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Yellow Rock: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

This relatively short hike, just west of the Cottonwood Road in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, takes one to the top of a massive multicolored, swirling sandstone monolith. Although the summit of the "dome" is not towering above all others in the region, it nonetheless affords vistas for many miles that wet the palate and reward the eye with wonder! Even though the trek is a relatively short distance, the going requires some steep scrambling and is fairly strenuous. On the summit of Yellow Rock, topography unfolds to the north with Hackberry Wash just below, and beyond Castle Rocks vertical walls tower in the distance. The Paria River Gorge indents the plateau to the west and south, and the Cockscomb rises in the east. The hike is located north of Highway 89 on the Cottonwood Road in the GSENM.

Yellow Rock at the Grand Staircase National MonumentYellow Rock at a Glance
Photo Album:
Yellow Rock Photos
Topo Map:
Yellow Rock Map
Day Hike:
Yes
Distance:
2.5 Miles Round Trip
Average Hiking Time:
3 hours
Equipment:
Sticky rubber shoes are a must. Route finding skills are required. Be sure to take plenty of water for each person and energy snacks for the trip.
Difficulty:
Strenuous uphill hiking. There are sections of scrambling on a steep dirt hill with loose scree. This hike gains and loses considerable elevation.
Permits:
Not required.
Trailhead:
Hackberry/Yellow Rock Trailhead on Cottonwood Road in the GSENM.
Trailend:
Same as Trailhead
Trail Access:
Do not travel Cottonwood Road when it is wet. If there is melting snow it is particularly difficult travel.
Off the Beaten Path:
Yes
Best Season:
Summer, fall and late spring are best but this hike can be done year-round as long as Cottonwood Road is dry. It is possible you will get your feet wet when stream crossing at the start of the hike, so be prepared in the winter.
Elevation Loss:
750'
Elevation Gain:
750'

Getting to Cottonwood Road - 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, soon the BLM Paria Contact and Information Center will be passed on the right. It is a short 3 mile drive from the station until Cottonwood Road is encountered on the north (left) of Highway 89. The road is marked and easy to find if you are looking for it.

Cottonwood Road - Turn onto Cottonwood Road and set the trip meter. It is 14.4 miles to the unmarked parking area for Hackberry Wash. The parking is on the left side of the road. The drive up Cottonwood Road can be quite washboarded at times and other times it's a smooth dirt road. Look for the obvious left hand turn leading to a large parking area and the metal "podium style" register box. This is the trailhead for Hackberry Wash and Yellow Rock.

Yellow Rock Trail - Sign in at the trail register and then locate the beaten path. Following the trail 15 yards to the west, down into Cottonwood Wash and cross to the west side. An obvious trail continues west, to the mouth of Hackberry Canyon Narrows, but it will be necessary to deviate from this trail and walk downstream in Cottonwood Wash for approximately 300-400 yards. Look for another wash entering from the steep terrain to the west.

Zion Book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park including the GSENMScree Slope - Once this wash is located, begin hiking up this side canyon and look for the path of use. After 100 yards, the trail leading west up this side canyon will turn right and lead north up a very steep, seemingly impossible scree and talus slope. By following the short switchbacks for .25 mile, a ridge is soon attained. Continue up the ridge for another 100 yards to a saddle that separates Hackberry Wash to the north and the small side canyon that was just ascended from, to the south. From the saddle, travel now begins up the ridge to the west, past a few jagged rock formations (hoodoos), through some slickrock fields and sand-dunes.

Yellow Rock - Soon the path arrives at the massive yellow slickrock dome known as Yellow Rock. The easiest path to follow to the summit of Yellow Rock lays directly in front. There is not a formal trail to the summit, but by traversing back and forth (switchbacks), it is relatively easy to arrive at the summit without too much physical effort. On top of Yellow Rock, all of the effort expended is rewarded with magnificent views in all directions! Be sure to relax, take photos, have a snack and then prepare for the downhill hike back to the trailhead.

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 CanyoneeringTrailhead:
37°15.389 N
111°54.568 W
Elevation 4770'

Side Canyon and
Beginning of Ascent:
37°15.240 N
111°54.789 W
Elevation 4750'

Summit of Yellow Rock:
37°15.540 N
111°55.410 W
Elevation 5500'

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.

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
 
Yellow Rock of the Grand Staircase National Monument

Bo Beck hiking Yellow Rock 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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