Kolob Canyons

Zion National Park is one of my favorite places in the world.  Its soaring orange and cream cliffs are punctuated with narrow canyons, epic views, and watery grottos.  However, the downside of all this splendor is that everyone knows about it, and Zion can feel like a zoo on nice spring days.  Jordan and I wanted to spend some time in Zion, but we didn't want to deal with the swarm of humanity.  Luckily, the Kolob Canyons section of the park is removed from most of the insanity.  Kolob Canyon is located 33 miles north of St. George, just off I-15.  Despite being so close to the interstate, it doesn't get nearly as many visitors as the Zion Valley.  It sounded perfect -- we packed up the car and drove north for a day trip.

We started off by driving 5 miles to the road's end at the Kolob Canyon Viewpoint.  We walked the quick 0.5 mile Timber Creek Overlook Trail and got gigantic views of Kolob Canyons, the Kolob Terrace, and the Pine Valley Mountains.  It was cloudy and windy during our visit, but rumor has it that on a clear day you can look south and see Mt. Trumbull 100 miles away at the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

Timber Creek Overlook Trail

We then started to backtrack along the main road, and did a 5-mile round trip hike along the Taylor Creek Trail.  The trail follows a trickling creek deep into a narrow box canyon, eventually reading the Double Arch Alcove.  The entire path was lined with leafy trees -- I love the desert, but it's definitely nice to get a solid does of springtime green.

Taylor Creek Trail

Double Arch Alcove

This trip was also a recon mission to check out the La Verkin Creek Trail, which leads to Kolob Arch.  I definitely want to do this hike someday soon -- it's a 14.0 mile backpacking trip into the Zion Wilderness to one of the world's largest natural arches.  If our quick visit to Kolob Canyons is any indication, a backpacking trip would be even more amazing.  I'll be back.

map credit:  nps.gov/zion