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Hidden Canyon, UT

Guide 22 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
82 22 0
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,733 feet
Elevation Gain 586 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.93
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Connecting Only
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
6  2018-05-22 KBKB
9  2015-05-04 Oregon_Hiker
8  2014-09-28 AZ_Step
6  2014-06-27 charlieaz
29  2012-12-17 paulhubbard
6  2011-05-10 squatpuke
4  2010-06-20 nonot
10  2007-12-05 PaleoRob
Page 1,  2
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 223
Photos 5,972
Trips 1,090 map ( 2,430 miles )
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, Oct, Nov, Apr → Any
Seasons   Late Summer to Late Spring
Sun  5:12am - 7:56pm
0 Alternative

Steep hike to hidden slot
by PaleoRob

Hidden Canyon is a slot canyon located in Zion National Park.

Zion Canyon is a beautiful, unparalleled declivity in the earth's surface at the edge of the Colorado Plateau. Here the vast amount of sediment, laid down over millions of years, is exposed in one steep-walled gorge, cut by the Virgin River as it heads down to the lower elevations of the Great Basin, and eventually Lake Mead. In order to become so deep and steep, the Virgin River has to cut down through lots of sedimentary layers very fast. Represented within the park, being cut by the river, are the Navajo, Kayenta, Moenave, and Chinle Formations. Because this cutting happened so rapidly, many small tributary streams were literally left hanging as the Virgin sliced through the rocks at rocket (for a geological event) speeds. Hidden Canyon is one of these tributaries. From the parking area for Dripping Springs, the trail takes off to the south. To the east, against the cliff face, the alcove of Dripping Springs can be easily seen. Hike south, and cross the bridge spanning the creek flowing from the springs. The trail to Dripping Springs branches to the left, and the Hidden Canyon/Overlook/East Rim trail continues straight on.

Not too far past the creek and bridge (~50 yards), there is a mound of dirt on the east side of the trail with an interpretive sign. Back in the early days of settlement around Zion Canyon, it seems logs were in short supply. Some enterprising (and slightly mad) person came up with the idea of a cable lift from the floor of the canyon to the rim, and back, to harvest the Ponderosa Pines that live along the rim. There are some harrowing pictures of the lift in operation on the sign, and apparently the lower terminus for the cable was there on that mound of dirt. Looking up towards the rim, the remains of the towers at the upper end are still visible.

The switchbacks begin shortly after the sign. The trail ascends 586 feet up the side of Zion Canyon in the space of about a mile, so the switchbacks come pretty fast. they start out close together and shallow, then become steeper, and then get placed further and further apart. The views into the canyon at the Big Bend of the Virgin are pretty neat. After climbing about 2/3 of the height, the trail branches. To the left the East Rim/Overlook trails take off. The East Rim trail is a popular backpacking trail, and runs most of the length of the east rim of Zion Canyon. To the right the Hidden Canyon trail heads up a vertical wall with a tightly spaced series of switchbacks. Once on top, there is another nice view into the valley on the right, on a spur. The trail leads to the left, down into a shallow canyon. There are chains from this point onward, to help with the ascent/decent into and out of this canyon. Crossing the draw, you climb again, for the last time, along a thin slickrock ledge. Using the chains are advisable. This rounds a point, and drops you into the mouth of Hidden Canyon, where Hidden Canyon Creek flows into potholes and drops away into a 600 foot trickling waterfall to the valley floor. If you need water, this would be a reliable place to fill (don't forget to treat), and at some of the seeps up the canyon a ways, but this hike is so short you should just planning bringing a liter or two. The mouth of Hidden Canyon is where trail maintenance ends, and where the 2-mile round trip distance comes from for this trip. Upcanyon, the sign at the mouth says, there are even narrower walls, fern covered alcoves, and a free-standing arch. I'll leave them for you to explore - getting there is half the journey, after all. Once you've completed exploring into Hidden Canyon, make your way back down to your vehicle the way you came. Take the quick hike to Dripping Springs while you're there, or if you're backpacking, continue on out the East Rim trail.

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2007-12-21 PaleoRob
  • nps related
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$
no fees or permits reported

if incorrect tell us about it

Zion National Park
Zion Per Car/7 Day Entrance Fee (Permits such as backcountry and such may pertain too)

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To canyon trip
From St. George, Utah, drive N on I-15 until reaching the exit for UT-9/17. Follow UT-9/17 through Hurricane and LaVerkin. At the second stoplight in LaVerkin, turn right onto UT-9 (signed for Zion NP). Continue on UT-9 through Virgin, Rockville, and Springdale. In the summer, it is advisable to park in Springdale and ride the free shuttle into the park, and take the Zion Canyon shuttle up to the Dripping Springs stop. In the off-season, when the shuttle is not running, drive into the park, and turn left onto the Zion Canyon road, towards the lodge. Continue past the lodge and stop at the turnout marked for Dripping Springs. The trail starts to the south of the parking area, and there are restrooms there. Either method, driving or shuttle, requires the Zion entrance fee.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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