Zion National Park, Part 1

After spending Tuesday night in a motel, Allison and I decided to stock up on groceries before driving the rest of the way to Zion. The weather once again refused to cooperate, alternating between snow, hail, and rain for virtually the entire day.

Campsite in Zion (2 nights)

We didn’t arrive at the park until around 11:00am, and by the time we set up camp and took a shuttle to the Weeping Rock trailhead it was close to 1:00pm. On the upside, the cold and rainy weather meant that the trails were practically deserted. For our first hike of the day, we took a 0.5 mile roundtrip climb to the “Weeping Rock” overlook. Supposedly the cliff face oozes water throughout the summer, but today it was producing a full-blown waterfall (sobbing rock?).

The next hike – Observation Point – began in the same area. The trail consisted mostly of switchbacks carved into the sides of cliffs, gaining 2148’ in elevation over the course of 4 miles. There was also a brief section through a slot canyon, requiring hikers to shimmy along the sandstone wall to avoid falling into a stream (we had to assure a trio of reluctant German backpackers that this was, in fact, the only way forward).

View from the switchbacks

Dodging waterfalls

The views from the east rim of the canyon were pretty spectacular, despite us having to fight through a miniature hailstorm on the way to the summit.

View from Observation Point

Allison at Observation Point

Stopping for a rest

Toward the end of our return trip, we realized that it was only about 5:00pm…so we decided to branch off the main trail to explore the “Hidden Canyon” side route. Most of this 2.4 mile excursion isn’t actually considered a maintained trail, so hikers like us get the pleasure of climbing and scrambling through a slot canyon.

Navigating Hidden Canyon

The canyon itself wasn’t particularly challenging (the water level had fallen considerably as the rain slackened off during the afternoon). The fun part was actually the exposed climb over to the canyon, which was made all the more difficult by the wet and slippery sandstone.

Dry sandstone? Easy

Wet sandstone? Not so much

Approximate Total Distance: 11.3 miles (Weeping Rock + Observation Point + Hidden Canyon + Campground Trail)

Published in: on May 20, 2011 at 11:16 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Impressive! The information and photos make me both envious and queasy.

    • Yeah, some of the drop-offs made me queasy, too. Allison just laughed at me.

  2. The pictures are great! The views look spectacular! Despite the rain it looks like a fantastic place!

    • We both really enjoyed it, even if the weather was less than ideal.

  3. We were there about the same time as you last May and did many of the same hikes. Would love to return to Zion and explore more. Great adventure you two!
    Chris


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