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.
Gear: A sturdy pair of shoes are recommend to hike the trails in Zion National
Park. Many quality shoes will help grip the rocks and prevent injury. Experienced
Zion hikers and canyoneers like the La Sportiva Exum Ridge. This shoe is great
for hiking, bouldering and canyoneering.
Pine Creek is a narrow slot canyon that flows into a beautiful stream seen on the lower sections of the Zion Switchbacks. Hikers can follow the stream by boulder hopping and making their way through the water.
Pine Creek at a Glance
Photo Album: Pine
Creek Pictures Photo Album: Waterfall
Pictures Map: Pine
Creek Trail Map Day Hike: Yes Distance: 3 miles Average Hiking Time: 4 hours Difficulty: Moderate with a lot of boulder hopping. Permits:
Not required. Trail Conditions: The path is through the Pine Creek stream
and along the sides of the water, over boulders and through sand. The boulder hopping can be on slippery rocks and there is unsure footing in many places. This is not a classic
Zion Park Trail, but a route through and along Pine Creek. Trailhead: Third switchback along the Zion-Mt. Carmel
Highway. Trailend: Same as starting point. Trail Access: The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway is open year-round and the trail begins just off the highway. Off the Beaten Path: Yes Classic Zion Hike: No Best Season: May-September when the water is warm. Water Availability: It's easier to bring your own,
but the hike is along and through a creek. Restrooms: None
See our vacation planning section for classic Zion National Park trails or glance at our favorite Zion National Park trails list or choose from a complete Zion National Park hiking guide. Don't get on the Zion Canyon Shuttle to hike the trail on this page.
Pine Creek Hike
Pine Creek Trailhead: From the east side of
Zion National Park pass through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Drive down the steep
winding road. There are several switchbacks or large winding turns. The Great
Arch looms above the first switchback. This is a large blind arch carved
into the mountain side. Pass the next switchback and park at the third switchback.
This turn has a large pullout on the left side of the road with plenty of room to park at. There is a short rock fence
across the road. From the fence the path of use is visible. The dirt path down
to Pine Creek is steep and the sand is loose. Use caution. Remember this area
since you will need to exit here.
Skinny Dipping Pond: The dirt path will descend into what the
locals call the "Skinny
Dipping Pond." Not long ago the area was relatively unknown, so it is was possible to
skinny dip here, but those days are gone. Large boulders here frame a deep
pond. Refrain from diving since flash floods rearrange the area often and dangerous
rocks can be present. Pine Creek is spring fed so the flow is fairly constant year-round.
Pine Creek goes to the right and the left and both directions are worth exploring.
Pine Creek Options:
Exploration toward the tunnel: Hiking in this direction
will lead to a charming area beneath the Great Arch. Immediately, the trail will
flatten out compared to the other parts of Pine Creek. Ahead are several pools
of water, small waterfalls, flora and scenery galore. To the left, Mount Spry looms
as well as a unique view of the East
the return path you can see the Streaked Wall, the Beehives and
other magnificent Zion National Park monoliths. It takes an average of about 3 hours to
explore from the "skinny dipping pond"
to the ponds under the Great Arch. Return
to the skinny dipping pond and locate the trail of use back up to the parking
area at the switchbacks. Help to reduce erosion of the hillside in this area and stay on the beaten paths!
Exploration: From the skinny dipping pond it
takes about 1 hour to get to the parking area for the Pine
Creek Waterfall route. If you are using one car, just hike up to the waterfall
and return back to the skinny dipping pond to exit. This section of Pine Creek
Two car option: Park one car at the trailhead
for the Pine Creek Route and take another car to the trailhead for the
Pine Creek Waterfall route.
Trailhead for the two car option: This route
will take an average of 5 hours. There is an obvious path of use from the parking
area to the creek. Make your way along the creek to the waterfall. There are
dirt paths along most of the obstacles, but be prepared to climb and scale some
narrow sections of rock. Hike to the waterfall, then locate the path of use to
the right that goes up and around the falls. Do not climb the waterfall itself.
Follow Pine Creek upstream to the skinny dipping pond. Take note of this area
since it will be your exit. This is the largest pool along the route, and there
are trails of use up the side on the right, that lead to where your second car
is parked. Continue along the creek to the pools beneath the Great Arch. Turn
around here and return to the skinny dipping pond. The exit path is now on your
left. Climb the steep dirt path up to the road. Stay on the beaten paths.
Note: Pine Creek is a flash food area
and should not be entered if it looks like it will rain or is raining. There
is flash flood debris along the sides of the creek as a reminder. Check the weather
conditions before entering this area. The Zion Canyon Visitor Center has the
current weather conditions
posted and has flash flood warning information.
The Waterfall: Waterfalls are not abundant in
Zion and this beautiful area is easily accessed compared to the other Zion National Park
hikes to similar places. Swimming in the pool is permissible. There is a sandy
area around the water that is surrounded by large boulders. Tiny Canyon
Tree Frogs are found throughout the Pine Creek area. Take care not to step
on these tiny creatures or their tadpoles.
Best Trail Features: Access without getting
on the shuttle is always nice. Along this trail there are beautiful views of the Beehives, West
Temple, Mount Spry, Streaked Wall and the Great Arch. There are some hoodoos on the
mountaintops visible along the trail.
When the great earth, abandoning day, rolls up the deeps of the
heavens and the universe, a new door opens for the human spirit .. For a moment
of night we have a glimpse of ourselves and of our world islanded in its stream
of starts - pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between horizons across eternal seas
of space and time.