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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Hop Valley and Kolob Arch Trail, UT

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Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southwest
3.7 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 14.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,606 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,100 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 20.4
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
8  2014-04-30 toddak
4  2009-09-12 maloner
Author rally_toad
author avatar Guides 21
Routes 4
Photos 512
Trips 422 map ( 2,598 miles )
Age 28 Male Gender
Location Boulder City, NV
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, Jun, Aug, May
Sun  6:20am - 6:29pm
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Enjoy the journey and the destination
by rally_toad

Likely In-Season!
An enjoyable day hike or overnight trip to one of the largest arches in the world. Typical Zion scenery without the crowds.

From the Hop Valley Trailhead the trail sets out on the Kolob Terrace through sage brush habitat. Zion National Park is in many ways a geographic crossroads and the beginning portion of the trail serves as evidence of that. To the North and East lies the canyons of Zion and Southern Utah. To the West lies the mountain ranges and basins of the Great Basin.

AT 1.3 miles you come to a cattle fence and the boundary for private property. For the next 2.5 miles the trail travels through a checkerboard of lands owned by the National Park Service and private owners. Please be respectful of the land to ensure continued access for hikers through these inholdings. The vegetation instantly changes on the other side of the cattle fence, you can tell that grazing and maintenance occurs in this area.

Before too long the trail starts a descent into Hop Valley. You will start to notice scenery more typical of Zion, with sandstone cliffs towering above you and a gentle stream winding through the bottom of the valley. I found this portion of the hike to be quite idyllic. However, there were no cows in Hop Valley when I was there. The trail continues generally Northwest through Hop Valley, crossing the creek a countless number of times. Some of these crossings can take a minute or two to navigate if you want to stay dry. Cottonwood trees, grassy fields, and a gurgling stream made this portion of the hike quite enjoyable despite my initial skepticism when I learned Hop Valley was largely composed of private land inholdings. The National Park Service does not recommend drinking water from Hop Valley due to cattle in the area.

About 2.5 miles from the fence designating the private land checkerboard you will cross the creek and ascend slightly into a Ponderosa Pine forest. There is a gate marking the end of grazing and start of NPS land. From here the trail goes past 3 dry camp sites in the Ponderosa Forest.

Immediately after passing the third campsite the trail crosses the stream in Hop Valley for the final time and begins a steady ascent to a saddle dividing Hop Valley from the La Verkin Creek drainage below. Once past the saddle the trail descends fairly steeply into the La Verkin Creek drainage and the trail junction with the La Verkin Creek Trail. There are camp sites (permit required) in both directions along the La Verkin Creek Trail.

To reach Kolob Arch, turn left on the La Verkin Creek trail. The trail crosses over to the north side of the creek and then generally follows the creek to the Kolob Arch junction. Kolob Arch is about 0.5 miles up this drainage. I found this last section of the trail to be very scenic. A slow moving creek flowing of slickrock was a highlight, and you are liking to hear Canyon Treefrogs during the right time of year. You will reach a confluence of two small streams (may be seasonal) and the arch is just above this confluence.

Kolob Arch itself is high above you on the Canyon wall. Don't expect to be right underneath it. An NPS sign indicates that further travel is not recommended and you can see the arch high above you. It blends in with the sandstone immediately behind it, so photographing it can be tricky. The arch was cool, but the journey itself really stood out in my book.

Check out the Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2018-05-05 rally_toad
    area related
  • NPS PDF - 2
    area related
    NPS PDF - 2
  • 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.

Most recent Triplog Review
Hop Valley and Kolob Arch Trail
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I'm going to backlog a few of my favorite old trips...not everything, just the ones that struck a chord with me.

A couple years ago I went up to Zion with some friends. I had been there before, but I was nine, so I barely remember it. This time, we couldn't camp in the park, so we found a dustbowl nearby along the creek that cuts through the actual canyon. It was great...after the wind died down.

We didn't hike in the main area. Instead, we did the cool hike on the northwest side of the park (which is not even linked up to the main area by roads, so barely anyone goes there) to Kolob Arch, which is said to be the largest natural arch in the world. The arch is so high up and you have a bad angle on it, so this award is somewhat wasted, but the hike was still great.

The hike in wasn't too memorable -- beautiful, certainly. We started around 10:00 am and it was pleasantly cool, but never cold, on the hike in. There was an old naked man cavorting in the creek, alone, and that was moderately disturbing. He was not scared off by the band of hikers and one photographer, and the photographer wasn't inclined to record the event, so you'll just have to take my word for it. I will say that he had a great campsite.

The arch is about 7.4 miles in. Honestly, the arch is not the high point of this hike. It was neat, but it's soooo far up the side of the cliff that you just can't get a good view of it. You can barely see under it, in fact. And i was so beat at that point (it was getting hot) that I didn't even try much for a good shot -- because there wasn't a good shot, at least not with my lenses.

The hike out, frankly, sucked.

It got very hot, and while the trail wasn't steep, it was kind of long, and it was uphill the whole way. By the end, I was feeling pretty rough. My buddy Lon, who currently volunteers for the forest service to do search and rescue, and is in far better shape than me, was also in pretty bad shape. I'm not kidding -- I felt TERRIBLE on the way out. I have been hiking my whole life, and I rarely have this kind of trouble. The sun just sapped everything out of me. Of course, going in was easy, and I didn't drink much water. Coming out was a drain, and I drank it all...but I should have had it earlier. DRINK YOUR WATER, people. You don't have to be thirsty...just drink it. Lon and I were stumbling by the end.

And our friend Scott, who I kind of wanted to murder, was traipsing about the wilderness as if it was a lovely spring day. You're lucky I was so exhausted, Scott.

All in all, a great hike, but one to do when it's a little cooler, or to do as a backpacking trip (to camp where the naked man was -- campsite 7, if I recall; hopefully, he won't be there). But it's not the actual Zion experience, which is most certainly the main canyon. And for that, I will need to return.

Permit $$

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 hike
The trailhead is located along the Kolob Terrace Road in Zion National Park. From Springdale or the Zion Canyon Visitor Center travel west on Route 9 until you reach the junction for Kolob Reservoir and Kolob Terrace in the town of Virgin. Turn right on Kolob Terrace Road. The trailhead for Hop Valley is 12.6 miles up Kolob Terrace road, just after the road enters Zion National Park for the second time.
page created by HAZ_Hikebot on May 05 2018 8:34 pm
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