Red Butte

Red Butte is the prominent "pyramid" shaped mountain that is visible from the Kolob Road when driving Zion Book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Parkpast Cave Valley and before the Hop Valley Trailhead. This seemingly out of place monolith is just west of the Zion National Park boundary, and situated on BLM lands. There are several parcels of private land located along the hike, but they are mostly used for grazing. This peak, "Red Butte", is a relatively short approach and does not have a lot of vertical ascent, but can be tricky nonetheless. The route finding along the way is dictated mostly by the terrain which includes bush-whacking, steep and loose scrambling, 3rd and 4th class slickrock scrambling and even a 100' 5th class climb just below the summit. It is possible to arrive at the southern base of the actual "butte" without too much difficulty and see the unique box shaped arch near a group of ponderosas, but travel beyond this point becomes much steeper and the route finding becomes somewhat tricky. As we hiked toward the mountain a beautiful arch just below the summit on the eastern side appears. The arch, Red Window Arch, is much like the Crawford Arch located on the western side of Bridge Mountain. The arch on the approach is fairly easy to get to and is unlike any other arch I've seen before. The route finding is exciting and very rewarding. The technical sections are demanding, yet straightforward and once again very rewarding. The views along the entire route are spectacular and well worth any amount of effort expended.

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

Photo Album:  Red Butte Pictures
Trail Maps: Red Butte Map
Day Hike:
Distance: 1 mile
Average Hiking Time: 5 hours
Equipment: ' A 150' rope for the 5th class section.
Technical: Strenuous; 3rd, 4th, and 5th Class.
Permits: Not required, it's on BLM land.
Trailhead: Kolob Terrace Road.
Trailend: Same as the trailhead.
Trail Access: Year-round.
Off the Beaten Path: Yes
Best Season: Year-round as long as the mountain is dry and free of snow and ice.



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

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Zion's Red Butte

Courtney Purcell and DB stand at the Peak called Red Butte.


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.


Red Butte - Begin by following the ridge to the west, bypassing the ponderosas. Soon it will be necessary to steer right as the terrain becomes steeper and a cliff band appears in front. The hillside to the right of the cliff is steep but yields with some obvious weaknesses and after .25 miles will top out on a major North - South running ridge and open plateau above. From the plateau it is necessary to travel north to the base of the slickrock mountain. Try to stay near the eastern edge of the ridge as approaching the butte base. Notice some large ponderosas at the base of the slickrock, but be sure not to miss Red Window Arch on a small rock outcropping just before arriving at the base. Now comes the route finding as the mountain has layer after layer of cliff bands. Always look for the most obvious and easiest travel, however keep in mind that there are several spots that require short up climbs. Occasionally the gullies are very steep and don't seem like the right way, but with some exploring decisions will be necessary. The route we followed took us toward the actual peak initially, but as we went higher we found weaknesses that put us toward the eastern side of the mountain. At a very high spot it was necessary to find a ramp that lead into a ramp on the western side of the ridge. Once up the very steep slickrock ramp we were just 100' below the summit and confronted with 5th class climbing. There is a hidden chimney that faces left and seems unsure, but by working onto a ledge and bypassing a loose block we were able to get into the chimney and ascend 50' to a single bolt anchor on top of the pedestal. From the bolt is another ledge and a very short vertical section before becoming a short 20' scramble to the summit. There is a register on top and a rope anchored to a bush for the descent. We rappelled back to the bolt (be careful of the pendulum), and then threw the rope from the bolt off the face rather than try to rappel back down the chimney. A 150' rope is adequate for the 5th class section.

GPS Coordinates WGS84 Datum

zion National Park CanyoneeringTurn off Kolob Road onto Dirt Road
37°20.030 N
113°07.070 W

Route Begins
37°21.491 N
113°08.391 W

Red Window Arch
37°21.576 N
113°08.703 W

Summit of Red Butte
37°21.746 N
113°08.784 W

Beta: Coordinates and other trail and canyoneering information by Zion Park search and rescue veteran team member Bo Beck and author Tanya Milligan.

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.


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