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Observation Point - Zion
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mini location map2021-05-13
12 by photographer avatarddgrunning
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Observation Point - ZionSouthwest, UT
Southwest, UT
Hiking avatar May 13 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking9.94 Miles 2,372 AEG
Hiking9.94 Miles   4 Hrs   4 Mns   2.66 mph
2,372 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
This was a "warm up" hike prior to participating in the Ragnar Zion Trail relay race, which itself involved each team member running 15.3 miles and a total of nearly 2,000 AEG.

After we set up camp near "Ragnar Village" at the Zion Ponderosa Ranch just east of the NP entrance, I had convinced the team that we should do a hike out to Observation Point--as the TH was within a 1.5 mile drive from the Ragnar Village.

We called the hike a "warm up," but it was really a pretty substantial workout, as the stats show--10 miles with 2,300 feet of elevation gain. Even though it would zap some energy for the actual race, it turned out that our team was slated for a late start time the following day (1:30 pm), so we figured we could just sleep in to our heart's content on Friday morning.

The hike was awesome! It starts out on the forest-covered rim of Zion Canyon, then descends into the canyon, dropping 1200 feet. The trail we were on actual drops all the way to the canyon floor, but a couple of years back there was a big rock slide, which closed the trail at about the halfway point from the bottom up, but did not impact the upper section of the trail. So, as a result, we basically had the trail to ourselves!

After dropping in to the canyon, we then climbed out the opposing canyon wall out to Observation Point--a spectacular viewpoint, which actually looks down on Angels Landing. We arrived at Observation Point just as the sun set. The views were spectacular, as they were throughout the canyon on the hike over to that point.

There is another (easier/flatter/but seemingly less interesting) trail that gets out to Observation Point, which joins the trail we hiked about a 1/2 mile before arriving at OP. There were several people who had accessed the point from that trailhead, so we had more company at the viewing spot.

After taking in the views, we began our return trip and were soon hiking by headlamp. We only managed to get lost once (a short detour that added another 1/4 mile or so)--which can be seen on the track. By the time we got back to our campsite, it was past 11 pm. We cooked up some spaghetti and had a very late dinner and got to bed a little after 12:30 a.m.

Yes, we paid a bit of a price in terms of energy in the race, but it was a price I was happy to pay!
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