The Ultimate Southwest Vacation includes Zion National Park, Utah!
Stay in Mount Carmel Junction, the heart of the parks, and
visit the treasures of the Southwest.
Zion Park 12 miles
Grand Staircase 9 miles
Sand Dunes 11 miles
Dixie Forest 22 miles
Cedar Breaks 45 miles
Red Canyon 47 miles
Coyote Butte 57 miles
Bryce Canyon 60 miles
North Rim 85 miles
Toroweap 90 miles
Plan your Zion National Park Vacation with our Utah Maps and
In these pages you will find insiders information on Zion National
Park lodging, adventures and hikes. This detailed guide includes road maps, park
maps, pictures, trail beta, backpacking, history, fees, geology, flora, fauna,
campgrounds, things for kids to do and even information on Zion's hidden treasures.
Making summer memories in the Utah National Parks and National
Directions to Zion National Park From Salt Lake City: Travel I-15 south, past Beaver.
Exit on Hwy 20. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take U-9 to Zion's east
entrance. From Arizona: Travel 89A through Fredonia, Arizona
and Kanab Utah. Follow US-89 to to Mount Carmel Junction. Take U-9 to the east
park entrance. From Las Vegas: Travel I-15 north. Take exit 16 and
travel through Hurricane. Make a right on U-9 at the second traffic light in
LaVerkin. Continue on U-9 to the south entrance of the park. U-9 through Zion
National Park is always open and is also called the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway.
an enjoyable trip through Kolob Canyon when the water level is below 3
canyoneer is Veteran Zion Search and Rescue member Bo
Parking for Kolob Creek:
Logging Road at End Of Meadow
Saddle between Boundary Canyon
and Wash leading to Kolob Creek
First Rappel into Grotto
MIA Exit in Kolob Creek
Exit at Top of MIA at Road
GPS coordinates are only references and may or may not be accurate. Do not rely on GPS coordinates as the sole method of navigation. Always have an accurate, detailed map at hand and have the proper map reading and navigation skills before setting out on any hike. Many of the hikes listed in this guide travel into canyons where a GPS has limited capabilities. Always check your position with a detailed map before dropping into a canyon.
Beta: Coordinates and other trail and canyoneering information by Zion Park search and rescue veteran team member Bo Beck.
Suggested Gear: 'Rope, webbing, harness and rappelling device. 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 post trip reports, offer corrections, updates, or for more information please visit the Zion National Park Forum
Canyoneering: Never enter a technical canyon without the knowledge and skills needed to safely explore and return. Advanced rope skills are required
to navigate through Kolob Canyon. Strong rappelling and downclimbing skills are
a must. Remember slot canyons can change dramatically
in a short time due to flash floods. These directions are only a general reference.
Be prepared for variations in the canyon.Map reading skills are required.
Kolob Canyon at a Glance
Photo Album: Kolob
Trail Maps: Kolob Canyon Topo Map
Day Canyon: Yes Distance: 10 miles Average hiking time: 13 hours - Forced bivy's are not
uncommon. Equipment: Preparation should include 2-200' ropes
(deployment bags such as the Imlay Canyon Gear Rope Silos which are highly recommended),
30' of 1' tubular webbing, a full wetsuit (7mm highly recommended) or drysuit
and proper insulative clothing for underneath, wetsuit hood or tight fitting
synthetic took, helmet, neoprene or protective gloves, sticky, self draining
footwear with neoprene socks, drybags to protect camera equipment, dry clothing
change, a rugged pack, water filter recommended, emergency bivouac gear (emergency
bag, matches and fire starting materials). Harness and rappel device and backup
ascending equipment, (purcell prusik system or the like), personal anchor system
such as a daisy chain and be sure to make several family and or friends aware
of your plans and expected finishing time and a time as to when emergency services
should be called in the event you become overdue. Technical: Dozen rappels and downclimbing. If doing
this canyon with over 3cfs of water expect water pounding your head while rappelling.
Its strongly recommended no one does this canyon when its over 3cfs! ACA Rating: 4CR IV Difficulty: Strenuous hiking, river hiking, rappeling
into many long, cold pools of water. Downclimbing skills are needed. Tricky
rope work requires strong rope skills. Permits: Yes, a permit is required. Check the weather report
before hiking this trail. Do not hike if it looks like rain or if the water in
Kolob Creek is over 3cfs. Trailhead: Lava Point Trailend: MIA route to Lava Point Trail access: Access to Lava Point can be deterred
due to snow. Off the Beaten Path: Yes, only 12 hikers are allowed
in Kolob Canyon per day. Classic Zion Canyon: No Elevation: descends 2811' and ascends 2811' Best season: mid-June to mid-September when the water
and air are warmer. Hazards: Call the Washington County Water District
at 435.673.3617 (open M-F 9-5) and find out the amount of water being released;
If it is greater than 3 cfs, including the spillover, strongly consider doing
another hike. In addition, call the Zion Canyon Visitors Center for weather conditions
prior to the hike: (435) 772-3256. Hiking in slot canyons presents a very real
danger from flash flooding. Do not hike this trail if it is raining. Remember
a storm far off can trigger a flash flood. Kolob Canyon has a moderate flash
Kolob Creek is a beautiful slot canyon in Zion National
Park, however the canyon quickly gained a reputation as a "killer" in
1993 when two Boy Scout Leaders were killed during a descent. Be prepared to
exert substantial energy to complete the canyon as a one day adventure. If the
canyon conditions allow, the best time to do the hike is in early summer when
the days are longer and ambient air temps are warmer.
Calculating water flow - The water flowing
through Kolob Creek is due to released waters from the Kolob Reservoir, located
at the head of Kolob Creek. The flow fluctuates depending on the release schedule.
Contact the Washington County Water Conservancy District at 435-673-3617 and
ask how much water is being released during the time of your planned trip through
Kolob Creek. For an experienced slot canyon hiker, 3 cubic feet per second would
be optimal and any more than 3cfs release could present very real dangers. After
high snowpack winters, there may be additional water spilling over the dam above
and beyond the amount specified as being released by Washington County Water
Conservancy District and this could be make a 3cfs release deadly to even a seasoned
slot canyon hiker. Drive up the road where Kolob Creek passes under the road
and if there is much more than a trickle to turn back and do it another day.
In addition when arriving at the first rappel, if the stream is
flowing more than ankle deep at the bottom, then waylay your trip for
another day. A permit must be secured for a planned trip thru Kolob Creek by
requesting it at the Zion National Park Backcountry Desk. 1-435-772-0170 for
Trailhead - A car shuttle is not required for a one day hike,
however excellent routefinding skills are a must. Park at the gate or nearby
the West Rim Trailhead. The West Rim Trailhead can be found by traveling just
over 20 miles north on the Kolob Reservoir Road from the town of Virgin. There
will be a sign on the right "Lava Point - West Rim Trailhead".
Travel down the dirt road, just over 2 miles, to find the West Rim Trailhead.
Begin the hike by walking back up the road in the direction that you just
drove down. Notice the grassy small meadow where the road turns to the left,
approximately 300 yards from the parking lot. Cross through the small meadow
to the backside where the hill will drop off abruptly. Look carefully for remnants
of an old logging road that traverses to the right and down. Follow this road
as it switches back and heads to the left and winds through thick vegetation,
and eventully comes alongside a drainage coming in from the left, draining to
the east (Boundary Canyon).
Cross to the north side of the drainage and scramble up the loose and densely
vegetated hillside to gain a saddle that looks down and to the north into a large
forested bowl. Work your way to the north and down and you will soon be walking
in or on the side of another drainage. Try to get on the north side of the drainage.
The drainage will deepen and there is a dryfall near the bottom of the drainage
just before it confluences with Kolob Creek.
At Kolob Creek work downstream the easiest way possible. After about 200 yards
stay on the left side of the creek and you will come to a clearing and the large "waterfall
grotto" will be to the right.
Rappelling skills are required to navigate through Kolob
Canyon. Remember slot canyons can change dramatically in a short time due to
flash floods and water levels in this canyon change. These directions are only
a general reference. Be prepared for variations in the canyon.
Kolob Canyon Beta
First Rappel - This will be the entry and first rappel into Kolob Creek. There
are webbing anchors on a pine tree in the watercourse at the waterfall, or you
may opt to use the webbing anchors on the left side located on a horizontally
growing tree. This drop is about 80' and allows entrance into the grotto before
needing to wetsuit up.
Once in the grotto the fun begins. Double check stream flow. If you can't
hear each other from the thunder of the waterfall, then jug back up and plan
another trip. If the conditions are safe then batton down the hatches, put on
your wetsuit and enjoy the beautiful sculpting, many rappels (up to 170' and
some with the cold water pounding on your head).
Slot Section - Rope management becomes crucial during the
descent. When possible set rappel length with a biner block to prevent stream-flow "rats
nests" below. Always locate the next anchor opportunity before pulling the
rope down since there may be "second drop" on the same rappel anchor.
There should be about one dozen rappels during the course of the "fluted
slot" section of Kolob Creek and next .5 miles of rappelling and swimming.
The last rappel encountered in this section of canyon is the longest at about
165' and is spectacular. Once at the bottom of this rappel and you have swam
around the corner to the beach, you have completed the the slot section of Kolob
It's now about 2 miles of "narrows" style hiking to reach the exit
point. The route out is called the MIA exit, and it's very steep and requires
several 4th class scrambling. Insure that you have planned ample time to locate
the MIA exit and to climb out of it in case of problems. You may find a rock
cairn at the exit point on your right as you hike down Kolob Creek but keep eyes
peeled and don't count on the cairn. The exit will be the first place in the
canyon that the hill side looks attainable. If you see a dryfall on your right
after a wooded hillside (20 yards past) then you have passed the exit. The exit
starts up the steep, wooded hillside just prior (upstream) from the dryfall.
Scramble up the hillside on the faint impacted trail as it veers to the left
at the base of the cliff. The trail ascends about 150' and then drops steeply
into the wash that is at the top of the dryfall. Follow the wash up and be aware
of any trails that will assist passing obstacles in the streambed. Soon the exit
becomes an easy to navigate streambed floor. Continue up to some bouldery sections
and then a dryfall, which is not up-climbable. Go back downstream about 75 yards
and look to the right while walking back down the wash. Note a steep hillside
that is worn from scrambling hikers. Go straight up this dirt - rock hillside,
aiming for a large pine tree about 200' up. At this tree a faint traversing trail
turns right and traverses the hillside above the wash and eventually puts you
in the wash above the dryfall that was impassible. Continue up this wash and
negotiate a couple of slotted dryfalls by using propped logs. Soon you will be
walking up the wash and come to a split of drainages and a cairn (maybe) on the
hill on your left. Go left and scramble up another wash. Soon a ridge presents
itself on the right. Pick the easiest route to the top of this ridge. Once on
this ridge, continue always staying to the left and out of the forming Rock Bowl
on your right. By staying left, the hillside will show obvious trails that will
go to the rim several hundred feet above and arrive at the road.
It is now an easy stroll on the road for 3 miles to arrive at the parking
area. Once topped out on MIA and on the road, bear to the right and take the
upper road at the "Y" 100 yards from the exit. This road will head
Northwest and uphill for a while and then take a right at a hair-pin curve leading
easterly for a while then hairpin and back to the west. Stay on the main road,
pass through the closed gate and then its a couple more miles back to the West