Cottonwood Wash | Northern Swell

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

Northern Swell

Overview

RATING: Easy to Moderate depending on route

Fri

A chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 96. North northwest wind around 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

96 | 71

Sat

A chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 97. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

97 | 71

Sun

A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Sunny, with a high near 95.

95 | 71

Mon

A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Sunny, with a high near 94.

94 | 70

Tue

A chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 95.

95 | 70

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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.

Fri

A chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 96. North northwest wind around 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

96 | 71

Sat

A chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 97. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

97 | 71

Sun

A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Sunny, with a high near 95.

95 | 71

Mon

A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Sunny, with a high near 94.

94 | 70

Tue

A chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 95.

95 | 70

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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