Cottonwood (Turkey Farm) Road
The Cottonwood Road, also known locally as the Turkey Farm Road, serves as a major connector serving six trailheads that link directly to ten trails and indirectly to four others inside the boundaries of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and National Conservation Area. The road and associated right-of-way serve as a trail for motorized vehicles, bikers, and equestrians and connects area visitors to the Dixie National Forest road network on the north boundary of the Reserve/NCA. Access to the road is generally made from the south through the St. George industrial park adjacent to the eastern part of the Red Hills Parkway. The road crosses the south boundary of the Reserve just north of its intersection with the Red Rock Road that comes out of the industrial park. From that point the road is paved for a distance of 2.3 miles, with more than a few potholes. For the remaining 5.4 miles, the road is a graded dirt road maintained by the county but subject to wash-boarding, exposed rocks, and muddy conditions during and after heavy rains. Visitors are cautioned to drive carefully and to be considerate of other users along the road. From its south end to its northern terminus at the boundary of Dixie National Forest, the road rises about 1500 feet in elevation with the sharpest rise occurring in the more northerly section. For those moving beyond the road onto the Danish Ranch Road on the Dixie National Forest, be aware of the likelihood of very rough and narrow sections that require high-clearance vehicles.
Views to the north provide visitors with panoramic displays of the Pine Valley Mountains, sandstone escarpments capped with black lava flows, and occasional glimpses of red sandstone peaks in the Cottonwood Canyons and other areas of the Reserve. Views to the south include southern mountain ranges in Utah and northern Arizona and the Beaver Dam Mountains to the southwest. Historic features along the road include a lava rock retention dam built by early pioneers and historic and modern pipelines and aqueducts that bring water to St. George from the Pine Valley Mountains. Many of the visible jeep trails served as historic wagon roads to facilitate delivery of goods, ice, and supplies to pioneer families and communities scattered throughout the Washington County area. Contemporary facilities include a major electrical power station one mile north of the south boundary with sizable transmission lines coming in from the north and dispersing to the south to serve nearby towns and cities, and a large municipal water tank serving portions of the metropolitan area.
From the southern end, visitors travel the following distances to reach the various trailheads and stepovers along its route: 1) T-Bone trailhead with good parking – 1 mile; 2) Tank trailhead with limited parking, directly serving the Middleton Powerline trail and indirectly serving the Ice House, Cottontail, and Mustang Pass trails – 2 miles; 3) Black Knolls stepover with no suitable parking – 3.5 miles; 4) Winchester stepover and Yellow Knolls trailhead with good parking – 4.7 miles; 5) Black Gulch trailhead with good parking, also serving the High Point, Yellow Knolls, Lange’s Dugway, and Alger Hollow trails – 6.1 miles; 6) Broken Mesa trailhead with good parking, serving also the Ice House trail – 7.3 miles; 7) Dixie National Forest boundary – 7.7 miles. Small portions of the road near the southern end cross private, state, and municipal lands, while the majority of the road crosses lands administered by the BLM within the Red Cliffs NCA.