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Hidden Canyon is located on the east side of Zion about 1000 feet above the floor of the main canyon. They call it a “hanging canyon” because of how high it rests. This hike has a challenging amount of elevation gain to overcome before you reach the entrance to the canyon, but once you get there some fun exploring and scrambling awaits.
Time Required: 2-3 Hours
Trailhead: Weeping Rock Trailhead
Distance: 5km (3 miles) round trip
Elevation Gain: 300m (1000ft)
Difficulty: 6/10 – Well trafficked, lots of scrambling
Season: Year-round. Spring and fall are most pleasant. Summer can be very hot and winter can be icy and dangerous.
Additional Requirements: N/A
From St. George: Travel on the I-15 North towards Salt Lake City, after 11 km (7 miles) merge onto UT-9 East via exit 16 and travel 20km (12.5 miles) through Hurricane and then up to La Verkin. Take a right turn in La Verkin to continue on the UT-9 East for 32km (20 miles) until you come into Springdale. Follow that same road until you pull up to the Zion park entrance.
From Arizona: Travel US-89A North through Fredonia, AZ and Kanab, UT. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take UT-9 West to Zion’s East Park Entrance.
From the North: Travel the I-15 South past Beaver, UT and exit on Hwy 20. Head east until you reach US-89, then head south to the Mount Carmel Junction. Take UT-9 west to Zion’s East Park Entrance.
WHAT TO BRING
- Comfortable Footwear: Hiking shoes. Make sure your shoes are broken in prior to tackling this hike to prevent unexpected blisters. You could get away with runners but having extra grip on the rock surfaces will definitely come in handy!
- Water: This hike is long and can be very hot. Be sure to bring enough water for 3-5 hours of physical exertion in the hot sun.
- Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy along the hike. Some of our favorites snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
- Weather appropriate clothing: Temperatures can get up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the summertime. Shorts, a breathable long sleeve shirt, and a hat can help protect you from the sun and heat. In the winter, the temperature can drop below freezing and it is possible to encounter snow. Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
- Sunscreen: If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
- Camera: There are tons of photo opportunities along the way you won’t want to miss.
- This Guide: Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike
Heat and Dehydration: In Zion National Park, the days can be very hot. Limit sun exposure during the hottest parts of the day. Appropriate clothing such as a hat and long sleeve shirt can protect your skin from the sun as well as reduce the risk of dehydration. The hot weather increases your need for fluid intake. Ensure you are hydrating throughout the day. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start drinking water.
Steep Cliffs: Falls from cliffs along the trail could resulted in death. Stay on the trail, stay back from cliff edges and be careful of sand or loose rocks that can make for a slippery surface. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are trying to capture the perfect photo. During the winter months, the trail can be snow and ice covered so be extra careful and wear traction devices on your shoes for extra grip.
Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably. Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:
- Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
- Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
- Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
- Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
- Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
- Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.
To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca
ZION SHUTTLE SYSTEM
Zion Shuttle System: During the busy months (March to November), Zion National Park has a free shuttle system to help move large numbers of visitors around the park. When the shuttle is in operation Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles so visitors must rely on the shuttle service. The shuttle departs from the Zion Visitor Center and stops at nine locations in the park. The shuttles run very frequently between 7am and 6:15pm and you should never have to wait more than 10-15 minutes. Although you can park at the Visitor Center, the lot fills up quickly so it is best to park in the town of Springdale and take the Springdale Shuttle to the park gate.
The Springdale Shuttle leaves from the Majestic View Lodge and stops at the Zion Canyon Theatre. From the Zion Canyon Theatre, cross through the National Park Pedestrian Entrance to pay the entry fee, then catch the Zion Canyon Shuttle from the Visitor Center.
There are many Springdale Shuttle stops between the Majestic View Lodge, and Zion Canyon Theater. Walk to the nearest stop from your accommodation or drive and park in a marked “Shuttle Parking” area.
Summary: Starting at the Weeping Rock Trailhead the hike begins with steep switchbacks that take you up to the wall of the canyon. At that point there is a chain to assist you crossing a narrow ledge hundreds of feet above the canyon floor. After some more climbing and a bit of scrambling you will arrive at the Hidden Canyon Rock Arch. For many hikers this is the turnaround point, but the canyon continues and you can hike further if you are up for more scrambling.
This hike starts at the Weeping Rock Trailhead (Route marker #1 on the map). There is an easy to follow trail that will begin to take you up the canyon and then fork to the left to Weeping Rock (Route Marker #2 on the map). Weeping rock is a short detour worth checking out before heading up to Hidden Canyon.
After checking out weeping rock return to the main trail. From here there are some steep switchbacks that take you up to a fork in the trail. If you go left, you will be on the East Rim Trail headed towards Observation Point, so take a right to Hidden Canyon.
The trail continues to climb up more switchbacks until eventually it narrows to a small ledge on the side of the canyon. There are chains bolted into the cliff walls to hang onto as you cross these narrow sections. After crossing the ledge there is a stone staircase to climb and shortly after you will find yourself in Hidden Canyon.
The canyon is narrow and tall, so it is tough to get lost. There is only one way to go but there are some obstacles along the way. This part of the hike requires some rock hopping and scrambling over larger boulders.
About half a mile into the canyon is a large natural rock arch that can’t be missed (Route Marker #3 on the map). This is the point where a lot of hikers turn around but you can continue past the rock arch if you want to keep adventuring.
We kept going further into the canyon for about another kilometer (Route Marker #4 on the map). The scrambling did get tougher after the arch but it was a lot of fun! When scrambling keep in mind it is always easier going up then coming down. Know your limits and when its time to turn around. When you are ready to start the return trip, follow the same route in reverse back to Weeping Rock Trailhead.
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Have fun out there!