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Author Topic: Grand Staircase-Escalante NM  (Read 3501 times)
Scott O.
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« on: September 09, 2012, 04:21:25 PM »
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Headed there later this week. Came across a report from a couple of weeks ago that they have had a bunch of rain and the dirt roads (particularly Cottonwood Canyon, which is/was closed) are a mess. Does anyone know anything about the conditions that I am likely to find?
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Frank Sirona
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2012, 04:39:35 PM »
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Your best guess will be to inquire at the BLM office in Kanab the day before, or in the morning before you go (or not). And take their advice really serious: even if roads are open, they may be absolutely impassable after a rainfall. While the clay dries relatively quickly again (maybe within a day or two) as soon as the sun has come out, as long as it is wet you wonīt be able to drive there, not even with a 4WD. Trying to drive on wet clay roads feel very much like stepping on a piece of soap under the shower. And when it comes to Cottonwood Canyon road, there are at least two spots which can become really dangerous when the road is slippery.
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Frank Sirona. Large format photography of the Desert Southwest.

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Frank Sirona
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2012, 04:48:49 PM »
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One problem with Cottonwood Canyon road is (at least this used to be the case for many years - I donīt have any current information) an ongoing dispute between the BLM and Kane County, who of them would be responsible for maintaining this road. The great solution they came up with was that none of them did any grading, so the road deteriorated badly over the years.
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Frank Sirona. Large format photography of the Desert Southwest.

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NashvilleMike
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2012, 05:32:01 PM »
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I was at the Paria contact station two days ago. Cottonwood Canyon road is closed, and per the lady, "seriously closed". She mentioned a serious washout at mile 8 I believe. Another photographer said the entrance is gated (closed) at hwy 89 although I haven't confirmed this personally. If I remember, I'll take a look on my way over to St. George tomorrow.

Apparently there has been a ton of road damage this summer. The only good news is that House Rock Valley was recently graded (as in, just the other day) and it's status went from "impassable" to HC 2WD and is reportedly pretty decent.

-m
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NashvilleMike
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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2012, 09:15:43 PM »
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An update: Today I drove past Cottonwood Canyon road (on the Hwy 89 side) and there is a sign blocking the right most 1/3 of the dirt road stating "closed by Kane County". I believe if someone wanted to risk it, they could drive by the sign (there's enough space), but given the road apparently is in very serious shape down the road a bit (the words I heard were 'the road is gone'), I wouldn't advise it at all. Given storms were threatening in the area this afternoon as well, I'd consider this road as off limits for now.

-m
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Frank Sirona
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2012, 11:47:57 AM »
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I agree. While, at least to my knowledge (I may be wrong), entering a closed road is not against the law, it will mean that thereīs no liability for anything that might happen to you or your car. And when they say that the road is gone, it may literally be gone - a couple of years ago I saw it washed away for more than 10 feet, leaving a trench with vertical walls 7 or 8 feet deep crossing the road, and without a chance to bypass this spot.
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Frank Sirona. Large format photography of the Desert Southwest.

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Scott O.
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 07:07:56 PM »
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Thanks for all of your help. I checked at the visitor center in Escalante today and all of the roads I need to use are OK, with the exception of Cottonwood Canyon. And that is open from the north at least as far as Grosvener Arch. They had pictures at the visitor center showing what appeared to be a 4' to 5' deep washout. Most roads are drying out rapidly so mud will not be an issue.
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markadams99
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2012, 07:53:12 PM »
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Well, if it opens, it's a lovely drive:



..with interesting side hikes:
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 08:31:30 PM by markadams99 » Logged

kikashi
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2012, 10:57:33 AM »
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Does anyone know what the current state of Cottonwood Canyon Road is, or how I can find out? I was hoping to drive along it next week.

Jeremy
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The Ute
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2012, 11:33:09 AM »
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Call the GSENM office at Big Water.

They'll know.
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Frank Sirona
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2012, 03:24:17 PM »
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Does anyone know what the current state of Cottonwood Canyon Road is, or how I can find out? I was hoping to drive along it next week.

Jeremy

It has been repaired - easy going again.
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Frank Sirona. Large format photography of the Desert Southwest.

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biedron1
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2012, 02:06:32 AM »
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Cottonwood Canyon Road is closed again until sometime in December. The upper part is supposedly open down to Grosvenor Arch.

Bob
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