Your Guide to Attractions and Activities on Utah's Scenic Byways

Cottonwood Canyon Road Scenic Backway

What you're in for

Dry-weather road (open all year)
Never suitable for RVs or trailers
Impassable when wet
46 miles (one way)

This Scenic Backway runs for 46 miles traversing southward through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) from Cannonville to Highway 89. The road is paved for 9 miles between Cannonville and the turnoff to Kodachrome Basin State Park. Thereafter, the road is graded dirt with an underlying clay base making it impassable when wet. Inquire about weather and road conditions at the nearby Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Cannonville to be prepared.

The backway provides access to Kodachrome Basin State Park, Grosvenor Arch, the Cottonwood Narrows, and Hackberry Canyon. Grosvenor Arch, located about 10 miles south of Kodachrome Basin and 1 mile east of the backway on a side road, is a superb double arch named in honor of a former National Geographic Society president. A bit less than 5 miles south of the turnoff to Grosvenor Arch is a parking area for accessing the Cottonwood Narrows, an easy 3-mile round-trip hike. Eight miles farther south on the backway is the trailhead for Lower Hackberry Canyon, a moderately easy in-and-out day hike along the canyon floor with gently flowing water, or a moderately difficult route for several days of backpacking depending on how far into the canyon one goes.