Mount Kinesava Zion Book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park

This rugged route is in the far Southwestern corner of Zion where the elevation is low and the temperatures soar.  Opt to hike this during the cooler months, but after the ice on the mountain side has melted. It's a shame that people build their homes on the boundaries of Zion National Park and then try and prevent others from accessing the park, however, please respect their wishes and DO NOT CROSS PRIVATE PROPERTY. Begin this route at the Chine Trailhead. The property owners have actually contacted a lawyer to stop hikers from crossing near their property and will prosecute.

You can also start West Temple and the Cowboy Ridge climbing route from Chinle as seen on Bo's map.
Our updated trailhead will add 2 hours to the trip, which means that now fewer of you should ever attempt it. DO NOT GET STUCK ON THIS ROUTE IN THE DARK!!!!!

Mount Kinesava at a Glance Zion's Mt. Kinesava - Bo Beck
Photo Album: Mt. Kinesava Pictures
Maps: Mt. Kinesava Topo Map
Backcountry Map - Overview Map
Day Hike: Yes
Trail Distance: 2.5 mile plus 2 miles to start at and return to the Chinle Trailhead.
Average Hiking Time: 9 hours plus the added time to start and return to the Chinle Trailhead.
Trail Usage: Usually only 2-weeks out of the year.
Difficulty: Very strenuous, loose scree and talus, 4th class scrambling, remote, steep hike.
Permits: Not required.
Trailhead: Chinle Trailhead.
Trailend: Same as trailhead
Trail Conditions: Unmaintained and rugged route. Wear long pants or gators to protect your legs during the parts of the trail with heavy brush. Excellent navigation skills are required.
Best Season: This can only be done a couple of weeks during each year, if at all. Summer is too hot, winter and early Spring there is ice and snow on the ramp. In the Fall the days might be too short, especially when having to avoid private property at the trailhead. Late April to early May is good if all the snow and ice are gone from the ramp.
Off the Beaten Path: Yes. The trail is fun for the hardcore hiker that has done it all and is looking for a challenge.
Classic Zion Hike: No
Elevation Gain: 2812 feet
Starting Elevation: 4069 feet
Highest Elevation: 6881 feet at the Petroglyphs
Water Availability: None

Zion National Park Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Mt. Kinesava - This is a strenuous uphill trek, on loose scree and talus. Excellent route finding skills are a must. There is 4th class scrambling along the ramp to the end of the hike. The reward at the top is a spectacular view of Zion, far below and some ancient petroglyphs that are rarely seen by anyone. We assume if you are going to do this difficult of a hike you respect ancient rock are, so we have included directions. Remember the slightest touch can damage the ancient rock art. Treat it with the respect you would a piece of art in a museum. Mount Kinesava's peak is 7276', but this hike does not go that far. From the park boundary head up the ridge. The ridge winds to the south of the large drainage, below on the north. Hike southwest, staying on top of the ridge, headed toward the power line pole. Get on top of the ridge at the power line pole, turn to the (right) northwest, following the ridge toward the juniper table top. It's about a 500' ascent up the ridge.

Directions to Zion National Park

From the North: Travel I-15 south, past Beaver. exit on Hwy 20. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to Zion's east entrance.
From Arizona: Travel US-89A through Fredonia, Arizona and Kanab Utah. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to the east park entrance.
From the South: Travel I-15 north. Take exit 16 and travel through Hurricane to LaVerkin. Continue on SR-9 to the south entrance of the park. SR-9 through Zion National Park is always open and is also called the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. See restrictions for RV's

Zion National Park Maps
Mt. Kinesava - Zion Petroglyphs

Mt. Kinesava Petroglyphs: Native Americans named Mt. Kinesava after the mischievous "Coyote God of the Canyon." The Paiute God was blamed for many misdeeds including sending smoke signals to their enemies, the Navajos, telling them of their location. In more recent times, the author of one of the great, historic backcountry guides for Zion National Park, Thomas Brereton, died in an accident on the loose slopes of Mt. Kinesava in 1979.


Lodging Zion National Park
Lodging Zion National ParkLodging and services are available on the gorgeous east side of Zion National Park, where guests are close to Zion National Park (12 miles), Bryce Canyon National Park (60 miles), Cedar Breaks National Monument (45 miles), Coral Pink Sand Dunes (12 miles), and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (85 miles). It's where city traffic is absent and the skies are bright and clean.


Zion's Mt. Kinesava - Bo BeckChinle Trailhead - Drive 3.5 miles from Zion's south entrance booth and look for the turn-off on the north side of SR- 9, just past the Springdale Fruit Company. Sadly, there are homes built (Anasazi Plateau Subdivision) on the north hill above the trailhead parking lot but the National Park has secured access to Zion from this trailhead. 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.

Mt. Kinesava - Walk several hundred yards on the Chinle Trail before leaving the path to bear north-northeasterly, aiming for a long ridge that ascends up and through the Springdale Layer Cliffband. This route is longer and more timely than the route that traditionally has been followed from Serendipity Lane in the Town of Springdale, but avoids the private property of those who have built their homes on the historical trailhead leading to Mt. Kinesava, West Temple and a popular climbing route, Cowboy Ridge.

Rocky Area marked with Cairns - The ridge runs north towards Mt. Kinesava. Loose rocks and dirt make the path to a rocky area above that is marked with cairns. This point is above the first Springdale layer of rock. Continue heading north/northwest, across the flats, through the prickly pear cactus and junipers. You will come to the first drainage. The base of the cliffs are visible to the north.

"Dark Cliff" Landmark - Shoot for the base of the dark cliff that's to the north/northwest. Cross the drainages on the way to the dark cliff, gaining elevation with each one. At the major drainage, head to the south, looking for a shallow spot to cross, getting to the north side of it. There is a ridge on the side of the drainage that makes travel easier. Top out on the second plateau, among the pinion's and junipers. The "dark cliff" landmark becomes evident. Note the blind arch on the lower section.

Bo Beck on Cowboy Ridge - Start this climb at Chinle Trail as wellMt. Kinesava Ramp System - Once you have neared the base of the "Brown Cliffs" there will be a drainage between you and the cliff base. Don't enter the drainage, rather, turn southwest and pick your way up the slope to the southwest. This will be a steep slope with a few short cliff bands to negotiate. After about .25 miles you will crest the top of this slope and see a bushy rock ramp leading back to the north/northwest.

Turn around and head back if there is ice or snow on the ramps.

About 100 meters south from the base of the "dark cliff" landmark, head west/southwest (left) up the steep ascent. There is some 4th class scrambling, to the top of the drainage. Stay on the ridge to the south of the drainage (saddle).

Final Ramp to the top of the Saddle - The ramp system that heads back to the north is at the top of the drainage. Take the path to the right, rather than hugging the sheer cliff to the left. This does not look like a ramp, in fact it looks like a scramble of boulders, but its the path to take.

Hoodoos on Top - Head due north to the two hoodoos above. Kinesava is the peak back behind and to the left.

Photo: Bo Beck on Cowboy Ridge.

Zion's Mt. Kinesava - Bo Beck

Mt. Kinesava Petroglyphs - Once on top it's a short hike (.3 miles) to the petroglyphs. Once you reach the top of the ramp and arrive at the hoodoos, you will see a faint trail through the thicket of trees. Pop out on the other side of the trees and look for a couple of ponderosa trees to the south, next to a sandstone outcropping. Walk toward the ponderosa's and through the large valley of cacti and low bushes (trees). Take the easiest route to the south/southwest heading for a ramp system and a north facing short cliff band. The petroglyphs are on a large, flat rock face.

Landmarks - The East Temple towers above the other mountains. To the north (left) is the Twin Brothers, then Mountain of the Sun. The smaller mountain in the forefront is Mt. Spry. On the south or right of the East Temple is Bridge Mountain, Watchman and Johnson Mountain

GPS Coordinates - WGS84 Datum

Rocky Area
with Cairns
5026 feet


"Dark Cliff"
View Point
5506 feet
Top of Saddle

Hoodoos on Top
6830 feet

Treat this ancient art as you would that in any indoor museum with care and respect.
Do not touch them in any manner. Do not build a fire near them.

Kinesava Petroglyphs
Elevation: 6881 feet

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.


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Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park

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