There are a ton of well-known, great day hikes inside of Zion National Park, but the hikes in Kolob Canyon are definitely worth considering as you plan your trip. Kolob Canyon is one of the more remote areas of Zion National Park, and while you won’t find Angels Landing or the Watchman Trail in this area of the park, you will find fewer crowds and a more peaceful adventure than in the more popular Zion Canyon area.
The Kolob Canyon area is a little less than an hour from the main visitor center in Springdale, Utah (directions from Springdale, Utah to Kolob Canyon visitor center). Though out of the way, we do recommend spending a day or so exploring this area, particularly on days when the rest of the park is expecting to be crowded.
Kolob Canyon, courtesy of Andrew K. Smith
The Kolob Canyon Area and all other parts of the park are covered in our downloadable Zion National Park Itinerary. We discuss the best hiking, what to do while you are in the area, other parks you may want to visit, include maps and what to do before your trip.
Kolob Canyon area map and Kolob Canyon Trails, courtesy of the National Park Service
MIDDLE FORK TAYLOR CREEK TRAIL
While you may not think of hiking to natural arches as a thing to do in Zion National Park, the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek offers both a hike along a pleasant creek and a spectacular double arch at the end of the trail. This moderately challenging trail is 4.9-miles (round-trip) and climbs just over 700 feet. In total, you can expect this trail to take about 3 hours to hike.
After starting off with a couple of steep stairs, the trail climbs steadily (and fairly easily) along the creek bed. There are stream crossings along the way (depending on how fast the water is flowing, it can be several dozen times). But don’t worry, while you may get your boots a little wet, it is completely passable and this is guaranteed to keep the kids engaged. There is also quite a bit of shade, which is nice considering many other hikes in the park are fully exposed.
The big attraction is the Double Arch Alcove, but after you arrive at the arch if you are able to hike a bit more, there is a waterfall about 10 minutes further along the trail. We recommend taking this diversion.
The trailhead starts at the Taylor Creek trailhead on Kolob Canyons Road, about 1.9 miles east of the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center.
Double Arch Alcove, courtesy of John Fowler
TAYLOR CREEK SOUTH FORK TRAIL
While this hike is not as well-known or as popular as other hikes in the Kolob Canyon area, the hike along the South Fork of the Taylor Creek Trail is fantastic. With nearly two dozen river crossings, you’ll want to make sure you have shoes that are waterproof, but you shouldn’t expect them to get immersed while on the trail.
This moderately difficult hike is 2.6-miles long and climbs nearly 1000 feet. Though this hike doesn’t have any particularly spectacular vistas, the trail really shows off if you hike out near sunset. The colors are absolutely incredible, and many think it is more beautiful that the middle fork trail.
The trailhead starts at the South Fork-Taylor Creek trailhead on Kolob Canyons Road, about 3.2 miles east of the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center. The parking area is on the right side, immediately before a sharp 180-degree turn to the right.
LA VERKIN CREEK TRAIL TO KOLOB ARCH
If you are looking for a hike that will keep you busy for the entire day and get you out away from any people at all, then trekking to the Kolob Arch via the La Verkin Creek Trail is the way to do it. This hike is not overly challenging, as it gains nearly 1,800 feet but it is spread over the entire round-trip distance of 15.1 miles.
After starting off by descending quickly for the first mile, the trail then descends slower until it hits the La Verkin Creek. The views along the creek are phenomenal. The trail follows the creek until mile 6.8, where you have the option to turn left to hit the Kolob Arch Trail. After about 0.7 miles on the Kolob Arch Trail, you’ll get views of Kolob Arch. Kolob Arch is over 287 feet long, which is just shorter than Landscape Arch in Arches National Park.
The hike back follows the same route, but it is uphill for the last 5 miles, which can take its toll on you if you if you are not prepared.
Much of the trail has access to shade. Be sure and look up while you are hiking, as the views in the canyon are amazing. There are also numerous campsites along the trail, with 9 camps located before you arrive at the junction with the Kolob Arch Trail. You will have a difficult time finding better campsites if you are looking for amazing views without crowds, and you can learn from the NPS about camping in the Kolob Canyon area.
The trailhead starts at the Lee Pass trailhead on Kolob Canyons Road, about 3.7 miles east of the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center. The parking area is immediately after a sharp 180-degree turn to the right.
Kolob Arch, courtesy of the National Park Service
TIMBER CREEK OVERLOOK TRAIL
Ending with a great overlook, the Timber Creek Overlook Trail is a must-do in the Kolob Canyon area. The trail is only 1.1-miles long (round-trip), with only about 220 feet gain in elevation (with plenty of ups and downs) and is one of the easier trails in the park.
This trail heads to the south along a ridgeline, with great views for much of the trail. At the end of the trail on a clear day you can see all the way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which is over 100 miles away.
Expect this trail to be busy when the weather is nice, as there is a relatively large parking lot and it is a popular space for picnicking. Still, this is a hike that you really should do if you are into spectacular scenic panoramic views!
The trailhead starts from the northwest side of the parking lot at the end of Kolob Canyons Road from the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint parking area. It is about 5.2 miles from the Visitor Center.
View from Timber Creek Overlook, courtesy of Nikater
There are a couple of hikes that you can take from the end of the road in the Kolob Canyon area, and hiking to Peak 6965 is the more challenging of the two. This little-known hike (in fact, you won’t even see it on the NPS website!). This is a hike straight up the side of the mountain to the north northwest of the Timber Creek Overlook area.
This moderately difficult hike is short. At just 2.2-miles (round-trip), the hike climbs just over 830 feet in elevation. At the end of the hike, you can see great views of the Pine Valley Mountain Range.
Be advised that this trail is not marked, but you just have to head straight up to the peak through the brush and along the rock.
The trailhead starts at the end of Kolob Canyons Road from the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint parking area. It is about 5.2 miles from the Visitor Center.
FURTHER INFORMATION ON ZION NATIONAL PARK FROM JUST GO TRAVEL STUDIOS
- There are a ton of great things to see and do in Zion National Park, and you should download our itinerary for Zion National Park. We also have our Utah’s Big 5 National Park itinerary, which is great if you are looking to travel to all of the Utah National Parks.
- We have several other pieces of content on Zion National Park, including 7 Reasons to Love Zion National Park, hiking the Watchman Trail and the Best Easy Hikes in Zion National Park. You can also check out our blog on Camping in Zion National Park.
- When you get back, be sure to send us a photo so we can make a custom, vintage-style posters, postcards and note cards with your customizations. We want you to remember your trips forever, and this is a great way of doing it!
- In addition to custom posters, we also have a wide selection of Utah National Park posters, including this WPA-style poster of Zion National Park.