Zion National Park: Kolob Canyons Section

IMG_8002Location: 3752 E Kolob Canyon Rd, New Harmony, UT

Designation: National Park

Date NPS designation declared: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 2017

I decided to do a separate post for this section of Zion National Park because it has a separate entrance, about an hour’s drive away, from the main section of the park (which is accessed from Springdale.) It feels like a completely different park and has its own page on the nps site

Due to its more remote location and higher altitude, it is less crowded and cooler. For us this was a great place to start our exploration of Zion NP. First we stopped at the visitor’s center to get the pass for our vehicle. This pass was good for all sections of the park for the duration of our stay.

IMG_8020Next we took the 5 mile scenic drive. Since this part of Zion is quieter than the main part of the park, we were able to enjoy this beautiful drive without the traffic that you usually find in some other parks’ drives. There are numerous places to pull over and take photos of the view.

We parked at the lot at the end of the drive to hike to the top on Timber Creek Overlook Trail. This is a fairly easy and short hike to spectacular views.

This was a good choice for our introductory hike to Zion National Park . We really enjoyed it, especially after being cooped up in the car for the drive from Vegas. I would call it a moderate hike…it’s a half mile out to the top with an elevation gain of about 300 feet. We were already starting off at a pretty high elevation, so I was huffing and puffing quite a bit…this was easily remedied by pausing to photograph the beautiful views that just got better the higher we climbed. It was amazing to see the red rock formations from one side of the trail and snow-covered mountain peaks from the other. Though there were some people sharing this trail with us, it wasn’t so crowded that we couldn’t relax and enjoy nature. It’s not a loop…you hike back down the same half mile that you walked up.

IMG_8027There are other, more strenuous hikes available on this side of the park (like the one to Kolob Arch), but for those you’d really need to dedicate a full day, which we didn’t have on this whirlwind Utah trip.

Staying on this side of the park could also be a good jumping off point to visit Cedar Breaks National Monument. I estimate it would have been about a two-hour drive. But at the time of our visit in mid-April, that park was still closed due to snow.

We covered a lot of ground during our 2017 Utah trip, but there is still so much more to see. We will have to return someday.