Brrrrrr….. the weather forecast said seriously cold. Maybe because it was late April? The campground at Bryce Canyon National Park isn’t open yet … that should have been a clue. Searching for somewhere that might have potential of being in a sheltered valley, warmer than below freezing, we found Kodachrome Basin State Park. At a lower elevation than most surrounding areas, Kodachrome was an ideal base for exploring Scenic Route 12, Burr Trail, Cottonwood Canyon Road, Escalante, the state park itself, as well as Bryce Canyon.
Fabulous choice, but it was still cold. This should have been our first clue….
Did you know that an RV furnace doesn’t work without electricity? Kodachrome’s generator hours are noon to 4 PM. We’re never “home” then, we’re out hiking. So our batteries deteriorated until one morning at 4 AM (and 24 degrees), it occurred to us that we were CHILLY! Turns out the furnace BLOWER won’t run without electricity and when the batteries get below a certain level, the blower won’t turn on … hence the furnace won’t work, even with plenty of propane to heat things up. Grumble. Lessons learned.
The next day we “wasted” half the day staying home so we could run the generator during the assigned hours. But we did explore Kodachrome Basin State Park and hike the trails – which are well worth exploring, especially the “other” arch (not nearly as spectacular as Grosnever Arch a few miles away on Cottonwood Canyon Road, but still worth the short walk).
But the sun warmed it up nicely and we spent the rest of the day (between recharging the batteries with the Honda 2000 generator) hiking in the park.
Nighttimes are alight with dark starry skies and flickering campfires. Playing around the campfire was particularly fun – photos show the fun, but I’ll limit it to a photo because we set up the tripod and took hundreds. The neighbors must have thought we were nuts from the laughter emanating from our campfire.
The campground at Kodachrome Basin is ideally situated and has options for electric or non-electric sites. The electric sites didn’t accommodate an extra tent, so we elected for a non-electric site.
The location is central to doing lots of fun things within a daytrip, thus not having to move campgrounds every few nights. Showers were excellent (tip: the showers on the back side of the group campground site are individual and thus smaller — less space to heat up with steamy water — than the humongous showers in the bathhouse/restrooms closer to the main campground. I tried the closer shower one night and FROZE because there’s no heat in the restrooms. The individual showers – 5 of them, I think – were MUCH MUCH warmer due to the smaller confined space, very private too.
Don’t forget to keep your batteries charged if it’s going to be 24 degrees multiple nights and you want to enjoy a bit of heat from your furnace. I’d say that’s the only negative to this campground – the generator hours being noon to 4 PM. While I understand why they might have those hours, they’re certainly not conducive to a stay allowing us to explore during the day if it’s so cold at night. 🙁
Despite the temps at night, we stayed at Kodachrome a week and could have stayed longer exploring the area. The Cottonwood Canyon Road northern terminus was right outside the park entrance. The hiking in Cottonwood Canyon Narrows was good, the Grosnever Arch was spectacular, Bryce Canyon NP was nearby, Scenic Route 12 was close – including the Escalante Ranger Station for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
We’ll be back and enjoy this fabulous base camp again in the future. So much to explore and so little time! We missed Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Canyons which the park ranger told us as we were leaving, heading to Capitol Reef National Park, were the best hikes in the area. Figures….
Have you enjoyed Kodachrome Basin State Park? What else in the area did we miss … I’m making a list for next time! Please leave a comment and share! Cheers! Jan