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Cougar Canyon Wilderness

General Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws


The United States Congress designated the Cougar Canyon Wilderness (map) in 2009 and it now has a total of 10,648 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Utah and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The Cougar Canyon Wilderness is bordered by the Slaughter Creek Wilderness to the west and the Tunnel Spring Wilderness to the west.


Cougar Canyon Wilderness is clustered together with Doc’s Pass and Slaughter Creek Wilderness areas along the Nevada state line, in the remote northwest corner of Washington County. This unit is contiguous with wildlands in Nevada and roadless areas of the Dixie National Forest in Utah, creating an extensive wilderness. Elevations range from a little over 4,700 feet to just short of 7,000 feet.

Beaver Dam Wash, a perennial stream in its upper reaches, flows through this wilderness and steep-sided canyons and mountain peaks, composed of Miocene age volcanic lava flows, ash-fall tuffs and mudflow breccias, are densely covered with pinyon pine, Utah juniper, manzanita, and scrub oak. Many species of song birds and raptors can be viewed in the native willows and cottonwood trees that grow in the riparian zones. Beaver Dam Wash also supports native trout and the Virgin spinedace, a native minnow-like species. A wide variety of mammals roam here including elk, mule deer, mountain lion, ringtail, bobcat, badger, and both the common and kit fox.

Visitors to this wilderness area will experience scenic vistas and outstanding opportunities for backpacking, horseback riding, and primitive camping. This part of Washington County is rugged and remote. Visitors should plan carefully and be prepared for backcountry travel conditions. Summer temperatures can easily exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit and drop well below freezing in winter. Cougar Canyon Wilderness receives between 14 and 24 inches of precipitation each year. There are no maintained trails in the Wilderness.

Planning to Visit the Cougar Canyon 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 Cougar Canyon 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.

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