South Cottonwood Creek follows its colorful namesake up into the ruggedly handsome Abajo Mountains. The first 8 miles of the trail are quite scenic as it crosses back and forth over Cottonwood Creek, but they are also largely on land owned by the Ute Nation and are generally marked with No Trespassing signs. The upper stretch of the trail enters the Manti-L Sal National Forest. As you'd imagine by the name, Cottonwood Creek is lined with majestic cottonwood trees that turn magnificent gold in the Fall. With a backdrop of white sandstone cliffs, the drive along the little creek is a comforting symphony for your senses. At higher elevations, the cottonwoods give way to pines, a few aspens, and big tooth maples whose leaves turn fire-red each Fall. With the wind in the pines and shy deer peeking out from the shadows, the upper stretches of South Cottonwood Creek are amazingly relaxing.
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