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The Best Hikes in Zion NP National Park

247 Triplog Reviews in the Zion NP National Park
Most recent of 88 deeper Triplog Reviews
48 mi • 7,900 ft aeg
Zion Traverse
I've had the Zion Traverse on my bucket list for a while now, and I was happy to finally check it off this weekend. To summarize, although it was really cool to get into the Zion backcountry and see new parts of the park (some of which were truly incredible), I think I was expecting more of a Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim experience and Zion just doesn't hold a candle to the Grand Canyon. I was also dealing with really bad ankle pain (probably tendinitis) the entire day, which only got worse with each step. My friend Ellie had a rough day, as well, and a few puking breaks and long stretches of walking made our expected ~11 hour day far out of reach.

The Traverse links several trails, listed below. Much of the day is already blending together, so I'll try to give a brief description of each section. Also, for all you trolls out there, I am well aware that the mileage listed below adds up to 47.3 and I called this run 48 miles. My watch said 48.5 and Ellie's was well over 50. So spare me the arithmetic lesson; I'm calling it 48. :)

East Rim to Weeping Rock TH (9.8 miles) - We started our day just after 5:30 am AZ time (6:30 Utah time). It was a crisp 36 degrees at the start; perfect running weather, in my opinion. The first section of the trail steadily gains elevation through the Checkerboard Mesa part of the park with several nice viewpoints of various canyons along the way. After climbing several hundred feet, we dropped down about 2,000 into Echo Canyon. I've been to the Echo Canyon area before and it's a beautiful part of the park. We only saw a couple people during our first several miles, but the crowds started to thicken as we reached Weeping Rock TH.
Main Canyon Road from Weeping Rock to Grotto TH (1.2 miles) - Once at Weeping Rock, there's a mile road run to the Grotto TH. This was one of the most painful parts of the day on my ankle (pavement is so unforgiving), but the views were gorgeous and we ran it quick. The Grotto TH is where the Angel's Landing hike begins; we were mentally prepared to battle the crowds, but that didn't make it any more pleasant.
West Rim Trail (14.2 miles) - There's a steep climb up to the Angel's Landing turn-off (~3,000 ft) and it's all pavement. My ankle felt a million times better going uphill rather than down, so I had no complaints. Ellie isn't a fan of switchbacks like I am, so I scurried up this section pretty fast and waited at the top away from the crowds. We opted to not do Angel's Landing (I've done it twice and Ellie wasn't enthused by the crowds), and continued on the West Rim Trail. A few minutes past the Angel's Landing turn-off, we were again able to enjoy the solitude of the canyon. The West Rim trail has tons of interesting rock formations and wave-like striations. I had run a good chunk of this trail a couple years ago so I was honestly a little bored during this section (or have I just been too spoiled by the canyon recently??).
Wildcat Canyon Trail (4.7 miles) - I'll be honest; this is the part of the day where my memory gets a little foggy. I believe it was the last few miles of the West Rim trail that I found to be the least scenic, but it might have been the Wildcat Canyon trail... In any event, there was a pretty long stretch in the middle of the Traverse that was barren, muddy, and exposed, creating more of a mental challenge than anything. Another tricky/time-consuming thing about this run compared to R2R2R is finding reliable water sources. There were a few creeks that were dried up, but we were able to filter water from a spring right off the side of the trail around mile 25. A few minutes later, I tripped and came down so hard on my ankle that I thought I broke it, making the next couple hours extra miserable.
Connector Trail (3.9 miles) - The Connector Trail goes through a nice forested area with smooth dirt trails. Nothing to write home about but very runnable.
Hop Valley Trail (6.6 miles) - This is where the trail finally started to get beautiful again! We ran through open meadows with red canyon walls on either side of us, and a small creek running alongside. The trail crosses the creek several times, providing ample opportunities to wet your hat/Buff and cool down. This part of the run was so serene; didn't see another soul for a dozen or more miles. This was probably my favorite part of the run (other than finishing).
La Verkin Creek Trail to Lee Pass (6.9 miles) - When we dropped into Kolob Canyon and saw the sign stating 6.5 miles to Lee Pass, I thought I was going to cry tears of joy! Kolob Canyon is magical, rivaling the Hop Valley trail in its beauty. There were 9 or so campsites along this last stretch, each one more idyllic than the last. You gain about 1,000 ft in elevation over this last section, but I didn't notice it at all. I actually stopped and checked Route Scout at one point because I was convinced we weren't gaining enough elevation. I guess after 40+ miles of running up and down hills, 1,000 ft is cake. I reached the trail head right around sunset, and Ellie followed about 45-60 minutes later, just as the final light was leaving the sky.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Injury aside, I felt really good on this run and enjoyed the day, overall. Anything that challenges me mentally and physically is time well-spent, and there were a few very special parts of this trail that I won't forget any time soon. I also want to get back out to the Kolob Canyon/La Verkin Creek side of the park for a backpack at some point; I'm sure there's much more to explore.
8.1 mi • 2,400 ft aeg
Once I find something I like, I stick with it. So, I decided to do this again after doing it the previous day. I got a little more sleep the night before and felt more energetic (I was dragging a bit the day prior). It was a warmer 45 degree start this time, which I was very pleased with. I felt good, gave it a good push and made the top of the switchbacks in just over an hour. I just love those upper switchbacks! What a great overall trail. Zion was very nice and I will definitely be back. Next time, when it is a little warmer.
8.1 mi • 2,400 ft aeg
39 degrees to start around 11AM. All shaded until the second half, where I had the chance to warm up. Super cool trail, I was very impressed. Enjoyed all the sections, the initial switchbacks, the little slot canyon, the open views and the super cool switchbacks up high in the rock (my favorite part of the trail). Great view at the point. Just a great trail... really no boring sections.
5 mi • 1,700 ft aeg
My triplogs have been suffering from neglect. The 15 day looked like it was going to be a warmer and sunny weekend, so I decided to make my first trip to Utah. The Canyon road is open this time of year and parking was tight. It took a couple passes up, down and around, but I was able to nab a spot just in time to negotiate this before sundown.

Cool and shaded pretty much the entire way until the top part. I was expecting more exposure, but never really noticed any. Not hordes of people on the chains, but you did have to be patient at times and wait to proceed. I left my water bottle at the base and failed to retrieve it on the descent. It was cold so I wasn't concerned and didn't need to drink.

My kind of hike, short and steep (except the beginning) with killer views the second half. My first impression of the park was it reminded me of a larger Phantom Ranch in the canyon, mixed with Sedona.

9.34 mi • 2,564 ft aeg
Zion National Park
in 2009, we hiked most of the shorter hikes available from the shuttle stops
hidden canyon, emerald pools, weeping rock, riverside walk and angel's landing
this year, we wanted to do angel's landing again, along with some new stuff
got going around 0845 or so
a little chilly to start with
wasn't all that crowded
an easy approach, then a steeper grade, through refrigerator canyon, up walter's wiggles and to scout's lookout
the fun starts with the climb up the ridgeline, navigating the chains and scrambles
a little crowded here, with one big traffic jam - not too annoying, though
spent a few minutes on the small summit, admiring the canyon and river views
the descent was even less crowded
glad we did this one, but i probably don't need to do it again; just too many people on it
next, we went over to the visitor center and hiked watchman trail from the campground
this was a lot of fun, switchbacking up to a little butte
the trail makes a loop around the top and the western edge has great views of zion canyon and springdale
really enjoyed this hike, and there were not many people on it
after some chips and salsa in the picnic area and a stop at the visitor center, headed out the east side
hit the canyon overlook trail just east of the tunnel
fun hike on a mix of slickrock and sand with good views to the west
a little late in the afternoon so the light wasn't great
headed for bryce, and saw some bighorn sheep near checkerboard mesa on the way out
6.3 mi • 750 ft aeg
Taylor Creek & Timber Creek Overlook
road trip to utah with my nebraska friend sue
in 2009 we hit the north rim, zion and bryce
in 2016 we saw natural bridges, arches and canyonlands
this year the plan got revised a few times, and we decided on zion, bryce and capitol reef
hadn't been to the kolob canyons area of zion, so we got there late afternoon
hiked taylor creek to the double arch alcove
pleasant hike with about 40 easy creek crossings and a couple of cabins along the way
the alcove made for a good destination
had time to hike the short timber creek overlook
great views, very windy, finished in the dark
stayed in hurricane and had dinner at alberto's - good cheap mexican food
always a bonus to get in some new hikes on a travel day :)
4.26 mi • 1,700 ft aeg
My trip was winding down and I wanted to hit a couple of trails in Zion before heading back to Phoenix. It was early afternoon when I parked at the visitor center and jumped on the bus heading for The Grotto. I hit the trail around 3pm and headed up. The lower trail is mostly paved which makes for fast travel. I headed through the refrigerator section and up the wiggles. There were plenty of people out but they were spaced out and easy to pass. I hit the chains and continued up. I felt really good and loved the climb up. The top section is so much fun and the views are ridiculous. This was my third time here so I didn't spend much time. I took a few pics from the summit and then started the return. The descent was easy going and fewer people were out. I cruised down and jumped on another bus. I'll have a couple of hours to explore the Narrows and then head back to Phoenix.
15.21 mi • 2,030 ft aeg
I’ve been to Zion National Park a few times but never to Kolob Canyon. This trip would change that. I started in Bryce Canyon and hit Kanarra Falls on my drive over. Once I arrived at the Kolob Visitor Center I stopped in and grabbed a walk up permit for campsite #10 below Kolob Arch. I packed up my gear and started hiking around 3:30pm.

This hike in went well despite the heat of the sun bearing down on me. The trail is in fantastic condition as it heads south and passes Shuntavi Butte. I continued south and made good time & eventually turned to the east as I neared La Verkin Creek. The creek was flowing strong with cool and clear water. I took a short break and then continued on to my campsite arriving around 5:45pm where I set up camp and got situated. I then headed out for the quick side trip to Kolob Arch. This section of trail is slow going as you scramble up and down short rocky sections. The arch eventually came into view and I soaked it in. I got a bit closer but wanted to turn around before dusk set in. I returned to camp and settled in for the evening.

I woke up on day two and took my time tearing down camp. I hit trail around 8am and made the hike out. There were several groups hiking in on this Thursday. I had the place mostly to myself on Wednesday afternoon. I even saw a ranger on the hike out and he asked for my permit. I told him I’m happy to see the trail patrolled. After that the last mile or two flew by and I was back to the jeep around 10:30am. It was nice being done so early. I’m heading to Zion Canyon from here.

The La Verkin Creek / Kolob Arch is a solid area! I really enjoyed backpacking here and the flowing creek surrounded by massive red buttes was impressive. I’d love to continue through Hop Valley and then down into Zion Valley via the West Rim Trail. There is a lot to explore outside the valley without the crowds.
0.35 mi • 25 ft aeg
Drove up to the point and spent at least an hour here just hanging out enjoying the view. Very nice. I had the place to myself for most of the time. Hermit Thrushes down in the forest below could be heard over the cicadas, the swifts, and the wind. I really liked this area, even though it was hot.

On the way out, I drove to Kolob Reservoir, and then went out to the main area of Zion. I got tired driving down, my guess was from the heat, and so I pulled off at a turnout and took a brief nap. Took some photos of the storm that was brewing, and I spotted what was most likely a coyote running through the adjacent meadow with a rabbit in it's mouth. I called to it, but it couldn't have cared less about me.

From there, I went across Zion through the tunnel to the east entrance/ Checker Board Mesa area. My legs were still sore, so I was doubting my commitment to another sizable hike, and it was overcast but the temperature after 5 PM/ 6 PM local was still 98 at the East Rim Trail trailhead, so I canceled hiking the East Rim Trail and was dead set on a cool trip to Cedar Breaks, which was really far more pleasant

Back in Springdale, I stopped at the visitor center to see who if anyone offered Prime Rib, as the steakhouse that had it last year took it off the menu. No one does, it seems, but I got it the next day outside of Cedar City after Cedar Breaks. At the visitor center in Springdale, there is an apricot tree which was loaded with ripe fruit. I asked and the girls at the center said it was OK, so I picked 2 small brown bags worth of really excellent apricots, far better than anything you get in the store.
15.5 mi • 3,800 ft aeg
Ended up being hotter than ideal, but it was doable. Zion is a zoo anywhere there are people, but not too bad once away from them.

Went for the loop, this time counterclockwise. Planned to head out to Potato Hallow Spring, or whatever it is called, but I was tired, it was a lot hotter than I liked, and I was low on water, so I went out a bit and came back. Still enjoyable. Lava Point sounds good, but I question the East Rim trail as that would be a hot area, too.
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