Cottonball Marsh Canyon is a rarely visited Tucki Mountain canyon with pretty narrows which drains out to Cottonball Marsh and has only a short section that is passable for hikers. Difficulties encountered on the hike include route finding to access the canyon and a long hike of 5 1/2 miles across sometimes brutal terrain to reach the canyon mouth. A topographical map of the hiking route can be found by clicking on the button above. The parking area for the hike is located at the Salt Creek parking lot. GPS coordinates for the canyon mouth are 36.516293, -117.009713.
Back on March 10, 2011, I visited Cottonball Marsh for the first time ever. It proved to be a very enjoyable hike and one of the days I have spent in Death Valley which I treasure the most. While hiking out to West Side Borax Camp on that day, I crossed over part of a very wide major canyon fan which was draining out of eastern Tucki Mountain. I couldn't help but wonder what secrets that the canyon off in the distance held. But I would not be able to find out on that day, as I had my hands (and feet) full searching Cottonball Marsh for its own secrets. Two years later, I finally had the chance to return to the Cottonball Marsh area and explore the mysterious canyon I had wondered about. Hikers had assigned the canyon the informal and appropriate name Cottonball Marsh Canyon. To reach Cottonball Marsh Canyon, we parked at the Salt Creek parking area and began hiking south around the Salt Creek Hills. We then connected with the old closed road which headed out to West Side Borax Camp. Eventually, we had crossed the flatlands and began climbing up toward the edge of Tucki Mountain, aiming for a small hillside which overlooked the mouth of Cottonball Marsh Canyon. We then found an easy way to scramble down onto the canyon floor and headed up canyon. We soon reached the junction with the other canyon we would be exploring that day, about 6 miles from where we had parked. We dropped our packs there and continued hiking up Cottonball Marsh Canyon. As a previous hiking group had already documented the area a couple of months earlier, we knew that there were some great narrows ahead. The narrows ended up dead-ending at a dry fall, so that's where we stopped. Cottonball Marsh Canyon was impressive but there were better things yet to come that day. To find out what I'm talking about, check out the Trip Report which immediately follows this one under the heading Tucki Bridge Canyon. Our hike took place on February 11, 2013.
Many more photographs taken during our visit are available for viewing for this destination. To see all of them, choose one of the two options presented below. The two options are Slideshow viewing and Trip Report viewing. The Slideshow option allows for viewing larger images with an autoplay option and a full screen option (available on most browsers). This option works very well for large computer screens and tablets. The Trip Report option allows for viewing smaller pictures in a standard scroll-down format and enlarging of any panoramic photos taken during our visit. Click on the option of your choice to view all of our photos from this destination. The Slideshow format opens in a new browser window and the Trip Report format uses the same browser window for viewing.
TRIP REPORT FORMAT