The hike through Gifford Canyon is a nice stroll through a sandy wash. If there is water running it is especially charming. This hike gets you away from the crowds and into a secluded and beautiful area of Zion National Park.
At a Glance
Park in the lot located immediately east of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Locate the restroom that is sitting at the back of the parking lot and look for the trail of use, seen to the backside of the restrooms. Climb down the steep sandy path and enter the Pine Creek slot. Do not get too mesmerized by the slot canyon going to the right (Pine Creek) and to the left (Clear Creek) since these are separate hikes. Hike upstream for about 75'. This is not a trail and it is not an obvious direction to travel. Look for a 15' wall of slickrock. You can scramble up the rock or look for the beaten path on the backside of the rock.
On top of this wall the path is a narrow dirt path of use that is crowded by rock and vegetation. It winds around the mountain to an area where the path widens. To the right is a dead-end with a beautiful view of the mountain where the Canyon Overlook Trail is located. The other direction is Gifford Canyon.
Soon the path will lead past a broken stone bridge and then to another minor slickrock climb. The next mile is a sandy path with a few stones here and there and vegetation along the sides. Evidence of flash flooding is found in many places along the path. Vegetation includes some hanging gardens, ferns, pines, scarlet gila, manzanita, cottonwoods and bright yellow primrose. Towering cliffs crowd close to the walking path. At the end of the canyon there is a circle of cliffs preventing further exploration without climbing up the sandstone. To the left is an uneven blind arch and to the right is a water polished carved slab of rock.Gifford Canyon options
The strenuous and technical trail to Bridge Mountain climbs up the slickrock about halfway through Gifford Canyon. Clear Creek is to the left before climbing up the 15' slab at the start of the hike. The technical slot, Pine Creek is to the right.
Best Trail features
Note: Check the weather report before hiking this canyon. There is a danger of flash floods.
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.
Zion National Park, Utah
History of the Thunderbird
This is my new favorite quote:
"I don't know who Tanya Milligan is, but I mean www.zionnational-park.com
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park