Clear Creek

Clear Creek is located on the east side of Zion National Park near the east entrance to the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. It is a wash that runs along the side of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. Although this drainage is usually dry, water can flow when the conditions are right in Zion.

At a Glance Zion Book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park
Photo Album:
Clear Creek Pictures
Map: Zion Backcountry Map
Day Hike: Yes
Distance: 2 miles round trip
Average Hiking Time: 2 hours round trip
Difficulty: Moderate because it's a route rather than a trail, but the hiking is not exerting.
Permits: Not required.
Trail Conditions: The path is through the usually dry Clear Creek stream bed. There are large boulders in some sections and sand in others. This area has a moderate flash flood danger so check weather conditions before hiking.
Trailhead: Canyon Overlook Parking lot - East side of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel.
Trailend: Same as trailhead.
Trail Access: The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway is open year-round and the trail begins just off the highway.
Off the Beaten Path: Yes, although the trailhead is in a hectic area.
Classic Zion Hike: No
Best Season: May - October when the wash is usually dry.
Water Availability: Usually none. Bring your own.
Restrooms: Vault toilets at the trailhead

Lower Clear Creek
From the east side of Zion National Park, drive along the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and park at any of the areas just east of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. The closest parking is just east of the tunnel. Walk to the restroom at the corner of the parking lot and locate the path of use, heading down into the drainage.

The drainage runs both right and left. To the right is the Pine Creek drainage leading to a technical slot canyon that requires a permit and rappel equipment. To the left is Clear Creek. The walls will close in quickly as the sandy, pebbled path runs east. Follow the drainage through the slot canyon, returning after the wash flattens out. Clear Creek runs along the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and even though the usually dry creek bed is about 50' below the road, cars and people are often heard along this route.

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It's always nice to access a hike without getting on the shuttle, so you have access to your own vehicle, your ice chest and other items of importance that you might keep in your car while exploring Zion National Park. This short slot adventure is charming, easy to get to and close to civilization. Few use this route so it is a path that is less traveled, however parking can be a problem because it's a busy parking area. The views of east side mountains, while hiking through the slot, are magnificent.

Clear Creek Options
Clear Creek continues past the lower Clear Creek slot section. The usually dry creek bed can be hiked and many side canyons, such as Hidden Gardens, can be explored. Minor slot sections are found along Clear Creek and the hike through even the flat sections of the stream bed are enjoyable and scenic.

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

Zion Backcountry Map - Trail Interactive Zion National Park Map Zion National Park Road Map Zion Shuttle - Tunnel Information
Zion's Clear Creek

Clear Creek is a fun little slot located on the east side of Zion National Park which shares the Canyon Overlook Trailhead.


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.


please link to meHidden Gardens is a wonderful excursion that can be explored from the section of Clear Creek near the small tunnel in Zion National Park.

The Gifford Canyon trailhead shares the same location as Lower Clear Creek. Take this option if looking for solitude.

Note: Using two cars is an option if large sections of Clear Creek are to be explored. Gifford Canyon has a flash flood danger. Be sure to check weather conditions at the Zion Canyon Visitors Center before entering any slot canyon.

Beta: Coordinates and other trail and canyoneering information by Zion Park search and rescue veteran team member Bo Beck and author Tanya Milligan. Bo and Tanya are also the authors of the Zion area guide: Favorite hikes in and around Zion National Park. The book includes Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Cedar Breaks, Cedar Mountain, Coyote Buttes, Slot Canyons and much more.

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. Quality shoes will help grip the rocks and prevent injury and are important to wear whenever exploring anywhere outside the classic hikes in Zion National Park.


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