Canyon Overlook Trail
If you are in the middle of planning your very first trip to Springdale and Zion Canyon, you probably have a whole bunch of people saying to you “Oh! You have to this!” or “Make sure you do that!” I think here at ZionNationalPark.com we are guilty of saying that more than once in some of our past posts. Well, this time we really mean it! If your upcoming vacation to Zion National Park really is your first one ever, you should strongly consider making plans to hike the Canyon Overlook trail. It’s a maintained trail that’s not very long (half a mile there, half a mile back) and will probably take you approximately an hour total. It’s not so easy that your hiker’s ego will be insulted, but not too difficult that you need to pack extra water and food. Also, the views are amazing, but that’s pretty much a given on any hike in Zion.
The upper East Canyon doesn’t have many official trails, but this is one of them. This means that Park shuttles don’t go out this way so you will need to make sure you have transportation of some kind to get to the trails starting point. Parking can some- times be a little tricky – meaning crowded – but if you go early enough you shouldn’t have trouble getting a spot. To get to the lots near Canyon Overlooks starting point (assuming you’re coming from Springdale), drive on SR-9 about 6 miles until you drive through the infamous Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Right after the tunnel on the right-hand side, there are places to park (if you’re coming from the other direction, the parking area will be on your left right before the tunnel entrance). Park your vehicle and walk directly across the street and you’ve made it. Canyon Overlook Trail here we come! Note: if that parking lot is full, there are more lots a tad further east of the tunnel. You’ll just have to walk a little bit once you park your car.
I don’t want to spoil it for you by explaining away everything you’ll experience, but I will tell you that you’ll see fantastic views of the Pine Creek stream and slot canyon, SR-9 switchbacks, East Temple, Bridge Mountain, and some really cool sandstone formations. There’s even a part with a shady recess in the rock with rich vegetation growing out of the walls for a cool rest.
Safety Note: Though most of this trail is child-friendly as far as safety is concerned, there are a couple of exposed portions where there are no railings. And once you get to the actual viewpoint at the end of the trail, there are no railings around the cliff edges. Any person too young to be trusted with their own balance at any given moment should probably not participate on this trail.
There you go! A visual feast and boatloads of photographs later, you’ll be back at your hotel room thinking about how amazing Canyon Overlook Trail was. It really is incredible. We can’t wait for you to do it! Also, remember that just because it happens to be February doesn’t mean you can’t come to the Park right now and do this hike. There is still a huge misconception floating around that Zion National Park is a summer-only experience. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Right now as I’m writing this it’s over 70 degrees in the park. Plus, if you come before the busy season you won’t have to share the experience with quite as many people, Just sayin’.
Photos are courtesy RJ Hooper Photography. To see more of RJ’s amazing work check out his website by Clicking Here
This edition of “The View From Here” was written by our very own Gregory Knell. Want to know more about Greg? Click Here