Cottonwood Canyon

Utah Scenic Backway

Cottonwood Canyon Scenic Backway

Cottonwood Canyon offers the opportunity to get deeper into the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument’s rugged landscape. Cottonwood Canyon Road winds 47 miles, starting near Cannonville on Scenic Byway 12 and ends on Highway 89 near milepost 18. Some travelers utilize this rough dirt road as a shortcut between Bryce Canyon National Park and Lake Powell, but this route takes time to enjoy the slower pace of dirt-road travel and to experience Cottonwood Canyon’s natural rough-rock attractions.

This route is is paved from the town of Cannonville to Kodachrome Basin State Park, but from that point this unpaved back-country road cuts east toward Grosvenor Arch and then southeast through Cottonwood Canyon, at times following the curves of the Paria River. Start your adventure at either end of the road, but starting from the north gives you access to the BLM in Cannonville where you can learn more about the route and current weather conditions.


Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park is named for Kodak’s camera film that was widely utilized until the creation of digital photography.

Grosvenor Arch, a massive, natural double arch spanning more than 60 feet.

The Cottonwood Canyon Road is unpaved and can be impassable when wet, and is steep and narrow in sections. While a passenger car may be able to make the 47-mile trip, under ideal conditions, a higher clearance vehicle is recommended. Bring a full tank of gas, plenty of food, water, and safety supplies, and enjoy this route through Cottonwood Canyon.

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