Hidden Canyon is not a typical canyon, but instead a 'hanging canyon. It is a side ravine between Cable Mountain and the north wall of the Great White Throne. The Virgin River down-cuts deeply as everyone that has visited Zion Canyon observes, but its tributaries are not able to work as efficiently and thus leave a higher canyon floor such as that of Hidden Canyon. Climbers have been known to refer to it as the “Great White Crack." This crack was found in 1927 when William Evans attempted to climb the Great White Throne, Zion's most famous landmark, and fell during the climb. While searching for Evans, who was miraculously found alive, rescuers discovered the hidden ravine that is now known as Hidden Canyon. A year later, in 1928, the Hidden Canyon Trail was made allowing park visitors into the ravine where sheer sandstone walls of Zion's enormous landmarks rise hundreds of feet to enclose hikers between them. If there is enough rainfall and runoff a waterfall might be present at the canyon entrance. Once you have gone beyond the end of the actual trail and into the ravine look for small sandstone caves and a 20-foot natural arch. The structure sits at ground level, but is missed by most due to the greenery on and near the stone making it blend in as a chameleon would with its background. Locals call this the "green wall".
At a Glance
Directions - This very steep, 2.2-mile round-trip hike begins at the same trailhead as Weeping Rock, Observation Point and the East Rim Trail. The Weeping Rock Trail will split off to the left and the East Rim, Observation Point and Hidden Canyon Trails will share the path until Hidden Canyon breaks off to the right at the signed junction. The winding Hidden Canyon Trail hugs the side of the cliff and although much of it is wide, there are long drop-offs throughout the hike. Be prepared for a steep uphill climb (850 foot ascent) and a steep downhill return. Before reaching the canyon entrance you must shimmy around a large rock buttress as the trail switchbacks around man-made rock retaining walls. As you make your way up the switchbacks, a white mountain peaks over the nearby rock, then at the end of the next switchback the Pipe Organ and surrounding rocks at Big Bend come into full view.
There is a sign here directing hikers to stay to the left. The trail will go downhill now as granaries and the Virgin River are in view far below. Moss and lichens cover the large rock to the left in the cool crevice as the trail goes uphill once again. Many sections along the switchbacks are narrow paths with long cliff-side drop offs. Chains are anchored along the worst of it. Sandstone pools at the end of this hike are a favorite spot of canyon tree frogs. Look for the tiny gray creatures near the water and listen for their loud trilling. Past the pools is a sign stating that this is the end of the Hidden Canyon Trail. A short path that requires bouldering does continue for another half-mile past the trail end. A small free standing arch is located near the canyon back. Directly across from the arch is a flat wall adorned in moss – called the Green Wall. Past this point the trail becomes technical. The climb will lead out of the canyon to the upper east plateau. The second freestanding arch in Hidden Canyon is near the top where only a few skilled canyoneers and climbers have tread. Turn around when the hike becomes difficult. On the trek back down into Zion Canyon, note the antique cable draw on Cable Mountain as well as the intoxicating view including Big Bend, Angels Landing, Cathedral Mountain and the Organ.
Trail History - On June 27th, 1927, a climber named Evans fell while climbing the Great White Throne Rescuer discovered Hidden Canyon during his rescue. Hidden Canyon was placed on the list of Historic Places on February 14th, 1987.
Optional Side Hikes - The trail will split, going one way to Hidden Canyon and the other to the East Rim and Observation Point. Observation Point is an 8 mile round-trip trail that is probably the most strenuous "classic hike" in the park. The East Rim Trail is better hiked in the opposite direction, ending where the Hidden Canyon trail begins. If hiked this direction then Hidden Canyon is a nice side trip. Middle Echo Canyon is also interesting. Echo Canyon Non-technical Echo Canyon
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
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Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park