Kolob Arch Kolob Arch from a rare angle

Kolob Arch flaunts one of the longest spanning freestanding arches in the world. The structure is an adult alcove natural arch perched high on an exposed cliff. It was created as a result of vertical joint expansion, wall collapse and erosion. The Natural Arch and Bridge Society, after measuring in 2006, came to the conclusion that Kolob Arch is the second longest natural arch in the world measuring 287.4 feet. This leaves Zion's arch about three feet shorter than Arches National Park's pride, Landscape Arch. If the long debate over which is the longer of the two arches is not over now, it could end in the near future since Landscape Arch is near the end of its lifecycle. Kolob Canyons, where the arch lies, is in the far northwestern and less visited section of Zion National Park, accessed off I-15 at exit 40 near Cedar City. The hike to the landmark can be done as a leisurely backpack or a long day hike. Kolob Arch can also be seen by hiking through Hop Valley, located off the Kolob Terrace Road.

The picture above shows a unique view of Kolob Arch that few ever see.

Kolob Arch at a Glancezion National Park Canyoneering
Photo Album:
Kolob Arch Pictures
Trail Maps: Kolob Arch Topo Map
At a Glance
Day Hike:
Kolob Arch can be done as a long day hike but many prefer to take two days or even stretch it into a multi-day backpacking trip.
Distance: 14 mile round-trip.
Average Hiking Time: 12 hours round-trip.
Equipment: Take at least 3 quarts of water per person as well as a means to purify or filter it, energy food, comfortable hiking shoes that would dry quickly if they get wet, dry socks, sun protective clothing, extra clothing for possible changes in the weather, insect repellant and emergency gear.
Difficulty: This is a strenuous hiking trail when done as a day hike, but only moderately strenuous as a backpack. Much of the path is soft sand leading to some leg fatigue and there may be several stream crossings.
Sun Exposure: Expect full sun during most of the hike.
Trail Usage: Moderate
Permits: A permit is required for camping, but not needed if you plan to just day hike. There are 18 campsites: Six are available by reservation and 12 are saved for walk-in. The maximum group size is 12. For more information and campsite availability visit:
Trail Conditions: This is a maintained dirt path.
Trailhead: Begin at the Lee Pass parking area within the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park, 3.7 miles up the scenic drive from the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center.
Trailend: Same as the trailhead.
Trail Access: Snow pack, slick, wet, and steep trail conditions generally deter most hikers in the winter months; however, in low precipitation winters the hike may be possible.
Best Season: The best time to hike this trail is in the spring and fall. Summer is also nice if you get an early start, otherwise it can be a hot day due to lack of shade, even though it is usually about 10 degrees cooler in Kolob Canyons than Zion Canyon. If you choose to do this hike in the winter, keep in mind that the road leading to the trailhead might close temporarily due to snow.
Elevation: Trailhead: 6100 feet, Trailend: 5400 feet
Lowest Elevation: 5000 feet
Off the Beaten Path: No.
Water Availability: Water is generally available a mile into the hike at Timber Creek, but in dry years it might not be present until Laverkin Creek which is located about 4 miles from the trailhead. Once at La Verkin Creek, water will be abundant until the intersection with the short half-mile spur trail to Kolob Arch. Water should always be purified and or filtered before drinking.

See our vacation planning section for classic Zion National Park trails or choose from a complete Zion National Park hiking guide or the Kolob hiking guide.

Zion National Park Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map

Day Hiking - If doing this as a day hike instead of a backpack, this viewpoint is a great place to get out of the sun, take a lunch break, relax and regenerate for the hike back out. La Verkin Creek may entice you to take a quick refresher dip and cool off before the hike back begins.

Backpacking - Four campsites dot the first 3 miles of the hike from the trailhead and the remaining 14 are within the next 5 miles. Camping is allowed only in designated sites.

Lee Pass - A view of Kolob Arch can be accessed from several different points, such as from Kolob Reservoir area, but you need to obtain permission to cross private property. It can also be seen from the Hop Valley Trailhead in the Lower Kolob Plateau. The following description begins at the Lee Pass Trailhead in the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park.

Directions to Zion National Park

From the North: Travel I-15 south, past Beaver. exit on Hwy 20. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to Zion's east entrance.
From Arizona: Travel US-89A through Fredonia, Arizona and Kanab Utah. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to the east park entrance.
From the South: Travel I-15 north. Take exit 16 and travel through Hurricane to LaVerkin. Continue on SR-9 to the south entrance of the park. SR-9 through Zion National Park is always open and is also called the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. See restrictions for RV's

Zion National Park Maps
Kolob Arch

Bo Beck at Kolob Arch in Zion National Park which is the parks biggest arch and one of the world's largest arches.


Lodging Zion National Park
Lodging Zion National ParkLodging and services are available on the gorgeous east side of Zion National Park, where guests are close to Zion National Park (12 miles), Bryce Canyon National Park (60 miles), Cedar Breaks National Monument (45 miles), Coral Pink Sand Dunes (12 miles), and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (85 miles). It's where city traffic is absent and the skies are bright and clean.


Trailhead - Drive 16 miles south of Cedar City on I-15 or 32 miles north of St. George on I-15 and take exit 40. This leads to the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center and a scenic drive with breathtaking views of the towering cliffs of the Kolob fingers. A short but impressive road from the visitor center is the parking lot for the Lee Pass Trailhead. The views of Tucupit Point, Paria Point and Beatty Point are delightful but less known than Zion's main landmarks, since this side of the park is less frequented than the main section of Zion. The first mile of the hike, from the Lee Pass Trailhead, descends a moderately steep ridge, shortly contouring in and out of Timber Creek for the next 2 miles, then it rounds Shuntavi Butte and bears to the east around the western tip of Gregory Butte. Slowly, the trail winds through Pinyon and Juniper trees and descends into the riparian La Verkin Creek drainage. At La Verkin Creek the path is relatively flat, but sand makes the progress tedious at times. Halfway through the meander, alongside La Verkin Creek, the trail crosses a flowing spring fed stream. After two miles of hiking, you will arrive at the junction of the Kolob Arch Trail, where you will head left, north, and leave the sandy travel behind. A half-mile past the junction, you will get your first glimpse of the impressive Kolob Arch, which is high up and on the left. The structure rests on the shear cliffband walls northeast of Gregory Butte Formation.

Beta: Coordinates and other trail and canyoneering information by Zion Park search and rescue veteran team member Bo Beck and www.zionnational-park author, Tanya Milligan.

Suggested Gear: A sturdy pair of shoes are recommend for canyoneering in Zion . Quality shoes will help grip the rocks and prevent injury. Experienced Zion hikers and canyoneers like the Sportiva Exum Ridge. This shoe is great for hiking, bouldering and canyoneering.

To offer corrections, updates, etc... or for more information please visit the Zion National Park Forum



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Kolob Arch Viewpoint

  kolob arch

Freestanding Arches in Zion

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Jug Handle Arch
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Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park
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