Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

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Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell


The Cottonwood Wash is positioned in the heart of the San Rafael Swell, which provides two arches and quite a few petroglyphs to view. It is a quite simple hike, as the canyon is flat. The hardest aspect is walking up a 100 ft section of trail major to the petroglyphs. That getting stated, this is a terrific canyon to discover with youngsters. The most effective time to check out is early Spring and late Fall when the day time temps remain beneath 70F – in October the Cottonwoods had been bursting in yellow! 





Bring plenty of water year-round, as you and the dogs can nonetheless get dehydrated and thirsty. The hardest aspect about exploring this location? The drive down the Cottonwood Wash Road. It is an eight mile drive down a “Jeep Road” that will take you close to an hour to attain the actual trailhead, due to how slow you will want to drive along the road. This road is NOT appropriate for smaller vehicles – make positive you only take SUVs or bigger and with some clearance. 





Browsing for petroglyphs is entertaining – but please never touch! These are quite fragile pieces left from ancient Indians that have lasted more than 800 years. Let’s retain our history alive!





Right here is a driving map to the Cottonwood Wash cutoff road by way of Castle Dale, Utah. Previous this, Google does not realize how to attain the TH. Drive 30 miles along the Green River cutoff Road. You will come to a four-way intersection. The greater road appears like the 1 additional to the East, but as an alternative take the 1 extra to the West, marked by a brown sign that says “Old Spanish Trail – Route” (see photographs beneath). Turn suitable right here and reset your odometer. At two.four miles drive past the Huge Hole Wash sign. At eight.three miles turn suitable at the smaller sign for Cottonwood Canyon, then pass a bigger extra official sign for Cottonwood Canyon. At eight.eight miles attain the finish of the road, exactly where the trail starts. Our Nissan Pathfinder (4×4) produced it with no difficulties except for some bumper scrapes. I would not try this road with something significantly less than an SUV.





Distance: two miles RT

Elevation obtain: 250 ft

Time: 1 hour

Dog friendly? Yes, off leash

Kid friendly? Yes!

Costs/Permits? None

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Make positive you turn down this route for Cottonwood Wash Road (not the extra Eastern route). Reset your odometer.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

At two.three miles pass Huge Hole Wash.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Go by way of the gate, creating positive to close it immediately after.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

At eight.three miles turn suitable for Cottonwood Canyon.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Pass 1 extra sign.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

At the finish of the road is a massive turn about, fire pit, and the trailhead.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Drop down the wash and start out hiking up the canyon, West.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Truly cool “huecos” in the wall. Huecos are depressions in a wall exactly where the rock layer was weak, and sooner or later collapsed, leaving what appears like holes in a wall.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Stroll up the wash about 500 ft. I’ utilised my 30L LITE Waymark Gear Co pack and it worked terrific for a quick hike! Get 10% off your pack order applying the code “GOAH19” more than at WaymarkGearCo.com

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Right after 500 ft or so, hike up what appears like a ramp major to the cliff base.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Right here you will locate quite a few petroglyphs.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Seeking West into the canyon.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Truly cool petroglyphs!

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

1881 was a large year for Pioneers as they produced their way West.
Do you feel the sheep are getting led, or getting killed for meals?

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

The dogs had been fairly delighted to locate clean water to cool off in, even although it wasn’t even 60F!

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Exploring new terrain with my child.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Can you spot Cottonwood Wash Arch?

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

At 1st we missed the subsequent set of petroglyphs and kept hiking – this rock formation reminded me of a fortress.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Totally dry wash in October.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

Not that hot (55-60F), however the dogs had been thirsty!

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

We hiked a total of 1 mile down Cottonwood Wash and did not spot something else so we turned about.

Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell

On the way back we lastly saw the other set of petroglyphs (not all are pictured).

See extra of what we did on this trip in addition to the Cottonwood Wash Trail!





The 6 Best Trails in the San Rafael Swell, best hikes San Rafael Swell

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Hiking the Cottonwood Wash Trail, San Rafael Swell



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