For many, an idea of traveling on dirt roads is not appealing. These roads can be pure nuisance. They are bumpy, slow you down, and some of them are unpredictable (read my adventures on Silver Canyon Road). For me, they are pure romance. They take me back to my childhood in Poland and visiting my grandparents in the country. Along with my friends, I spent hours riding my bike on dirt roads. They took us places where we could swim, play with hay stocks, and even climb three story high chimneys. Those were the days when kids were running freely and creating their own adventurers – not necessarily the safest way to live your childhood but definitely a lot of fun. There were no cellular phones to monitor where we were and what we were doing. We were innocent, wild, and free!
My cultural experiences and extensive travels in my new country, the USA, added another layers to my dirt road admiration. American roads have their unique romantic flavor. They remind me of the Old West. I see horses, carriage wagons, explores, settlers. I see wild open spaces, starry nights, and campfires. They lure me with tunes of my favorite country songs: John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Road and James Taylor’s Country Road. For me, emotionally, they are the heart of this country. I can hear them calling my name, inviting me on another adventure.
Imagine you are in your car entering a dirt road that meanders throughout a colorful canyon. You are exploring this place for the first time. The view around the next turn will be another magical one. You are feeling the excitement of the unknown. This is your destination for a day, Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah. It is a water carved canyon cutting through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It starts along US 89 and ends at Kodachrome Basin State Park. The entire length is 46 miles. This is a relatively easy drive but some sections of the road are steep and narrow – they are the most fun!
The scenery is one of a kind. Walls of the canyon are red, pink, and white, with patches of greenery. There is a lot to explore along the road. Great hiking trails lead to slot canyons, arches, and springs. The major attraction is a unique sandstone double arch called Grosvenor Arch. It located towards the north end of the road. Its site is well maintained. There is even a concrete sidewalk leading to the base. Follow the road to reach final attraction, Kodachrome Basin State Park, a must visit for red rock enthusiasts. My favorite part of the drive is Cottonwood Creek Walsh – an easy but very interesting hike between high pinkish walls of the side canyon.