The Cottonwood Trail from the Cottonwood Trailhead to Heath Wash travels through spectacular red cliffs formations with many side canyons for endless exploring enjoyment. The Canyon is wide with high hills on both sides.
Overall rating = moderate
Distance: 5.7 miles return – moderate
Elevation gain: 300 feet but many ups and downs along the side – moderate
Terrain: Sand and rocky trail with rocky crossings of the wash – moderate
Exposure: none – easy
To see the trail rating system used here see Trail Rating System
From Interstate I15 take exit 16 to State Road 9 east towards Hurricane. Turn left at the first set of traffic lights – Old Hwy 91, 6300W, 0.9 miles from the interstate. Take Old Hwy 91 through the industrial park 2 miles and turn left on the gravel road between the Winkel Distributers building and the Rocky Mountain Power building. This gravel road takes you under I15 to the Cottonwood Parking Lot.
For a one page printout of the directions to this trail click Directions to the Cottonwood Canyon Trail
The trail leaves the Cottonwood parking lot and crosses the Harrisburg flats 0.57 miles to the junction of the Prospector Trail. Take the right branch and follow this trail about 500 feet to the junction of the Prospector Trail on the right and the Cottonwood Canyon Trail on the left. Take the Cottonwood Trail down the hill to the Cottonwood Wash and along the left side of the wash a total of about 1000 feet to the Red Reef Trail sign.
Continue straight ahead along the Cottonwood Canyon Trail for about 2 miles to Heath Wash.
The easiest way up the canyon is to follow the horse trail which crosses back and forth across the wash and over a number of sandy peninsulas. The alternative is to follow the wash but this is very difficult with a lot of rock climbing.
About 1 mile up the canyon a significant wash enters the main canyon but this is not the Heath Wash.
About ½ mile from the Heath Wash, the canyon walls become higher and closer to the wash.