Hackberry Canyon: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Hackberry Canyon is a tributary of Cottonwood Creek, which eventually joins the Paria River. The trailhead for Hackberry Canyon is 14 miles up the Cottonwood Road, north of Highway 89, in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This charming hike up a narrow slot canyon is reminiscent of many of the slot canyons that make Southern Utah famous for its slot canyon hiking. What sets this hike apart from some of the other slot canyon hikes is its remote setting and the refreshing gentle flow of spring water in the sandy canyon floor. This is a fun hike, welcoming the unseasoned hiker, yet offering a true wilderness experience.
Photo Album: Hackberry Canyon Photos
To locate Cottonwood Road, drive south from Mount Carmel Junction, 17 miles to Kanab. From Kanab, drive east on Highway 89 toward Page. After crossing over the Paria River, the BLM Paria Contact and Information Center will soon be passed on the right. It is a 3 mile drive from the station to Cottonwood Road. Cottonwood Road is on the north (left) side of Highway 89 and marked by signage.
Set your trip meter as soon as you turn onto Cottonwood Road. It is 14.4 miles to the parking area for Hackberry Wash. There is no sign, but look for a small dirt turn-off on the left side of the road. The drive up Cottonwood Road may be quite washboarded. Cottonwood Road is impassible if wet.
From the parking area walk to the west and immediately drop into the wash below. Locate the cairned path through the willows to the west. Soon Hackberry Canyon is entered after walking .25 miles to the west. The walls begin to rise as the canyon narrows. Trying to keep shoes dry is a futile effort if the water is flowing. Walking in the sandy creek becomes easiest and quite refreshing. After .75 miles a large rock tower becomes quite the impressive landmark. The narrows are about 1.25 miles in length before the canyon walls separate and expose an ever widening valley.
Continuing another .75 mile looking on the left bank, just above the wash floor, for a wide bench with a few scattered boulders. This is where the dinosaur tracks are found. The boulder is fairly small (3' wide x 5' long and 2' high) but contains possibly 8 or more obvious Grallator (dinosaur) tracks. This is a good area to have lunch and take a break for the hike back.
Hackberry Canyon Parking
Tall Stone Pillar
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.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument - UTAH!
History of the Thunderbird
Stay in the heart of the parks, Mount Carmel Junction, and visit the treasures of the Southwest and Utah.
This is my new favorite quote:
"I don't know who Tanya Milligan is, but I mean www.zionnational-park.com
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park