Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, UT: Cottonwood Narrows

Wander through an ethereal wonderland of Navajo Sandstone on this easy stroll in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
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Wander through an ethereal wonderland of Navajo Sandstone on this easy stroll in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

From the unmarked Cottonwood Canyon trailhead off Road 400 (Cottonwood Canyon Road), head west into a scrub-dotted sandstone canyon. The going is generally easy on this relatively flat 3.2-miler, but you’ll have to maneuver around the remnants of a rockslide early in the hike. After swinging around the right side of the debris, you’ll stroll north as the canyon walls grow increasingly tighter.
Reach an opening in the canyon as the upper trailhead comes into view above the trail to the east. Stay on the main trail here to continue north into the Upper Narrows Extension. Just past the opening, the wash delves into a proper slot canyon as the trail twists through a brilliantly-colored hallway of Navajo Sandstone. Upon reaching the northern terminus of the canyon, turn around to hike back to the upper trailhead and return to your car via the road.
Visit the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Web site for more information on Cottonwood Narrows. 

-Mapped by Charlie Hart

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 5.1

Waypoints

CWN001

Location: 37.389456, -111.849647

The unmarked Cottonwood Narrows Trailhead is situated on the west side of Road 400 (Cottonwood Canyon Road). Head west from the trailhead: you'll reach a register box within 50 yards.

CWN002

Location: 37.389903, -111.852712

Skirt around the remnants of a rockslide.

CWN003

Location: 37.402773, -111.84774

Turn left at Y-junction. Right fork leads to Cottonwood Canyon Road .

CWN004

Location: 37.407149, -111.846973

Turn around to retrace your steps through the slot canyon. At waypoint CWN003, turn left to reconnect with Cottonwood Canyon Road.

CWN005

Location: 37.40299, -111.847268

Reach the upper parking lot at Cottonwood Canyon Road. Head south down the road to begin the the 1.1-mile return trip to the lower parking lot.

Cottonwood Wash: Trailhead

Location: 37.389437, -111.849677

From the trailhead, head west into a hallway of Navajo Sandstone.

Lower Narrows View

Location: 37.39205, -111.853437

Tight Walls

Location: 37.399551, -111.851377

Canyon walls narrow as you push north.

Upper Narrows

Location: 37.405415, -111.847172

The northernmost stretch of trail weaves through a tight-walled slot canyon.

Sandstone Formations

Location: 37.40221, -111.847258

Walk past mind-blowing rock formations while heading south on Cottonwood Canyon Road.