Panorama TrailKodachrome Basin State Park, Ut
Historical Sites, Amazing Views, and Towering Spires
Length: 3 – 7.2 mi
Elevation Gain: 574 ft
Approximate Hiking Time: 2 – 6 hr
Features: Geological Features
Nearest Town: Cannonville, Ut
Panorama Trail is one of the best trails in Kodachrome Basin State Park. It is a mixed-use trail with plenty of fun (and interesting) stops along the way.
There are two loops to choose from depending on how long and how far you want to hike. The shorter loop is still packed with amazing features so you really can’t go wrong.
- Trail Condition 80% 80%
- Usage 75% 75%
- Trail Head Easy to Find 100% 100%
- Kid Friendly 60% 60%
1. Indian Cave
Hand prints dot the rock at the Indian Cave viewpoint. How did they get here? Why are they here?
2. Spires and Geological Features
Geological features abound this hike. Spires, a box canyon, rock formations, slick rock, and hoodoos can all be seen.
3. Big Views
The hike is named Panorama Trail after all. Take the short side trail to Panorama Point and you will not be disappointed.
Enter Kodachrome Basin State Park located near Cannonville, Ut. Note that state park fees apply for this trail.
From the Visitor Center drive to the trailhead parking area for both the Panorama Trail and Grand Parade Trails. Check out the information sign in the parking area before crossing the road to the trailhead.
Overall the trail is quite flat with only small inclines and declines. As you walk along the trail to the first loop, check out the spire right at the start of the loop. Does it look like a person carved in the rock?
In the early morning, heading right at the fork will maximize time in the shade as the sun is blocked by the walls.
Turning right at the fork continue to follow the trail, which is very wide and well defined. There are many social paths along the trail. No idea where they go, but I can see how it would be easy to get lost and frustrated by following these. Stay on the path!
Indian Cave is 0.6 miles from the trailhead.
It is a cave slightly off the trail with rows of handprints adorning the sandstone around and in the cave. Each hand sliding down the rock removes a little more of the stone, making the prints a little deeper. Tread carefully.
Another 0.2 miles from Indian Cave you’ll see the ballerina spire rising from the ground like a giant ballerina twirling in dance.
The next stop is the Hat Shop. Arguably the kids were most excited about this one, mostly because they thought it was an actual shop. Anyways, it was really hard to imagine a bunch of hats. Perhaps some of the spires look like top hats? Continuing down the trail from the Hat Shop you’ll reach another intersection for the Secret Passage Loop.
This side loop is only about 0.3 miles long and heads over some slick rock to a short “slot canyon” or the Secret Passage. There are several fun rock features along the slick rock which makes it a great side trail for kids. It’s not as well marked as the main trail, but still clear compared to the random social trails.
From the Secret Passage Loop return back to the main Panorama Trail and continue walking. As you continue, you’ll pass yet another trail junction. If completing the short loop follow the signs back to the trailhead, about a 3 mile hike overall.
To complete the entire loop, follow the signs to Cool Cave which will be about a 6 mile hike overall. The trail to Cool Cave starts with a set of switchbacks down to a wash with some really fascinating geologies. The clay in the soil makes the landscape look “drippy” through this part of the hike. Pretty weird.
Snaking through the west section of Kodachrome Basin, the trail eventually reaches a box canyon called Cool Cave. And dang is it cool, both literally and figuratively. Along the main trail follow the signs to take the trail spur to Cool Cave.
The trail spur leads towards the canyon walls through the towering red rock and leaving the openness of the main trail behind.
Cave like in its appearance, it’s easy to see how Cool Cave got it’s name. Cool Cave is mostly protected from the sun providing some reprieve and a great place for a break and a snack. A short easy climb gets you from the trail into the cave itself.
From Cool Cave return to the main trail via a loop running through various washes along the canyon walls. Here you can clearly see the different deposits of rock layers throughout the canyon.
Once back to the main trail continue to the Panorama Viewpoint side trail. There is a photography point on the way back on a small side trail that gives a southerly view of the park. After taking this one for a distance we returned to the main trail as it seemed to turn into social trail. Keep to the main trail and follow the signs to Panorama Point, it will save time in back tracking…
Panorama Viewpoint side trail is an additional 0.5 miles out and back from the main trail. It is the steepest part of the trail, but is still easy to complete with a consistent grade to the viewpoint.
From Panorama Point, Bryce Canyon can be see on the westerly horizon, the west side of Kodachrome Basin, and the peaks of Escalante to the south east.
From the Panorama Viewpoint return to the main trail and complete the loop through a meadow. Watch for lizards, jack rabbits, and birds in this area during the day.
Completing all the loops and exploring all the spur trails and viewpoints will be about 7.2 miles.
If hiking in the summer, bring plenty of water and snacks to protect against dehydration. Try to hike early in the morning to escape the hottest part of the day. By mid day there is a lot of exposure on this trail.
If hiking with kids, consider completing the shorter loop which is about 3 miles long or complete the hike to the secret passage as an out and back for 2 miles rather than completing the loops.
Why is this hike rated moderate/hard?
While the trial is relatively flat and really doesn’t have much in the way of drop-offs, it is a long hike if completing the long loop.
Summer heat and walking in the sandy wash to Cool Cave can make it feel especially long.
More Hikes to Choose From
Check out this and more hikes in and around Kodachrome Basin State Park and Cannonville, Ut.
Length: 0.2 mi
Elevation Gain: 23 ft
Grosvenor Arch is an incredible, towering arch inside Escalante National Monument. A short and sweet walk brings you to this towering marvel.