Zion National Park, Kolob Arch

As we have written before, Zion National Park has so many amazing geological features and sights to see that it warrants many return trips.

We recently talked about Kolob Canyons, having taken the scenic drive. While we were there, we scouted out the various hiking trails.  One of these was the trail to Kolob Arch. We just returned to do this hike.

Laverkin Creek Trail

Begin at the Lee Pass Trailhead. The hike to Kolob Arch is about a 15 mile round trip, so not for the casual hiker or unprepared. We got on the trail about 6:30 am and finished up about 2:30 – you may be able to do it in less time, but there are lots of places to stop and enjoy the views.

This is an unusual hike for Zion because you begin by going down hill with red canyon walls surrounding you and amazing views. Not only are there great photo opportunities, there is also lots of time to enjoy to peace and quiet, away from the crowds. During our entire hike we only saw a handful of other hikers. More chipmunks than people!

The trail is lovely, well marked and soft on the feet. Leaving Lee’s trailhead you pretty much descend for a mile, then follow the river canyon through groves of Cottonwood trees, scrub oak, pine and juniper. Getting started early, we were able to hike in the shade for almost the first 4 miles. 

Still early in the summer, we also were able to enjoy the wildflowers – columbines, scarlet paintbrush, yarrow, milkweed, and more.

We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife – just one HUGE jackrabbit – but most of our time was spent gazing upwards at the spectacular view of Zion’s red cliff walls. 

About 4 miles into the hike we turned left into a lush canyon. There was lots of water there. We hiked past lots of little waterfalls and perfect swimming holes. Great for backpackers. In fact, there were 9 designated camp spots in the first 6 miles (permit required). The trail here was pretty sandy and soft, with intermittent shade.

The turn off to Kolob Arch was at mile 6, taking you through a narrow canyon with lots of rock hopping and water crossings. You have to go all the way to the end to actually see the Arch. Unlike other sights that you can see from a distance, the Kolob Arch is not visible until literally the very end of the trail. The trail ends. You look up. There it is – the 6th largest arch in the world. 287 feet long and 75 feet thick.

Since this is an out and back hike, you get to retrace your steps 7 miles back to the trailhead. Be sure to take lots of water and sunscreen.  And don’t forget your camera!

Are you trying to visit all the National Parks?

If your goal is to visit them, one or all, we’d love to help you strategize. Give us a call at (480) 609-3978 or drop us a note here. We always enjoy talking with people who share our passion for visiting National Parks, and National Park Units.

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