We have to admit that we were hesitant to go visit Zion National Park this year because we have heard so much recently about the crowds. But we were so close to there when we were at Cedar Breaks that we thought we’d give it a try. We didn’t go into the main part of Zion National Park. Instead we headed to the Kolob Canyons section and we were pleasantly surprised. It was gorgeous! The views were spectacular and there weren’t all that many people.
Kolob Canyons is in the northwest corner of the park, off Interstate 15 just 17 miles south of Cedar City. There is a 5 mile scenic drive into the canyons, with lots of viewpoints where you will stand staring out in awe at the 2000 foot cliff walls that tower over the canyon. The colors are even more striking than in the inner canyon at Zion.
As you drive along, you will see how the water has drained from the high plateau, creating finger canyons and hanging gardens. It is a great way to view the majesty of Zion, with a bonus that it is at 6000 feet and usually 10 degrees cooler! In fact, the road may be closed in winter due to snow.
Enjoying Kolob Canyons
Everyone can enjoy the views from the Kolob Drive. It starts at the interpretive center and winds through spectacular scenery, gaining 1000 feet elevation. At the end of the road you will want to walk out Timber Creek Overlook Trail. It is just 1 mile round trip trail but the view from the end is amazing. On a clear day you can even see the North Rim of the Grand Canon!
There is 20 miles of hiking in the park and it is a jumping off point for backcountry hikes into the wilderness area. (permits required).
From Kolob Drive you can do two other hikes:
- Taylor Creek Trail is a 5 mile round trip hike into a finger canyon to a double arch.
- Verkin Creek Trail is 14 miles round trip. It takes you to the one of the world’s largest natural arches – Kolob Arch. It is 287 feet and 75 feet thick.
We didn’t do either of these this trip. Rain threatened flash floods and in that area it is much better to be safe than sorry. We’ll surely be back!
Need Help Planning Your Visits?
If you would like to explore this or other National Park Units, but need a bit help in the planning, please give us a call at (480) 609-3978. We are happy to offer customized trip planning.