Cougar Canyon Wilderness is clustered together with Doc’s Pass and Slaughter Creek Wilderness areas along the Nevada state line, in the remote northwest corner of Washington County. This unit is contiguous with wildlands in Nevada and roadless areas of the Dixie National Forest in Utah, creating an extensive wilderness. Elevations range from a little over 4,700 feet to just short of 7,000 feet.
Beaver Dam Wash, a perennial stream in its upper reaches, flows through this wilderness and steep-sided canyons and mountain peaks, composed of Miocene age volcanic lava flows, ash-fall tuffs and mudflow breccias, are densely covered with pinyon pine, Utah juniper, manzanita, and scrub oak. Many species of song birds and raptors can be viewed in the native willows and cottonwood trees that grow in the riparian zones. Beaver Dam Wash also supports native trout and the Virgin spinedace, a native minnow-like species. A wide variety of mammals roam here including elk, mule deer, mountain lion, ringtail, bobcat, badger, and both the common and kit fox.
Visitors to this wilderness area will experience scenic vistas and outstanding opportunities for backpacking, horseback riding, and primitive camping. This part of Washington County is rugged and remote. Visitors should plan carefully and be prepared for backcountry travel conditions. Summer temperatures can easily exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit and drop well below freezing in winter. Cougar Canyon Wilderness receives between 14 and 24 inches of precipitation each year. There are no maintained trails in the Wilderness.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Cougar Canyon Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 - Public law 111-11 (3/30/2009) An act to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.