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Cat Stair Canyon - Car Wash, UT

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drive
no permit
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80 8 0
Guide 8 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southwest
Rated
3.3
3.3 of 5 by 4
 
0
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Canyoneering
Consensus
View 1
Grade1
WaterA
Risk
Time
Statistics
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 0.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,722 feet
Elevation Gain 63 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 0.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 0.82
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Historic, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
13  2017-05-14 Steph_and_Blake
12  2017-05-05 cw50must
7  2016-10-03 RickVincent
4  2011-05-12 ToadOfTheRocks
11  2010-12-31 PaleoRob
20  2009-01-18 PaleoRob
13  2008-01-13 PaleoRob
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Sep, Oct → Any
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  7:30am - 5:11pm
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Route Scout App
1321followactivity
Official Route
 
0 Linked
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Long Canyon - West Clark Bench
3.4 mi away
1.5 mi
94 ft
Buckskin Gulch TH to Wire Pass
Buckskin Gulch TH to Wire Pass
4.6 mi away
4.4 mi
Paria Canyon
Paria Canyon
5.2 mi away
38.0 mi
Paria River Rimrock Toadstools
Paria River Rimrock Toadstools
5.4 mi away
3.9 mi
500 ft
Middle Route Trailhead to Cobra Arch
Middle Route Trailhead to Cobra Arch
6.2 mi away
6.6 mi
300 ft
Cottonwood Canyon
Cottonwood Canyon
6.7 mi away
47.0 mi
Paria Movie Road
Paria Movie Road
7.7 mi away
3.4 mi
87 ft
Coyote Buttes North - Wire Pass TH
Coyote Buttes North - Wire Pass TH
8.1 mi away
6.0 mi
1,136 ft
Buckskin Gulch - Wire Pass to Paria River
Buckskin Gulch - Wire Pass to Paria River
8.1 mi away
28.4 mi
314 ft
Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch
8.1 mi away
3.4 mi
183 ft
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Culture Nearby
Corvair Sandstone
by PaleoRob

I don't know if this little slot canyon has an actual name, but due to certain characteristics of the hike, my brother-in-law and myself began calling it Car Wash.

I'd always been interested in this little slot to the south of US89. Every time I drive between Page and Kanab I look down while crossing the Cockscomb, and to the south a narrow slot beckons, just off the highway. Finally my brother-in-law were out hiking at the Toadstools, just on the other side of the Paria River, and we decided to jot over to the canyon to check it out. The hike doesn't really follow an established trail. There is a parking area, and from that point there are usually some footprints to follow down into the wash bottom. The hike is also pretty simple. Basically you follow the wash bottom down canyon. The wash bottom can be muddy, especially after rain or snow, and this certainly isn't the place to be caught during a summer monsoon. The possibility for a flash flood is high.


Meandering around a few rock spines, the wash bottom is flat until it reaches a point just below the highway. Here it drops steeply, beginning to slot up. During the construction of US89 fins of rock were blasted away by dynamite to allow the highway to pass. This same process was used to reroute small streams that flowed through the area. The first part of the slot is man-made, a byproduct of the highway construction. Stay on the right hand side or in the wash, the drop is not so serious it cannot be negotiated.

After dropping to the bottom of the first drop, you come to the section that gave Car Wash its name. Some roads in Utah, specifically up on the Skutumpah Road, are well known for crossing canyons built on crashed cars. The construction of US89 took it to a new level, with about a dozen cars piled on the old wash bottom with rock dumped on top to form the road bed. There are Impalas, Bel-Airs, a Lincoln Continental with suicide doors, and even a Corvair, along with many more we couldn't identify. This is pretty strange and neat. Kind of surreal to encounter out in the desert, unexpected. Some of the cars even have their license plates left on them - the latest date I saw was 1970.

Going past the cars, the canyon deepens and narrows. Some scrambling around boulders and over pourovers is required to negotiate this section. This part of the canyon is naturally made, and some of the rock formations are quite beautiful.

At the end of the boulder falls there is a large chockstone, undercut, with its top about 10 feet above the canyon floor below it. Without some gear (or a ladder) this is the end of the road. Enjoy the view, and return to your car the way you came.

PaleoRob
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    From Page, take US89 towards Kanab. After crossing the Paria river, you will begin to climb the Cockscomb anticline. Stay in the left hand lane. Watch for mile marker 24. On the left hand side (south), almost to MM25, there will be a paved turn off onto a dirt road. This road leads around a sandstone spire to a broad dirt parking area. Park here and begin your hike, heading down into the wash bottom.
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