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Oct 26, 2011

Cottonwood Wash Slot Canyon, Capitol Reef

This hike was one that we tried before in the spring and couldn't make very far because of the large amounts of water that hide in the bottom of the canyon. This time we figured it would be drier, and it was, but just enough to allow us past our previous sticking point.
Travel under this
bouldler, fun!
This canyon is rugged and takes a lot of work to negotiate once it tightens up. There are a number of boulder crawls that require effort and skill to get past. Although our hike was short, we felt like we accomplished a lot, but we were let down that we couldn't continue further up the wash. The water was just too cold, and the canyon too tight to chance getting too far in without a wet suit, warmer water, and/or someone that had been through there before. It may be a while before we attempt this one again, and it may have to be a mid summer hike. On the map below, you will see where the turn off to the trail is from the main "notom bullfrog road". We parked shortly after turning off at the green arrow, but we soon realized that further travel would have been possible in our vehicle. There seems to be nothing stopping vehicle travel until you reach the yellow pin marker. With young kids, a lot of gear, or otherwise, it may be prudent to drive the extra mile, although some parts will be slow going. Route finding is easy if you follow the few points listed below the map. Click the "Directions" link below to get directions from your location to the turn off. Notice that the line stops where we stopped(see pic on map), but you may continue onward up the wash.

View Cottonwood Wash in google maps
 Download GPX FILE for navigation.

GPS Points of interest:
CW 1: 38.165259,-111.088783 Turn off from Road
CW 2: 38.165681,-111.104071 Side Canyon, Stay Left
CW 3: 38.159839,-111.113003 Side Canyon, Stay Right
CW 4: 38.151378,-111.128431 40 Foot Dryfall, turnaround point for most.

Here's where we had to turn around. This water was bitter cold!! and DEEP.

This was interesting..looking down the
hole we need to descend. 
Diving into the cold! No room for whimps...
unless your under 12 apparantly...

This is the section that stopped us the first time! It was 2 feet deeper before...I
figured I was already numbed after getting in the first time, I crossed a total of 16 times! 


  1. Whoa dude, that looks cold!

  2. Could you breathe in that could water? I can almost hear you gasping for air in frigid cold water!

  3. :D just barely! I actually yelled "cold and deep!" To keep the blood pumping. The water at the end..where we turned around was just enough colder where i didn't think i could actually take it. I tested way So cold!..and i didn't know where it ended..spooky.