film. And when film started to be available in color, there was a particularly vibrant variety that was branded as “Kodachrome.” This might give you a clue as to what you can expect in Kodachrome Basin State Park. Vibrant, tall spires, known as sedimentary pipes are scattered through out the park. Their red hues contrast brilliantly with the blue of the sky, and the greens of the pine trees. It’s quite the colorful place.
There are several hikes in the park. We suggest the you make the trek to Shakespeare Arch, on the Sentinal Trail. The hike is fairly easy, and is only about three miles roundtrip. Also check out nearby Grosvenor Arch.
Entrance to the park is eight dollars per vehicle. There are several campgrounds available, some with full hook-ups for your RV. There are also a few bunkhouses, in case you aren’t the tenting type. Prices range from $20/night to $105/night depending on the accommodation type you choose.
Palisade State Park
This is by far the most developed of these three state parks. It offers boating, camping, and OHV trails, plus there is a grill and an 18-hole golf course. So it’s a pretty good place to hang out for a weekend. Located in the scenic hills of Sanpete County, Palisade State Park also boasts great scenery and easy access to Six-Mile Canyon. (Which, in case you didn’t know, is a great little canyon to ride and hike in.)
Rentals for paddle boats, kayaks, and canoes are available if you want to play in the lake. (But probably not at this time of year.) There are several campgrounds, some with full hook-ups, cabins with full amenities, and even tent cabins. Prices range from $25 to $100 depending on type and time of year. There is a $10 fee for each entering vehicle.
Of course, there are a lot more state parks than these three. In fact, Utah has 43 state parks in total. So there are plenty to explore, all throughout the state. You can find the complete list here at stateparks.utah.gov.