All these canyons are difficult hikes and only experienced canyon country hikers should attempt these routes. All contain obstacles in the form of dry falls and chock stones (large boulders wedged in narrow slots) which must be climbed over. The canyons are extremely narrow in places; most people will have to work their way through sideways. Often there are pools of water that may require deep wading or short swims.
Cottonwood Wash is located 9.1 miles (14.6 km) south of Hwy 24 on the Notom-Bullfrog Road. About one mile (1.6 km) up the wash (west) from the trailhead, a side canyon enters from the right (north) and could be mistaken for the main drainage; stay left. A few hundred yards further, the main canyon narrows and a 0.25 mile (0.4 km) long stretch begins that is choked with large boulders and requires scrambling to negotiate. After another 0.3 mile (0.5 km), another side drainage enters from the left (south); stay right. Shortly beyond this point, the canyon abruptly narrows to a thin slot. A deep pool of water is often found here and deep wading or swimming may be required to continue up canyon.
The canyon alternates between tight narrows and more open areas with a number of chock stones that must be negotiated and possibly more pools of water for the next mile. An impassable 35-foot (10.7 m) pour off blocks the canyon at the end of this stretch of narrows (about 3 miles or 4.8 km in from the road), and marks the end of the route. To return to the trailhead, simply retrace the route back down the canyon.
Cottonwood Wash, round trip from the Notom-Bullfrog Rd and back: 6 miles (9.7 km)