Cottonwood Wash |

Northern Swell

Hiking Cottonwood Wash - Northern SwellRoadside Attraction Cottonwood Wash - Northern Swell Hiking Cottonwood Wash
Northern Swell

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview

RATING: Easy to Moderate depending on route

Sun

57 | 36

Mon

61 | 33

Tue

64 | 35

Wed

65 | 39

Thu

58 | 35

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SEASON: Spring, Fall, Winter (with no snow)
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
WATER: A few springs in Cottonwood can be filtered if needed.

Sun

57 | 36

Mon

61 | 33

Tue

64 | 35

Wed

65 | 39

Thu

58 | 35

View Full Weather Details
More petroglyphs

More petroglyphs

This is one of the hidden gems of the northern San Rafael Swell I had somehow overlooked. There are a couple of ways to visit Cottonwood Wash. The first is a very short hike up from the trailhead to visit the petroglyph and pictograph panels. This will take less than an hour and is approachable by pretty much all. Highly recommended for all, including families. The panels are very good, and there is excellent primitive camping at the trailhead.

Got more time and energy? Wandering up Cottonwood Wash as far as energy and interest allow makes for a great day hike. The canyon is deep, with pretty walls and good scenery.

Still not enough for you? A final recommendation can be done as either a long day hike, or moderate backpack, and goes up Cottonwood, escapes near the top, and meanders down the reef back to the trailhead. Water will be a problem on the second half of this hike, and it requires moderate navigation. If backpacking, be sure to fill up before leaving the top of Cottonwood. I would strongly recommend the loop for those that are capable. It is long and tiring, but offer a great mix of canyon hiking mixed with wide open, big views of the surrounding area.
Big views of domes on the loop hike

Big views of domes on the loop hike

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