Cottonwood Canyon Road

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View when entering Cottonwood Canyon from the south after passing over higher elevations from US-89. The road follows the Paria River for the first several miles then continues to the north along the eroded East Kaibab Monocline adjacent to the steeply dipping rocks known as the Cockscomb.
Along the monocline - view south at a terrain transition point where the south portion of the road shifts from the major valley to an adjacent and parallel minor valley
View north at the same location with the colorful rocks of the Coxcomb on the right
Grosvenor Arch

Cottonwood Canyon Road (also known as Road 400, Cottonwood Canyons Scenic Backway[1] and K7000[2]) is a scenic 46-mile (74 km)[1] or 47-mile (76 km)[3] dirt road that traverses Cottonwood Canyon in Kane County, Utah. The drive begins in Cannonville, just off Utah State Route 12, continues southward through Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, and eventually connects to U.S. Route 89.[1]

The road was originally constructed as a maintenance road for power lines following the canyon.[4] The drive takes roughly two hours without stops.[5] There are visitor centers in Cannonville in the north, and in Big Water near the southern terminus.[3]

Scenic attractions include Navajo Sandstone walls, Grosvenor Arch, and Kodachrome Basin State Park.[3] The road allows access to hiking trails, such as Cottonwood Wash Narrows, Yellow Rock, Hackberry Canyon, and Cottonwood Canyon Narrows.[5]

Road Condition[edit]

The road is mostly an unpaved, except for nine miles between Cannonville and Kodachrome Basin State Park.[1] It's considered impassable in wet weather year-round.[3]

Many sections of the road traverse ancient seabed deposits of mudstone, silt, and shale. When wet, the clay surface becomes exceptionally slick and even four wheel drive can be rendered useless. Additionally, many drainages cross the road in various locations, and these may wash out during periodic flash flooding, particularly during summer thunderstorms. Even in dry weather, the road can be muddy to the point of being impassable in low areas.[4]


The southern terminus is at the junction with US-89 in Kane County: 37°06′18″N 111°50′49″W / 37.10500°N 111.84694°W / 37.10500; -111.84694. The northern terminus is at Kane County line near Cannonville, where it becomes Kodachrome Road: 37°32′08″N 112°03′04″W / 37.53556°N 112.05111°W / 37.53556; -112.05111.


  1. ^ a b c d "Cottonwood Canyons Scenic Backway". US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  2. ^ Google (29 August 2023). "K700, Cottonwood Canyon Road" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d "Cottonwood Canyon Road". Utah Office of Tourism. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Cottonwood Canyon Road in UT: adventure and beauty, not for everyone". Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  5. ^ a b "What's it Like to Drive Cottonwood Canyon Road?". Earth Trekkers. 27 August 2023. Retrieved 29 August 2023.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Cottonwood Canyon Road at Wikimedia Commons
  • Actual road conditions of 23 backroads at GSENM including CCR. Abstract in German, complete version as pdf in English
Overlooking the area near Kodachrome Basin State Park