Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hiking in Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park, Utah

From our location outside St. George, the Kolob Canyons area of Zion National Park is more accessible than when we will be staying in Zion (next week), so we decided to head up there, check it out, and enjoy a hike.

The Kolob Canyon area is actually higher in altitude than the rest of Zion, and is accessible by taking exit 40 form I-15. The cost to enter Zion is $25/vehicle for a week, unless, of course, you have one of the America the Beautiful passes. At Kolob Canyons there is a small Visitor’s Center and a nicely paved 5 mile road you can drive or bike. There are many turn-outs and the views were quite breathtaking. However, the reason for our travels to the Kolob Canyons area was a hike.

The Taylor Creek Hike is a 5.4 mile round-trip, 450’ elevation gain hike of easy-to-moderate difficulty (we took just under 3 hours to complete the hike). The hike begins with stairs embedded in the trail that go down, then up, then down a few times, until you’re within the walls of the canyons. The views are amazing – the orange-red walls are massive. Once in the canyon, you’ll follow Taylor Creek, zig-zagging back-and-forth over the creek 20 times at least. The creek flow wasn’t too high, and we were able to step on rocks and logs to stay dry, but as the day wore on and the sun melted more snow, the water did rise a bit for our return walk. About 1 ½ miles into the hike, there is Larson Cabin, built in the 1930’s by Gustav Larson.

About another mile into the hike is another cabin, the Fife Cabin, also built in the 1930’s for Arthur Fife.

The trail then became a bit snowy, as the canyon walls were higher, the canyon narrower, and the sun shined less in this area.

The trail ends at Double Arch Alcove, which was massive, colorful, snowy and icy. We tried, but it’s one of those things that’s difficult to capture in a photograph.

On our return (which is always faster since we stop and take most of our pictures when we are first on our hikes) we saw a couple large mule deer enjoying a mid-afternoon snack. It was interesting because we heard them walking up the hillside brush first, then spotted them. If we hadn’t heard them first, we easily could have walked right by these guys and not seem them, despite their size.

This was a great hike – a good family hike as there are lots of places to stop, and there were a lot of interesting things along the way.


Jerry and Suzy said...

How fine it is to get out in these places and see things most folks will never see. The cabins were interesting. Were you able to go inside, or might they not have been stable? And that Double Arch Alcove! Your picture had great detail, including the tiny icicles hanging inside the arch, which we suppose come from water seeping through cracks.

Thanks once again, and we just know the trail is not accessible!

Suzanne and Brad said...


No, you can't go inside the cabins, but it's easy to see inside. They were quite small - maybe 12x10 or 15x12. Hmmm...I think our rig is larger! =)

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