Yellow Rock–Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah

April 23, 2017 – Still continuing my winter travels of 2016/2017.

In my previous post, I started to drive north up Cottonwood Canyon Road, which is located along Hwy 89 between Kanab Utah and Page AZ.

On the morning of the 23rd I slogged up the Paria River to the Paria Box, but in the afternoon I decided to hike to Yellow Rock. I’d wanted to hike to the top of this great big dome since I’d watched the sun set on it from my camp one cold December evening in 2016.

To access Yellow Rock park at the Hackberry Canyon Trailhead along Cottonwood Canyon Road (also a beautiful hike through some narrows and may involve walking in the creek) which is 14.3 miles from US 89, or 31.7 miles from Cannonville, UT.

There are plenty of places close to the trail head where you can camp for the night, so that is also an option if the parking lot is full.

Above – Hackberry Canyon. A wet walk, or a frozen one in winter. This hike can be 1 – 6 miles one-way and takes you through 60-million years of geologic history.

From the Hackberry Canyon parking lot walk down to Cottonwood Creek, but instead of following the trail into Hackberry Canyon, follow the creek south for a short distance to the next box canyon just south of Hackberry Canyon. There wasn’t a clear path to this canyon at the time of this writing so you may have to pick your way through the brush. It’s easier to follow the creek south until you come level with the box canyon, and then cross the creek and walk directly over to it.

Once in the box canyon, look to your right and find the steep trail that goes up the ravine, this will take you to the top of the ravine and eventually the top of the cliffs. It is very steep with lots of loose rock, and it’s a bit like walking on ball bearings. I recommend good footwear for this ascent and decent with good ankle support. When you get to the top of the ravine you can look down into Hackberry Canyon to the north. From here follow the cairned route west around the head of a small valley,  to the point where you will get your first view of Yellow Rock.

A view of Yellow Rock after reaching the very top of the cliffs and following the cairned trail for a short distance

PLEASE, try to stick to the path already created or walk only on slick rock and please, don’t create any additional cairns. So many people are creating cairned trails for their own personal use these days, that I’ve found myself following cairned routes that take me nowhere. All this does is create social trails and before long the area is covered with a mess of trails that are impossible to follow. The secret to following a cairned trail is to walk to the cairn, then stop and look for the next one, and walk to it. Just forging ahead without pausing to find the route causes erosion and gets you lost.

Yellow Rock

Once you reach the base of Yellow Rock, well, you are free to explore. It is incredibly beautiful, and although it might only take half an hour to get to its base, you can easily spend an hour or two exploring this area. However, one thing you might want to take along is a wind jacket, because it sure can get windy on that summit. I could barely stand upright the day I was there.

I hope you have enjoyed this installment of my travels during the winter of 2016/2017, and hope you’ll continue the journey with me. Please visit the HOME page to find more articles, and feel free to share, sign up and leave a comment. Also please visit my YouTube Channel. Until next time…remember to step outside of your comfort zone as often as possible and watch it grow.

Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature


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One response to “Yellow Rock–Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah

  1. Pingback: North Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah | Nomad for Nature·

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