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Lower Hackberry Canyon, UT

no permit
61 7 1
Guide 7 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southwest
4 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,800 feet
Elevation Gain 4 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.02
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
4  2014-06-05 AZLOT69
8  2011-05-30 BubbaSue
8  2010-09-14 georgesteel
13  2009-09-14 georgesteel
13  2008-04-27 suzaz
15  2008-04-19 PaleoRob
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 137
Routes 111
Photos 5,253
Trips 942 map ( 2,097 miles )
Age 38 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, May → Early
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:08am - 6:39pm
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Beautiful canyon dayhike
by PaleoRob

Cottonwood Canyon Road, which bisects the western portion of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, is one of the best used and maintained roads in the monument, which really may not be saying much. It is also the base for many of the popular canyon hikes in the western monument, including the Paria Box, Yellow Rock, Castle Rock, Hackberry Canyon, Cottonwood Narrows, and several others that aren't as well known.

Hackberry Canyon is one of the most popular of the Cottonwood Canyon Road hikes, and it is done generally one of two ways. The first is as a dayhike into the lower part of Hackberry Canyon, and the other is as a through-hike up Hackberry Canyon to Round Valley Draw. This description will cover the lower portion of Hackberry.

From the trailhead, 14.4 miles up CCR from US89, hike down to the bottom of Cottonwood Canyon, where Cottonwood Creek is flowing. Cross the creek and follow the trail upstream a bit on the bench. The canyon opens to your left, and the trail drops down into the creek bed. From here there isn't much in the way of a trail, but the route is obvious - just head upcanyon. Your feet will likely get wet as a perennial stream flows through Hackberry Canyon. Generally the stream is only a few inches deep, but can be deeper after spring runoff. Summer monsoon storms can cause flash floods in the canyon, so be extra careful and check the weather before hiking this canyon during the summer.

As you move upcanyon, you are passing through the geologic formation known as The Cockscomb. Here the layers of rock, normally horizontal, have been pushed towards vertical when the Kaibab Monocline was uplifted. Streams already flowing in the area, like the Paria River, cut across the uplifting rocks, while new streams like Hackberry were forced to carve their courses through the softest rock they could find. As you hike upcanyon you are first walking through the Navajo Formation, which is primarily white in color in this area. Further upstream, around 1.75 miles from the trailhead, you start getting into the red Moenave Formation. Most day hikers generally turn around and return to their vehicles after 2 miles or so, but the stream in the canyon is present in the lower 10 miles of the canyon.

Monsoon storms can also turn CCR into a quagmire, so even if you don't get flooded out of Hackberry Canyon, you may not be able to leave the parking area! Make sure to check in with with the visitor's center in Big Water, Utah, on the current road conditions before leaving on this hike.

Another potential danger is quicksand. While generally not a threat to life and limb, it can be a scary experience. If you encounter sand or mud that seems "springy" or notice that the sand appears to flow into footprints and such, make sure you keep moving. If you have to slow down and begin to get stuck, move slowly, don't panic, and increase your surface area on the quicksand by laying down and crawling to dry ground. Generally, however, quicksand in Hackberry is shallow and sporadic, and usually easily avoided.

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2008-04-20 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.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Lower Hackberry Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    We hiked up to the dinosaur tracks in this canyon in early March of this year and decided to come back and see what it was like in September. And boy were we not disappointed with what we saw, Just after where the water starts to appear we saw a large Garter snake but it did not stay for a photo, also further up we saw a Tarantula on a stone in the middle of the water and it was gone by the time we came back down. We had to cut short the hike as the rain was forcast for the afternoon and the dark clouds were starting to gather. We wanted to get down Cottonwood Canyon road while it was still dry, about half way down the road I saw some Pronghorn Antelope. All this wildlife on the first days hiking of our vacation

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Page, drive west on US89 towards Kanab. Stop in Big Water at the GSENM Visitor's Center (signed) and check on road conditions. Then head west on US89, past Church Wells. Turn right on Cottonwood Canyon Road, and drive north 14.4 miles to the parking area on the left hand side of the road, marked with a sign "Trail".
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