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Cottonwood Canyon: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Cottonwood Canyon at a Glance
Photo Album:
Cottonwood Canyon Pictures
Trail Maps: Cottonwood Canyon Topo Map
Day Hike:
Yes
Distance: 3.5 miles round trip
Average Hiking Time: 2 hours
Equipment: Plenty of water, sturdy hiking shoes, hat
ACA Canyon Rating: IA I
Difficulty: There is one easy initial downclimb that might pose a problem for some, but it can be hiked around.
Permits: Not required. Check the weather report before hiking this trail. Do not hike if it looks like rain
Trailhead: Cottonwood Canyon Road
Trailend: Same as trailhead
Trail Access: Winter road conditions will deter most hikers in the winter months. Cottonwood Canyon road is slippery in the winter and impassible if there is snow or melting snow on the road. It is best to visit the GSENM during the summer and fall.
Off the Beaten Path: Yes
Best Season: Whenever Cottonwood road is accessible.
Hazards: Check weather conditions prior to the hike. Hiking in slot canyons presents a very real danger from flash flooding. Do not hike this trail if it is raining. Remember a storm far off can trigger a flash flood.

Cottonwood Canyon Trailhead - From Mount Carmel Junction, on the east side of Zion Park, drive through Kanab then 32 miles on Highway 89. Look for the turn-off and BLM sign, between mile markers 17 and 18, indicating the entrance into Cottonwood Canyon. The Paria Contact Station is 2.2 miles east of the turnoff. The roads in the GSENM are remote and most of them are dirt and clay. Cottonwood Road, like most of the GSENM roads, is impassible when wet and impossible if there is snow or melting snow present. Always bring a spare tire in the dirt wilderness roads and carry lots of water. Be prepared for emergencies. A high clearance 4WD is nice on this road, but it's not required in normal driving conditions.

To find Cottonwood Narrows or Cottonwood Creek, stay on the main road, ignoring the seldom used side roads. Park 25.5 miles from the turnoff from Highway 89 at the small pullout in a hollow between two passes. Identify the hollow with large multicolored red and white and red rocks on the east side of the road near the parking area.

Locate the trail on the west side of the road and climb down a short 8' scrambling section into the wash. Travel can be done to the right (up canyon) into a .25 mile section of narrows and then back down canyon.

Zion Book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park including the GSENMCottonwood Canyon - The upper narrows are short and very pretty and end just .25 mile up the wash. The lower canyon is wide at first, but narrows as the hike continues. The sandy wash is strewn with boulders large and small and a variety of vegetation is seen up high on the upper reaches and even bright yellow flowers adorn the lower level. Cottonwood trees shade a few spots here and there through the hike, but most of this hike is in full sun. Tall fluted walls offer shade at certain times of the day. Water has polished and crafted the rock putting on a nice show for hikers.

The slot turns at the towering blind arch and leads through one of the oddest structures in the Grand Staircase, the cockscomb. It is hard to see at such a close view, but after returning to your car take note. The trail will detour to the left to avoid the large boulders before it widens and ends at the trail-box. Be sure to watch for the trail of use that leaves the wash and goes to the road. Sign the trail register and hike up to the road. It is about a mile back to your vehicle.

Map: Zion National Park Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona - North Rim Map Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah Lodging: Zion National Park Zion National Park Cedar Breks National Monument, Utah Dixie National Forest: Cedar Mountain Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map GPS Coordinates WGS84 Datum

zion National Park CanyoneeringParking
37°24.130 N
111°50.837 W

GPS coordinates are only references and may or may not be accurate. Do not rely on GPS coordinates as the sole method of navigation. Always have an accurate, detailed map at hand and have the proper map reading and navigation skills before setting out on any hike. Many of the hikes listed in this guide travel into canyons where a GPS has limited capabilities. Always check your position with a detailed map before dropping into a canyon. This slot canyon is located along Cottonwood Road in the GSENM. It will take about two hours to explore the wash and return back to your vehicle via the road.

Directions: East Zion to the
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase Map
Grand Staircase Road Map

From Salt Lake City, travel south on I15 to U-20. Exit on U-20. Turn south on U-89 and follow U-89 to Glendale.

From Las Vegas: Travel I15 to exit 16. Follow U-9 to the south entrance of Zion and through to the east entrance. Take U-9 for 12 miles to Mt. Carmel Jct, where U-89 and U-9 meet. Drive north on U-89 to Glendale. From Glendale, turn right on 300 N. (Bench Road) Follow the graded dirt road, Skutumpah, into the Grand Staircase. Remember the Grand Staircase is a wild and remote place. The dirt roads may be impassible when wet and there is usually no water, services or cell phone access. Skutumpah is a backway and should only be traveled in dry conditions. Call for road and weather information before travel: 435.644.4680

Zion National Park Maps
 
Cottonwood Canyon in the Grand Staircase National Monument

Cottonwood Canyon in the Grand Staircase National Monument

 

Lodging Zion National Park
Lodging Zion National ParkLodging and services are available on the gorgeous east side of Zion National Park, where guests are close to Zion National Park (12 miles), Bryce Canyon National Park (60 miles), Cedar Breaks National Monument (45 miles), Coral Pink Sand Dunes (12 miles), and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (85 miles). It's where city traffic is absent and the skies are bright and clean.

 

Grand Staircase-Escalante Roads - Pristine and remote describes the roadways within the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Highway 89 defines the southern border and Highway 12 accesses the northern side. In addition to Highways 12 and 89, there are 959 miles of open road in the Grand Staircase. Glendale, Utah, located on Highway 89, northeast of Zion National Park, connects the east side of Zion to Bryce Canyon via the Glendale Bench Road and the scenic backway, Skutumpah Road. To the north, Highway 12 connects Tropic and Boulder, Utah. At the southern end of the monument, roads connect Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona. The most popular roads in the Grand Staircase are probably Skutumpah Road accessed either by the Glendale Bench Road, near the east entrance to Zion, or the Johnson Canyon Road near Kanab, both leading to Kodachrome Basin near Bryce Canyon. All interior roads except for portions of the Burr Trail and Johnson Canyon Road are unpaved and may be impassible if wet.

Map Grand Staircase National Monument Southern Utah Backways US Highway 89 Cedar Breaks National Monument Dixie National Forest Dixie National Forest Red Canyon: Dixie National Forest Bryce Canyon National Park Willis Creek:  Grand Staircase National Monument Bull Valley Gorge: Grand Staircase National Monument Lick Wash: Grand Staircase National Monument Paria Movie Set: Grand Staircase National Monument Roads in the Grand Staircase National Monument Roads in the Grand Staircase National Monument Mount Carmel Junction, Utah Visitor Centers: Grand Staircase National Monument Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map

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