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Kodachrome Basin to 89 on the back road?

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Kansas City...
posts: 25
Kodachrome Basin to 89 on the back road?

We're heading from Bryce to GC South via Page in mid-October. I'm interested in any feedback about the road condition and scenery on the unpaved road from the south side of Kodachrome Basin to 89 just west of Big Water. Since we're heading in that direction anyway, that looked interesting to get off the highways for a bit. We'll be in an SUV.

9 replies to this topic
Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 1,263
reviews: 18
1. Re: Kodachrome Basin to 89 on the back road?

Greetings Judge Crader,

Here is a link for Cottonwood. In Mid-October, in an SUV, you should be fine. Just don't go if it's raining and check your rental agreement about dirt roads, if you are in a rental.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cottonwood_Canyon_Road

Some areas to check out would be Willis Slot Canyon and maybe Bull Valley Gorge, Grovenor Arch, etc.

Also keep in mind, that though it looks like a short cut, it's a dirt road and you will be traveling slower than a paved road.

Edited: 4:55 pm, September 02, 2013
Kansas City...
posts: 25
2. Re: Kodachrome Basin to 89 on the back road?

Hey, Shake, thanks for the quick reply.

Point well taken on the short cut. They're rarely shorter, but the scenery might be more interesting. And weather is always something to be taken seriously. Thanks for the Wikipedia link; I couldn't find the name of the road on the state highway map, or online, and that helps greatly. Thanks!

Keith

Steamboat Springs...
posts: 1,779
reviews: 19
3. Re: Kodachrome Basin to 89 on the back road?

I would definitely check with the BLM on current road conditions for the Cottonwood rd. This road goes thru many phases. A couple of springs ago, they had a really nice grade on it. Best conditions ever. But..... I really don't know how often they work it these days. Also.... Every time it rains, and someone drives it, they will usually leave large ruts and brutal washboard. Flash floods have taken out sections that may take them months to repair, making the full route impassable.

So... check with BLM before you take this road. It has some great stuff on it if conditions allow.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 1,263
reviews: 18
4. Re: Kodachrome Basin to 89 on the back road?

Very true, thanks Powerglut... and there has been a very significant amount of rain in the area in the last 10 days. The road can be closed if conditions are bad enough or portions have been washed out.

Salt Lake City, UT
posts: 889
reviews: 9
5. Re: Kodachrome Basin to 89 on the back road?

There are lots of prior threads on this topic to search for info. But, of course, conditions change regularly. The last time I was down that way, in spring 2012, the road was closed about midway due to a landslide.

Willis Creek and Bull Valley Gorge are great suggestions, but note that they are actually on the Skutumpah Rd, not the Cottonwood Wash Road.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
posts: 38,274
reviews: 119
6. Re: Kodachrome Basin to 89 on the back road?

With all of the recent rains and washouts and floods, I'd be very cautious about taking Cottonwood Road.

Kansas City...
posts: 25
7. Re: Kodachrome Basin to 89 on the back road?

Thanks. I found the August 25th GSENM road report. they were reporting Cottonwood to be impassable due to washouts.

Keith

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
posts: 38,274
reviews: 119
8. Re: Kodachrome Basin to 89 on the back road?

Not surprising. Driving home tonight in Sedona we looked at the northern horizon. Beautiful panorama with five different heavy squalls broken up by equally spaced patches of sunshine. Just an indication of how many monsoonal storms are out there these days.

Chicago
Destination Expert
for Pompano Beach
posts: 2,849
reviews: 60
9. Re: Kodachrome Basin to 89 on the back road?

I've done it and would not do it again. We drove it in June (pre-monsoon) many years ago in a sedan after getting all clears from the locals. Even the scenery is not that spectacular to make it worth the risk. We drove for as much as an hour without seeing another vehicle and had no cell service. We were lucky and the roads were fantastic.

That said, if you want to spend the time and the locals say the road is good immediately south of Kodachrome, the views early on are good. I would then turn around and return to Page via Bryce on paved roads.

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