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
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
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.
Park search and rescue veteran team member Bo
Beck swimming through
the Cathedral room (natural arch) in Pine Creek
Technical Canyoneering: Never enter a semi-technical or technical canyon without the knowledge and skills needed to safely explore and return. Many technical canyons, also require GPS skills or excellent map reading skills to navigate.
Rappelling skills are required to navigate through this slot canyon. Remember slot canyons can change dramatically in a short time due to flash floods and water levels in this canyon change. These directions are only a general reference. Be prepared for variations in the canyon.
Pine Creek Canyon
Tunnel East Parking for Pine Creek:
3rd Switchback optional Parking at end of Pine Creek Hike:
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.
Gear: Rope, webbing, harness and rappelling device. A sturdy pair
of shoes are recommend for canyoneering in Zion. Quality
shoes will help grip the rocks and prevent injury. Experienced Zion hikers and
canyoneers like the Sportiva Exum Ridge. This shoe is great for hiking, bouldering
Pine Creek is a technical slot canyon that is not only spectacular, but it has an easy off the highway entrance and a fairly easy exit. These two factors make it a popular slot canyon even though the actual slot is just as difficult as many of Zion slot canyons. The lighting in the cathedral of Pine Creek creates a mystical setting in the bowels of the canyon that draws canyoneers through its passage time and time again.
Pine Creek Canyon at a Glance
Photo Album: Pine Creek Pictures
Trail Maps: Pine Creek Topo Map
Day Canyon: Yes Distance: Total miles 1.4 (.5 slot and Exit .9) Average Time: 5 hours Equipment: 200' rope, webbing, harness,
rappel device, map, dry bag, helmet and a wetsuit. Technical: Last rappel is the longest at 100'. Pine
Creek also requires cold water swimming and awkward start rappels. ACA Canyon Rating: 3B II Difficulty: Technical
canyon where rappelling skills are needed. The approach and exit (hiking sections)
are easier on this canyon than most of Zion's slot canyons. Permits:
Check the weather report
before attempting this canyon. Do not go if it looks like rain. Trailhead: East side of the Zion Tunnel - Across the
road from the Canyon
Overlook Trail. Trailend: Third Switchback below the Zion tunnel Trail access: The Zion-Mt. Carmel Hwy is open year-round. Off the Beaten Path: As far as Zion Canyon's go Pine
Creek, due to its beauty and easy approach and exit, is a popular canyon. Most
groups will hike the canyon early in the day due to the easy approach. Please
let faster groups go past. Only 50 hikers are allowed in the canyon per day. Classic Zion Park Canyon: Yes Best Season: mid-June to mid-September when the water
and air are warmer. Hazards: Call the Zion Canyon Visitors Center for weather
conditions prior to the hike: (435) 772-3256. Hiking in slot canyons presents
a very real danger from flash flooding. Do not hike this trail if it is raining.
Remember a storm far off can trigger a flash flood. Pine Creek has a high flash
Pine Creek Canyon
This Canyon is a favorite of many "canyoneers" offering an easy
approach, easy exit, minimal equipment needs, and logistics for shuttle are fairly
simple. The canyon offers an absolutely delightful "slot canyon experience" with
enough technicality that it provides the hiker with the thrill of much longer
Pine Creek Beta
At the parking lot at the east end of the Zion-Mt Carmel
Tunnel drop into the wash to the southwest (immediately adjacent to parking
lot) and turn right and walk under the bridge.
Approximately 100 yards downstream
is the first obstacle. The first pool can be downclimbed on the
left side, traversing into the chimney, and lowering into the watercourse at
this chimney approximately 8'. Walk or swim through the pothole. The first
bolt anchors are on the right just above the slickrock shoulder.
This first rappel
is done as a single stage - don't pull your rope when you touch down in the
bowl 25' below; instead stay hooked into the rope and swim/walk to the narrow
slot in the of the bowl and continue rappelling an additional 25-30' to the canyon
This canyon will and has changed many times over the course of years so exact
information can and will become obsolete quickly.
Continuing down canyon may
present more swimming and scrambling soon. The next long drop that is encountered
will follow a 10' drop from a logjam into a pool of water, then a swim around
the corner to a slickrock slide. Be careful at this point, as the anchors for
the drop into the "Cathedral" are located around the corner in this
slickrock slide on the left side. This slide is often wet and slippery and sloping
down to reach the anchors and a trip at this point could be disastrous.
The Rappel into the "Cathedral" is approximately 40' and yields
some of the most unique scenery in the canyon as you descend into a large "Grotto" with
windows and natural arches adorning the chasm. This is an ideal place to get
some of those "keeper photos" however because it is quite dark inside
a tripod would assist in getting the right shot. Continue down the canyon you'll
encounter more "problem solving" downclimb's, scrambling and possible
rappels. Keep in mind that it could be very wet and a wetsuit enables you to
relax and enjoy your time in the canyon.
Soon you'll find the canyon opening up and sunlight will be a welcome sight
to warm up the bones. As you continue downstream, the terrain turns to large
boulders that will have to be negotiated for a period of time. The second to
last rappel will be done from a bolt anchor on the right side of the wash after
you have weaved your way down the boulder filled wash.
This rappel is done down a slickrock corner on a fairly low angle drop of
about 60' into another bowl. Continue thru the narrow cut in the rock after you
have reached the bottom of the wash. The canyon opens a bit with a few more boulders
to negotiate, but this time you will bear to your left. You will come to the
last 100' drop only by scrambling up a slab of slickrock on the left side of
a large boulder in the watercourse.
might be a large washed out hole to jump over to get to the 6'
high slab on the left. If you missed the jump, you would certainly fall to your
death or certain serious injury would occur.
Scramble up the slickrock slab on the left and work your way up and downstream.
Soon you will see a two bolt anchor down near the edge of the wash - dropoff.
Be careful and set the last 100' rappel. This is the rappel that many have waited
for as it is freehanging most of the way into a lush seep-fed grotto.
At the bottom of this exciting rappel, you are ready to remove wetsuits if
you haven't already done so above the second to last rappel, and coil your ropes
and prepare for the hike out using the exit trail. Stay in the watercourse proper
and work thru the boulder fields for the next .75 mile, and arrive at vehicle
stationed at the third switchback.
Exit - Pine Creek
Suggested Trailend: Station one vehicle at the third switchback (from canyon jct. in the main canyon). This trailend requires that you hike down pine creek watercourse boulder hopping and route finding for approximately .75 miles until locating the trail that exits to the left up the hillside through trees and bushes and arrives at the parking area at the third switchback.
Option: station one vehicle at the fifth switchback (from canyon Jct. in the main canyon). This trailend requires that you hike the trail above Pine Creek on the south slope below the tunnel. Access to this trail requires that you scramble up the talus slope on your left as soon as you finish the last 100' overhanging rappel. (not suggested due to impact)