Due to the remote location, and bottomless sand, it is highly recommended to access Cutler Cove with a guide. I recommend:
Kanab Western Adventures www.kanabwesternadventures.com
Kanab Tour Company www.kanabtourcompany.com
Dreamland Tours www.dreamlandtours.net
Traveling with an experienced guide will ensure you get the most out of your venture; safely and with impressive knowledge of the area.
Located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument, Cutler Point is a 17.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back route located near Kanab, Utah that offers unspoiled, scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for OHV/off-road driving. Do not attempt without a high clearance 4×4. This trail is NOT recommended for inexperienced off-road drivers or adventurers. The area can be dangerous for those unfamiliar with desert surroundings and deep sand.
From Kanab: Head north on Hwy 89 until you see signs for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary on the right. Take the 2nd Best Friends turn. There are 2 signs for Best Friends coming from Kanab… take the 2nd. (taking the first will get you to the same place…). Turn right onto Angel Canyon Road and follow it past all of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary buildings. If coming from Mt. Carmel, head south on Hwy 89; taking a left at the Angel Canyon Road; the first Best Friends sign; across from the Coral Pink Sand Dune State Park access (the second one).
Once on Angel Canyon Road, you will pass multiple Best Friends buildings before hitting a gravel road. Next turn is when it gets kind of tricky…on the left hand side of the road; soon after Angel’s Landing cemetery, keep an eye out for 4WD and ATV trail markers. You will take a left off the main gravel road and cross the narrow bridge over Kanab Creek. This is still a graveled road… not yet a trail. If you drive past the big, metal horse facility you missed the left.
You’re going to want to take the trail for 100. Take 100 all the way to 103 and then straight up. Again, these are trails, not roads. I am not recommending you access Cutler Cove on your own. I do not want the liability of anyone’s mishaps; getting lost, hurt, injured, etc. This is a massive, unforgiving area with little to no cell service.
Adding to the risk… there are several trails that spur off the route to Cutler Cove, creating a confusing maze with sand and cedar trees. Many GPS programs have this site incorrectly pinned, creating an even bigger risk. Google maps will also take you to the wrong spot. Do not rely on those to find your way.
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Once you arrive at the parking area of Cutler Cove, walk across the downed fencing and follow the footprints in the sand along the base of the white cliffs. Staying on the main route is important as there are a few spurs up and down that people have taken, creating an unnecessarily long hike. You will want to save your energy for the final climb to the chamber.
The last .25 miles to Cutler Point is a hike in deep sand to an elevation of just over 6,700 feet. If accessing Cutler Cove in summer months be mindful of temperatures and lack of shade. The hike to the chamber is short but strenuous. Pack water.
Cutler Cove is the result of erosion; intense temperature changes, pressure, moisture and wind cause sandstone to fracture off the canyon walls. When chunks of the wall and alcove roof fall, more sediment is added to the dune… some chunks burst into sand quickly while other pieces take time to erode. And some of the sand is blown in from the desert below.
Although carved of rock, the chamber/cove is in a state of constant change. Many times I have come days in a row, with fresh rock fall laying where it had not been the day before. Water seeps through the sandstone over the course of decades (or centuries); when enough pressure builds it causes pieces to break off.
The rock inside the Great Chamber are striated with layers of tan, orange, yellow and brown. All the layers are sandstone, just displaying different levels of the same minerals. These layers are delicate and should never be walked on, chipped or scratched.
Cutler Cove is a perfect place for photography, especially early in the day. Be prepared for your shoes to fill with sand; any camera equipment should be handled with care to prevent exposure to sand.
As always, practice Leave No Trace to keep fragile sandstone pristine for others to enjoy. Sandstone within the chamber is extremely fragile, do not walk on the thin layers or scrape.