Utah Hike of the Week: Cottonwood Narrows Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Directions • Cottonwood Narrows, in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, is a great, family-friendly hike to tack on to a trip to Bryce Canyon or Kodachrome Basin. The hike is a 20-mile drive from Cannonville.
Stop at the Grand Staircase-Escalante visitor center in Cannonville to check road conditions and weather forecast (this canyon is subject to flash floods). From there, go south on Main Street, which becomes Cottonwood Road south of town. Stay on this road the entire drive. The paved portion of the road ends about 7 miles from the visitor center. Continue south and east, noting the turnoff to Grosvenor Arch 16.5 miles from the visitor center.
Just over 3.5 miles beyond the Grosvenor Arch turnoff, you will see a sign for "Cottonwood Narrows north" and a flat area for parking on the left side of the road. This is where you begin the hike.
You get into the canyon very close to the road. From the parking area, go across the street and follow the footpaths northwest to a little pass between the rocks. Hop down into the river wash. From here, just go west and then south, following the sandy wash through the deep, beautiful narrows. The hike is mostly level to the end of the canyon.
At 1.4 miles, just after the canyon turns back east, you will reach a rockslide. Pick your way over the rocks and back into the wash. At 1.5 miles, the canyon opens up. The south parking area is just above the wash; you will see footpaths on your left leading up to the parking area and road. There is a sign-in box at the parking area. Walk a mile north on scenic Cottonwood Road to get back to your car. Grosvenor Arch makes a nice stop on your drive back to Cannonville. Cottonwood Narrows
Hiking time • 2 hours
Round-trip miles • 2.5
Elevation gain • 225 feet
Difficulty • Easy
Trailhead restrooms • No
Dogs allowed • Yes
Bikes allowed • n/a