By Michael Lanza
Hiking in the Kolob Canyons area of Zion National Park, you get down to business with five-star scenery with your first step from your car. At the Lee Pass Trailhead, Taylor Creek Trailhead, or the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint, you’re immediately greeted with views of crimson cliffs soaring hundreds of feet tall. Then it just keeps getting better.
Located in the far northwest corner of Zion, a one-hour drive and a world removed from the crush of tourists at the park’s south entrance in Springdale, the Kolob Canyons consist of a series of narrow, parallel canyons with walls up to 2,000 feet tall. Higher in elevation, it’s a cooler destination for hiking and backpacking when trails starting in Zion Canyon are too hot—not to mention considerably less crowded.
I’ve backpacked with my family through the Kolob Canyons, started a 50-mile dayhike across Zion from there, and dayhiked the Taylor Creek Trail on a spring day when a thunderstorm bruised the sky above those red walls. The photo gallery below from Zion’s Kolob Canyons spotlights photos from those trips, and the video shows the view from Kolob Canyons Viewpoint and at Double Arch Alcove on the Taylor Creek Trail. You’ll find links to my Zion stories below the gallery and video.
The right pack makes hiking better. See my 10 favorite packs for backpacking and my six favorite daypacks.
The Kolob Canyons are just a few minutes’ drive from exit 40 on I-15, between Cedar City and St. George, Utah. The Taylor Creek Trail offers an easy and really scenic introductory hike: It’s five miles round-trip, gaining only 450 feet in elevation, to Double Arch Alcove, a pair of giant arches in the Navajo sandstone beneath the 1,700-foot-tall walls of Tucupit Tower and Paria Tower. The trail passes by two historic homestead cabins built in the early 1930s, the Larson Cabin and the Fife Cabin.
For more photos and information about hiking in the Kolob Canyons, see my feature stories about a family backpacking trip and a 50-mile dayhike across the park, both of which began in the Kolob Canyons, and a menu of all of my stories about Zion National Park, including my photo gallery “One Incomparable Place: Hiking and Backpacking in Zion National Park,” and my feature story about hiking Zion’s Subway.
You can also see a list of all stories about Zion by scrolling to the bottom of my All National Park Trips page at The Big Outside.
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