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

Observation Point - Zion, UT

172 24 0
Guide 24 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southwest
4.4 of 5 by 8
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,393 feet
Elevation Gain 2,210 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,400 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3-5 hrs
Kokopelli Seeds 20.1
Interest Seasonal Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
16  2015-10-10 Lucyan
9  2014-09-28 AZ_Step
6  2013-09-24 AZWanderingBear
29  2013-09-18
Middle Echo
21  2013-04-27
Zion East Rim Observation & Cable Mtn
25  2013-04-27
Zion East Rim Observation & Cable Mtn
23  2010-08-27 Jim_H
37  2010-07-26
Mystery Cyn Loop from Weeping Rock TH
Page 1,  2
Author nonot
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 236
Photos 1,969
Trips 476 map ( 4,511 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:12am - 6:43pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Grandiose views
by nonot

Likely In-Season!
A mostly paved trail to an excellent vista over the main canyon of Zion National Park.

This trail is not for those with an extreme fear of heights. In the summer it can be quite hot, but an early start will be beneficial and result in getting shade for much of the hike. The earlier the start, the greater the percentage of the time you will get shade in the upper sections. The lower half of this trail will stay shaded until nearly noon.

Early trail construction often involved blasting trails into the slick rocks and cliffs of the park. This is a popular trail but seldom is it crowded (in contrast to the Angel's Landing hike.)

From Weeping Rock trailhead, get off the bus and follow the road 100 ft up canyon and turn right into the parking area. Cross the small footbridge near the restroom and go straight (going left takes you to weeping rock). From here the trail is basically all uphill. The first section is the paved switchbacks that go up the cliff along the main part of Zion Canyon. The Hidden Canyon trail will depart about half way up. After many switchbacks the trail will level somewhat and turn east. It crosses over the drainage of Echo Canyon and goes up the slickrock and underneath a semi-tunnel section next to this dark, cool, canyon. Cross bedded sandstone can be observed on the walls of the canyon before and after this traverse.

The trail winds around a feeder drainage of Echo and uses a small bridge to get over this micro-slot. Some sand is encountered and the trail gets into the sun where it wanders up-canyon. It will begin climbing and reach the intersection between the echo canyon trail and the observation point trail. Stay on the observation point trail. From here you will go up 11 switchbacks and one curve until you reach the elevation of the east rim. Finally near the top you are done with elevation and the trail continues north in the red soil with awesome views to your left down below you.

You will reach a sandy intersection with the east rim trail and here you turn left and head the final short distance onto the observation point peninsula. At the very end is the spectacular vista known as Observation Point in which you can look down on Angel's Landing as well as most of the main canyon of Zion with great views of the Virgin River far below.

Return the way you came.

Water Sources
None, bring plenty.

In Zion Nat'l park at the South Campground or Watchman.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2010-07-31 nonot
    area related
  • NPS PDF - 2
    area related
    NPS PDF - 2
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 Reviews
Observation Point - Zion
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Started late afternoon and caught the sunset/moonrise from an incredible section of exposed trail blasted into the rock! This was a really lucky hike - only saw one other person - headed down - and when we arrived by nearly-full moon at Observation Point there was no one there! We were alone watching the moon light the canyon walls - a real joy! There was some snow and ice on the trail and Echo canyon had some spectacular frozen sections - but thankfully nothing scary on the trail (but certainly a few spots that had us being very very careful)!

Observation Point - Zion
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
After going up Hidden Canyon, the wife and I split up. She was wearing new boots (having left her hiking boots in Phoenix) and was getting a blister. So she went back to the shuttle and did some girl things the rest of the day. I went up to Observation Point. The trail at first is just paved switchbacks, but some nice enough views. Definitely gets your heart rate up. Then you hit a fantastic little slot canyon. Enjoyed the walk through it a lot. Then it is back to climbing until you get up on the East Rim. The fairly level final section brings you to Observation Point, which seems the logical reason for taking a trail called Observation Point.

Great views back down canyon. Looks right down onto Angel's Landing from yesterday. Folks hanging out having a bite and taking photos. Even cell phone reception up here. I tarried a bit and then reversed course and worked my way back down.

Not anywhere as many tourist types make it up here, but it definitely isn't a serene alone backcountry experience either. But not a bad hike for a national park.
Observation Point - Zion
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
With an "Old Geezer" and a Hollywood Director.... :sl:

The Setup
Shane: A Retired "Old Geezer" from Salt Lake City, who was all of 54 years old... :sweat: I think that means I'm nearing "Old Bag" status.... :sl: Very Experienced, Well Trained and has been doing Canyons for over 8 years. Many times, his Wife goes with him as well...

Brian: A Movie Director from LA...Turns out he was the Producer/Director/Filmmaker of the new Documentary "Gorging" that was Premiering the next night at the Zion/Springdale IMAX Theatre...We were all planning on going to see it... It was pretty cool to hear about his experiences filming it... :)

Even though the Rendezvous didn't officially start until Thursday, Shane posted this in Meetup for Wednesday. It's an easy "Beginner" Canyon with 4 short Rappels, so when I inquired, he was very happy to have me join up...So I went up a day early so I could join him for this one.

The Plan
Brian joined up last minute and was going to meet us at the East Rim/East Mesa Trail Junction since he was staying in Springdale...He was going to come up from the Weeping Rock TH...Shane didn't want to drive all the way into the Park and have to take the Shuttle, so he planned for the two of us to go in the back way off of North Fork Road, just up from the Ponderosa Ranch Resort, where we were staying. He said the Trail from Weeping Rock up, was full of steep Switchbacks and was an ugly uphill...He stated that the back way was easier...Just a little uphill he said....Since I really had no clue about the area, I'm like "Ok, cool" :lol: ...As it turns out, I was getting all of the Information, in pieces, a little at a time... :sl: From the Weeping Rock TH, it was 2 1/4 miles in to the Junction with 1300 feet of gain...On the way out, it was all downhill...From our start, Shane was right, it's just a little uphill for the first 2 or so Miles...Just a little over 300 feet....After that, it's all downhill to the Junction. More on that later.... :sweat: I met up with Shane Tuesday night when I got in and ended up Camping next to him, so in the Morning we just got up and got going....

The Hike In
Shane had a 4x4 so the drive in went well...A couple of areas I really wondered if I would have tried it with the Escape, it was a little gnarly...Hit the Trail, which, again, was a gradual "up" for the first 2 or so miles through Pinons and Pines...Very nice Trail. We get to where the "uphill" ends and Shane takes me up to a point and shows me where you would leave this Trail and start going down to the Entrance to Mystery, another Technical Canyon...All I could think was "wow".... :scared: Pretty much straight down an incredibly steep, narrow Trail... :sweat: You really have to see it to appreciate it....

Shane then informs me that it will another 2 or so miles to the Junction from there, but it's all downhill...Ya.... :lol: We start the descent, passing the turnoff to go to Observation Point and the downhill gets steeper...Great Trail though! We are now about halfway thru the "downhill" part...We turn a corner and Shane points to our Destination.... :o Ok, this is not a little down, this is a lot of Down....All I can think is "Holy Crap! We gotta come back up this".... :sl: Needless to say, I was not mentally prepared for the length and uphill that ended up coming with this Trip... :sweat: After a minute or two of mental readjustment, we continued on down, with both of us laughing hysterically at Shane's informational surprises... :D

We get to the Junction a little late and Brian's not there...We sit and wait and before too long he shows up. He was on time, didn't see us, so he had continued on down to Echo. When he didn't see us there, he came back up and found us...We hit the East Rim Trail and were soon at the Entrance to Echo.... :DANCE:

The Canyon
All I can say is...I'm really glad Shane talked me into a Full Wetsuit...It was worth it's weight in Gold...This Canyon is one of the last Canyons in the area to "thaw out" in the Spring and can be very treacherous even into late May/early June with Ice and Snow Drifts...Parts of this Canyon never sees the Sun and the Water is frigid. How Frigid? Well, Brian elected to wear a Shortie and I think he regretted it...He resorted to Calisthenics in the Narrows to try to warm up...Although the Water was chilly with a Full Suit, the only thing that got really cold on me were my hands, and they didn't stay that way long, although they hampered my Photo shots a few times... :sweat: The other advantage I found to a full Wetsuit? It "sticks" really well to the Sandstone, making Downclimbing much better... :sweat: I have found, at this point, that Downclimbing is my biggest weakness. But with Teamwork, and Shane's willingness to share his knowledge and experience, I was learning fast and becoming more comfortable...And the Wetsuit definitely helped!

Reading up on this Canyon, it reads of smelly, stagnant Pools...Thanks to the torrential Rains this area received the week before, the Canyon had flushed out. Although the Water was brown and silty, it was very fresh with no stagnation at all... :y: It even had a small bit of flow in a few places still...There are only 4 Rappels in this Canyon, and none over 30 feet, so I was very comfortable, even with Water Disconnects...The Narrows were very cool and in one area, the Acoustics made it obvious how this Canyon got it's name...It was a great Trip down and before I knew it, after the Rappels, some Swims, and some Downclimbs, we were out and laying out in the Sun-baked Sandstone next to the East Rim Trail. Brian used it to finish thawing out... :sweat: After a little snack, Brian decides to take off, while Shane and I just chilled for a bit more, mentally preparing for the Hike out....In fact, we dallied for so long, our Wetsuits dried, saving us about 3 lbs on our Pack Weight... :sweat: And then it was time to go... :o

The Hike Out
Ya... :sweat: Up, Up, Up....Shane is in great shape for an "Old Geezer" and I knew he would kick my ass on the way up...I surprised myself though and did pretty well, making fairly good time to the Observation Point Junction...Shane only beat me there by about 5 minutes...And of course, we didn't skip a Trip to Observation Point, so we dropped the Packs and Hiked on out to it...The Views are incredible! You are actually above Angel's Landing, looking down on it... :D We spent some time here, just soaking it up...Shane has probably been out there a hundred times, but never tires of it...He loves this area and is trying to move here. Standing out on that Point, looking out at the Park, I was really wishing that I had my better Camera with, but made do with what I had...It was awesome! And then it was time to go... Picked up the Packs and did some more uphill... :sweat: Finally reach the Crux of the Uphill and then, the "Horse back to the Barn" mentality sets in. And the Energy Drink I had downed was still holding up...:lol: The last two or so miles was a very fast, smooth cruise...And then, we were done... :D

Wrapping it up
Even with not totally being mentally prepared for the length and AEG of this Trip, I would do it again in a heartbeat...Not only did I get to see a pretty Canyon, but got a great Workout as well, with Killer Views and excellent Company! What else can I say? It was a great Day!!!

I am forever thankful for people like Ken, Scott, Mike, Shane, and Brian for having the patience to take Beginners down into these Canyons. Without them, it just wouldn't be possible to learn and gain experience...Shane and Brian were awesome on this Trip! : app : : app : : app :

Just had my Waterproof Camera on this one...I actually took more pictures of the Hike, than of the Canyon itself...I was a little busy in there... :D Plus it gave me something to do when I was Sucking Wind on the way out.... :sl: Just in case anyone's curious, I plotted out our Route using Existing Routes and Topo...It can be seen here...

Great Side Note
After the Screening in Springdale, Brian followed his Film "Gorging" to the Big Bear Lake Film Festival where it won the Award for Best Documentary...Very Cool!!! : app : Here's the Trailer... We have a forum topic on it and it's coming to Phoenix...I will post the Date as soon as I find out....
Observation Point - Zion
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Zion East Rim Observation & Cable Mtn
Day 2 in Zion: We decided to start with Observation Point, which was a fun and beautiful hike. It started with many switchbacks, and then flattened out as it led us through a narrow canyon (which was especially gorgeous in the morning light) and then up again via more switchbacks. The views were spectacular, and I was surprised at how quickly we gained elevation. We stopped for a quick snack break at Observation Point, where we discussed our options for the next trail. We ultimately decided to cross down and then back up to the ridge on the other side of the valley (Cable Mountain via the East Rim Trail).

The beginning of the East Rim Trail was awesome-- lots of bright orange rocks, and no visible trail (so lots of cairns!) to follow. This super fun section gave way to your typical switchbacks, which were again totally manageable (especially with all the great views as distraction), and we were at the top in no time. From here, things got pretty boring as we "hiked" 4 miles on a flat trail without much variation in scenery. The trail dipped down as we reached our destination, and the trees parted to reveal a wooden structure overlooking the valley. Angel's Landing looked tiny from up here!

The hike back down was long but easy (it was especially fun running down the switchbacks on the nice sandy portions of the trail)! However, I didn't appreciate the concrete at the very bottom, and my legs were very sore by the time John suggested we stop by Weeping Rock. I begrudgingly agreed, and I'm glad I did-- it was pretty neat! :]
Observation Point - Zion
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Zion East Rim Observation & Cable Mtn
Our second day in Zion turned into a fairly big hike. Our original plan was to hit Observation Point and Hidden Canyon and then head over to the Narrows. Instead we hit Observation Point and then followed the East Rim Trail out to Cable Mountain. This didn’t leave us any time for the other items on our list.

We left the bus at the Weeping Rock trailhead and started making our way up the paved switchbacks. The going is relatively easy as you gain steady elevation. Things level off as you make your way through a tight and beautiful canyon. After that the trail gains more elevation. We passed the junction for the East Rim trail and followed the switchbacks up to Observation Point. The view up there is absolutely spectacular as you look down on Angels Landing and Zion Canyon. While there we enjoyed a snack and talked about our options. Rachel wanted to go over to the Great White Throne but after looking at the map we realized it’s not possible to hike there because it appears to be a sky island. While discussing our options the guy from southern Az walked up and said hi. I feel bad because he knew both of our names but I didn’t remember his. Anyways we decided to head over to Cable Mountain and we were off to continue our adventure.

The return down the Observation Point trail flew by. We connected on the East Rim Trail and started following it deeper in the park. The East Rim trail is beautiful. You start by following it through a valley as the trail winds up and down the contours of the area. I was very happy to see that this trail is not paved like most of the other trails in Zion. After a mile the trail starts climbing up towards the rim and this goes on for a while. Luckily the grade is consistent and I never felt out of breath like I did the day before. After quite a bit of work the trail leveled off and the going becomes much easier. From there we made quick time as we made our way to the Cable Mountain Trail. There are signs of a fire from decades past. The Cable Mtn Trail is relatively flat and smooth until the final half mile where the trail drops a few feet. You arrive at the viewpoint to find the old Cable structure. It looks like it has been slightly rebuilt in the past year or two. See pics in my photoset. We admired the views and enjoyed our lunch. The gummy bears were delicious!

After our break we started the long hike out. I don’t think we talked at all for several miles as we both put our heads down and put one foot in front of the other. This hike turned out to be a lot and I was dragging a little bit. Luckily I remembered to bring my headphones and they helped the miles fly by. We made great time and cruised all the way down to the valley floor. Once back at the trailhead we made a quick detour over to the Weeping Rock. We had a quick look and then picked up the bus that took us back to the visitor. From there we got in the jeep and made the long drive back to Phoenix. This was a long but wonderful day! I really love Zion and I’m glad we made this trip.
Observation Point - Zion
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
I took my time watching the park film and going to a brief Ranger Program about the park's geology and started this at 1230. Other than it being hot again, I really liked this. I think I liked that it was higher, and that it felt more challenging and strenuous than Angel's Landing. Angel's Landing was good, but having done the Grand Teton a week before, it wasn't as exposed or challenging as I thought it would be. No condors on this hike, but a nice storm blew up the canyon and produced a brief heavy rain with lots of great lightning. Afterward I got to watch rocks and muddy water run down the canyon walls. Also, there were some nice falls other places in the canyon and the Virgin River was running muddy. It was a good storm.
Observation Point - Zion
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
I think this is also my favorite technical canyon in Zion so far! :D We woke up early and hit the Observation Point trail and got almost to that lookout before taking the East Mesa trail to drop into upper Mystery Canyon making sure to avoid the first canyon and go in the second one. ;) The canyon opens up quite dramatically before us as we head down the very steep trail down thru the Death Gully. :o The park service wants us to stick to the drainage instead of bypassing drops, so some extra rappels & bolts popped up in the upper section give the canyon over a dozen rappels. :sweat: Thankfully we've gotten quite good and leap frogging each other on rappels and we hammered out drop after drop. We did a few short rappels in the upper section before hitting the sweet narrows section which had another 5 or so rappels in the 15-50ft range while admiring the huge sandstone walls and praying for no rain. :) The canyon opens up a bit with a few more 20ft rappels before the canyon further opens with another side canyon or two dropping. This area is also know for having a potential lake since a major landslide damned up the canyon and requires a 300ft or so climb to get up and over before descending back down to the canyon bottom. The canyon slowly narrows back up again afterwards with a 50ft sloping rap while we noticed a thunderstorm rolling in above us though we weren't too concerned because now we were downstream of that massive natural dam. :lol: A little further down canyon and we hit that amazing 110ft Mystery Springs rappel and traversed out to the anchors and dropped down to that chockstone and further down into that refreshing pool for the canyon only swimmer/wader. :y: It started to rain on us while retrieving our ropes with slight difficulty, so we picked the pace up a bit and kinna rushed out of this amazing stretch of canyon. We creek hiked a bit, hit some down climbs, another small rappel, and before you know it we were at the amazingly sweet 120ft rappel down to the brown Virgin Narrows. Hmm, some canyon upstream must have recently flashed to turn it dirt brown but it made for a cool site with people starting to collect below us to watch us rappel. With the extra viewers, we all made short work of the rappel and again had some slight difficulty with the rope pull but we got it down without too much trouble but coiling the ropes up was a little challenging while standing in the dirty flowing creek. :roll: We made short work of the creek hike down to the sidewalk with people asking us if the narrows were safe for them to be in since it was raining and the creek turned brown... Huh, I'm not a ranger or know what the weather is doing upstream... Just because I'm wearing loads of gear and descended from above doesn't mean I know any more than you do! :sl: Speed walking on the sidewalk to the shuttles it was funny having tourists asking us what we climbed... We were canyoneering, dang it! :roll: :lol:
Observation Point - Zion
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Asended the switchbacks up the East Mesa Trail. Reached East Rim Trail and more switchbacks. Spent some time at Observation Point then headed down mystery. We got a late start so did the last two raps in the dark. Noone could tell the rope got stuck so that made it a bit interesting. It's slightly difficult to hike in the narrows when it's completely black out. Missed the last bus so had to walk down to the lodge to beg someone to come back and pick up the rest of the group who weren't faring as well after the long day.

Permit $$
Information is listed below

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
Zion Nat'l Park is located just north of Springdale, Utah. The park uses a shuttle system that is free for all paying visitors. For this hike you will get off at the Weeping Rock Trailhead.
page created by nonot on Jul 31 2010 2:17 am
help comment issue

end of page marker