Cottonwood Canyon Road is a 46 mile dirt road that goes through the vast central Gand Staircase-Escalante National Monument wilderness. The best starting point is Cannonville, Utah, because this is where the Grand Staircase-Escalante Visitor Center is located and information about the dirt road conditions can be found here. This long bumpy dirt road trek is fatiguing, so is best to do an overnight campout at the midway point near the Cottonwood Narrows, before continuing on to Hackberry Canyon and Highway 89.
Hackberry Canyon is a prime time Grand Staircase-Escalante destination that is perfect for hikers and climbers. Cottonwood Creek actually runs through this narrow solid rock canyon on the way downhill to the Paria River and the water flows all except the driest of years. For those who seek a cool refreshing place to do a hike in this desolate high desert region, the shallow water in this narrow canyon produces an evaporative cooling effect. The natural air conditioning can certainly spell relief on a hot day!
There are upper and lower hiking trailheads at Hackberry Canyon and the signage is easy to spot. There are also several primitive campsites, RV pads and an ATV staging area in this place, so doing an extended stay is certainly an option. There is no potable water to be found anywhere along Cottonwood Canyon Road and for those who use modern filtration kits, it is best to check the quality of the local resources ahead of time. Cattle related pathogens are the primary threat in this region and there are soluble toxic substances to be wary of too.
Hackberry Canyon certainly is a landmark that is well worth checking out and hundreds of other mysterious canyons await to explored along the upheaval reef from the Cottonwood Narrows to this spot. From Hackberry south to Highway 89, the landscape transforms from a geological reef into vast region of rolling hills with volcanic cinder cones and towering buttes. The road follows the Paria River from this point on, so the wildlife viewing is good near Hackberry too. The Grand Staircase-Escalante wilderness beckons to be experienced and Hack Berry Canyon is yet another great destination in this park that most definitely needs to be chalked high on the list!
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