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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 Information

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 Monuments.



Zion National Park Map

Zion National Park Map

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.

Oversized Vehicle Information
Zion Canyon Shuttle Information

Chinle Trail

The Chinle Trail is located in the far Southwest section of Zion and this part of the park is too hot for summer hiking, but it is nice in the winter when other Zion trails are closed.

Options: Exploration of the Chinle Trail, Coalpits, Scoggins or Huber Wash.

GPS Coordinates
WGS84 Datum

Parking and Trailhead
37°09.671 N
113°01.133 W

Chinle Trail - Coalpits
Wash confluence
37°12.948 N
113°04.638 W

Coalpits Spring
37°12.911 N
113°04.746 W

Coalpits Campsites
37°12.952 N
113°04.693 W

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 and www.zionnational-park.com author Tanya Milligan.

To post trip reports, offer corrections, updates, or for more information please visit the Zion National Park Forum

Suggested 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.

This article by Bo and Tanya was published in the St. George Today Magazine.




Chinle Trail

Winter in Utah's Southwest desert leaves many popular hikes inaccessible due to snow, ice and other obstacles and dangers. But in turn, it opens up a diverse array of routes and trails that are ideal for cold weather adventure. The high desert routes, avoided when temperatures soar in the summer, make top notch winter treks. The low desert Chinle Trail, located outside the highly touristed section of Zion, still offers lofty mountain vistas throughout much of the hike including views of the West Temple, Mount Kinesava, Towers of the Virgin, Sundial and the eerie spires of Eagle Crags. At the end of the route, hikers are graced with views of remote Cougar Mountain and Smith Mesa. Treasures, such as petrified-wood, can be found in select areas of this hike, but remember you are in a National Park and collecting anything like this is forbidden by the NPS.

Chinle Trail at a Glance
Photo Album:
Chinle Trail Pictures
Topo Map:
Chinle Topo Map
Trail Map:
South Zion Trail Map
Day Hike
: Yes, this route can be accomplished as a long winter day hike, but due to the short winter days make sure you have enough time to return.
Distance: 15.4 miles round trip
Average Hiking Time: 8 hours is average, but make sure you have enough time to return before the short winter days come to an end.
Difficulty: This is a long, but moderate route lacking major elevation changes.
Permits: Required only for camping .
Trail conditions: The path is sandy and easy to walk on if it's dry and there is little reprieve from the hot sun. Due to the full sun on the path and the low elevation of this trail, it is not recommended in the summer. The clay content in the soil makes the footpath difficult after a rain or snow storm. Hiking when the path is wet also leaves deep footprints which are uncomfortable for others to hike on once the trail dries.
Trailhead: The trailhead is located outside the south entrance of Zion National Park, about a block south of the "Springdale Fruit Company" in Springdale. Enter the commercialized area, at the Anasazi Plateau housing development, and take the immediate right located at the top of the hill. The hill is steep making the turn-off difficult to see, but be sure you do not go into the housing section.
Trailend: Same as starting point
Trail Access: Year-round access. The trailhead is just off Highway 9.
Elevation Gain: 650'
Starting Elevation: 3800'
Highest Elevation: 4450'
Off the Beaten Path
: Yes
Classic Zion Hike: No
Best Season: This is a good trail for winter hiking but due to the length it is not possible for all hikers to complete it during the short winter days. This is a good route for trail runners when the weather is cool.
Water availability: Coalpits Wash generally has flowing water. Coalpits Spring is located .2 miles downstream (in Coalpits Wash) from the junction of Chinle Trail and Coalpits Wash. Both sources should be filtered or purified.

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. Do not get on the Zion Canyon Shuttle to hike the trail on this page.

Chinle Trail
Drive 3.5 miles from Zion's south entrance booth and look for the turn-off on the north side of Highway 9, just past the fruit stand. There are homes built (Anasazi Plateau Subdivision) on the north hill above the trailhead parking lot. Turn onto the steep Anasazi Road, drive uphill for a short distance and look for an immediate right hand turn-off. The turn-off to the Chinle Trailhead is unmarked at this point. Park in the large flat, dirt area. There is a trail information kiosk at the parking area. To begin the trail, follow the switchbacks uphill, cross the paved road and continue up the wash, following the beaten path under the bridge. Continue to the hikers gate and kiosk, passing through and closing the gate behind you. Once inside the gate you are within Zion National Park boundaries. Please remember to remain on the obvious trail so fragile cryptobiotic soil is not destroyed. Follow the narrow sandy path as it crosses the northern edge of the Rockville Bench and passes through the high desert juniper forest. After 3 miles the trail crosses Huber Wash, which flows south and eventually drains into the Virgin River. As the trail slowly gains elevation, pinion trees increasingly cover the land and the views to the north, west and south unfold.

Petrified Wood
While crossing the Rockville Bench and before arriving at Scoggins Wash, notice how t he Petrified Forest is sprinkled with all sorts of wood and crystal treasures. This section of the trail, along the Chinle formation, is where the hike gets its name. Chinle is a Triassic shale that has shards of petrified wood.

Scoggins Wash Confluence
The next wash,located 5 miles into the hike, is Scoggins Wash, another drainage of the Virgin River. The trail bears southwest between the Scoggins and Coal Pits Washes and soon meets the junction of the Old Scoggins Stock Trail.

Old Scoggins Stock Trail Intersection
Almost a mile and a half ( 1.35 miles) after rounding the head of Scoggins Wash is the intersection of the Old Scoggins Stock Trail, which descends steeply into the bottom of Scoggins Wash. At this intersection, follow the right hand trail that leads to Coalpits Wash. It is only 1.3 miles to Coalpits from this intersection.

Coalpits Wash
The Chinle Trail ends at Coalpits Wash, yet another drainage of the Virgin River. To locate the campsites, cross the stream and walk downstream 50 yards (where there is a trail that turns right and away from the wash). There are some level campsites in this area and the spring is nearby making it the ideal area to spend the night. This is the end of the Chinle Trail but if time allows, hikers can explore Coalpits Wash. Coalpits Wash is probably the most enjoyable of the southern Zion hikes due to water running in the wash.

Coalpits Spring
From the junction of Coalpits and Chinle walk downstream in Coalpits Wash for a short distance (.2 miles) and look on the right bank for flowing water. Make sure to filter or purify any water found in Coalpits Wash or the spring.

A car shuttle could be placed at Coalpits Wash and Highway 9. Hike the Chinle Trail from the trailhead and once arriving at Coalpits Wash, walk in the wash to the south for 3.6 miles to arrive at Highway 9. There is usually running water in Coalpits Wash, so have appropriate footwear and clothing for the season.

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Zion National Park waterfall

There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast.

-- Paul Scott Mowrer

Photo: Pine Creek Waterfall
Photography by Tanya

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