Cottonwood Wash |

Northern Swell

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

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TICKS & TODOS: 13 Todo Lists / 1 Ticks
RATING: Easy to Moderate depending on route
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
WATER: A few springs in Cottonwood can be filtered if needed.
SEASON: Spring, Fall, Winter (with no snow)
Tue Hi:74 Lo:48 Wed Hi:78 Lo:50 Thu Hi:80 Lo:52 Fri Hi:81 Lo:53 Sat Hi:79 Lo:53
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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.

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