3 Must See Hikes in Zion National Park

by | Jan 6, 2017 |

The age old literary comparison of nature as a cathedral is peppered in many travel writer’s musings on Zion National Park. It can feel cliche when you read analogies like that, but when you step foot into Zion National Park, its hard not to feel that same connection. At the bottom of the park lays the winding Virgin River, situated below the massive 8,726 ft canyon walls on all sides. There are many different and equally incredible hikes to do on your trip there.

Zion is known for one hike in particular: Angel’s Landing. Named for its extreme height and seemingly impossible terrain, it was once said that it was so high up, only angels could land there, but now thanks to ranger maintained chain railings on the trail everyone (in good enough shape) can climb to the top. Though that is the most famous trail it isn’t the be all end all when it comes to the best views in the park. So if you’re opting for a less touristy route, a challenging ascent and insanely gorgeous views of the park, Angel’s Landing included in the view, then Observation Point trail is for you. In this post I’ll take you through 3 highlights of my trip through the park and show you pictures of the beautiful fall foliage in action.

 

  1. Observation Point- 8 Miles RT

    Observation point is where your jaw will drop to the ground indefinitely. On our first full non rainy day at the park, which was also our last, we decided to do this trail over Angel’s Landing as we wanted a longer hike and the other trail was already too blown out by 9am.Starting from the Weeping Rock trailhead this hike will quickly take you up 2,000 vertical feet over 4 miles. Long switchbacks take you to Echo Canyon then through a beautiful slot canyon. Though this hike is a booty buster, it is sure to keep you excited, as the rock color and formation is constantly changing. At the top (6508 ft) you’ll get incredible views of the park and the Virgin River.

 

Observation Point

At the top of Observation Point (8 miles RT)

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Moss on the Trail

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Jon on Observation Point

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Beautiful Canyon's at Zion National Park

2. Hidden Canyon Trail- 3.2 RT

With an elevation of 1064 feet this is a short and sweet trail that will bring you gorgeous views of the canyon as well as a cool look inside a quiet slot canyon at the top. You will navigate some narrow cliff areas, where chains will ensure your safe passage. This is a great hike for those looking for something a bit shorter, or to combine with other smaller hikes.

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Pretty rocks on the trail

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Jon in the Hidden Canyon playing around

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3. Upper, Middle and Lower Emerald Pools Trails

The emerald pools are striking and easy to get to within 2 miles. Natural oases in the middle of a desert, you hike through slick rock and sand during portions of these hikes, though most of the trail I would rate as easy to moderate. Clear pools of water collect and drop down into the canyon creating waterfalls with stunning views. When you look down to the valley floor the lush deciduous peaks out from the canyon walls. This is a nice hike to do in the rain or if you want something a bit more mellow as it can be done in an hour or so.

Emerald Pools in the rain

 

Upper Emerald Pools

 

Trail head

Where to Stay

The Cliffrose Lodge is the most amazing hotel near a state park I’ve ever stayed at or been to

Cliffrose Lodge

The yard near Cliffrose Lodge