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Cottonwood Point Wilderness

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Photograph taken in  the Cottonwood Point Wilderness

Introduction

The United States Congress designated the Cottonwood Point Wilderness (map) in 1984 and it now has a total of 6,860 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Arizona and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The Cottonwood Point Wilderness is bordered by the Canaan Mountain Wilderness to the north.

Description

On a map, this piñon, juniper, and sagebrush covered wilderness looks like two small "peninsulas" divided by Cottonwood Canyon. Extending south from the Arizona-Utah border, the land rises to 6,322 feet on Cottonwood Point itself, at the lower end of the western peninsula. Craggy pinnacles and 1,000-foot cliffs of multicolored Navajo sandstone cap this irregular plateau. Elevations within the Wilderness boundaries range from about 5,100 to 6,600 feet. Between the crags lie deep and narrow canyons, the wetter ones filled with willow and cottonwood. Mule deer, bobcat, and mountain lions hide in this area, and coyotes lift their voices to splendid moonlit nights. Cottonwood Point Wilderness is a convoluted, rugged country as "reminiscent of the landscapes of Zion National Park." Without trails, Cottonwood Point receives few human visitors. It's a prime opportunity for quiet canyon backpacking, hiking, and horsepacking. Immediately to the north lies Utah's Canaan Mountain Wilderness.

The higher elevations generally receive much more precipitation and much cooler temperatures than lower elevations. This wilderness receives approximately 14 inches of annual precipitation. Summers at high elevations bring warm daytime temperatures with cool nights. Low elevations often experience very hot summer temperatures. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in the summer. The winter and early spring months bring snow and sometimes cold temperatures to the highest elevations but frequent clear, sunny days. Winter temperatures are more moderate at low elevations - a great time to recreate in these snow free areas - allowing both winter and summer type activities within very short distances.

Planning to Visit the Cottonwood Point Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Cottonwood Point Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.