Explore The Parks

Overlook Trail Hike in Zion National Park

It was my second visit to Zion National Park and I only had a couple of hours to get in a hike.  I decided to do an early morning drive from Springdale up the curvy Mount Carmel Road.  The scenic road is scenery galore.  It’s magical watching the sun’s glow overtake the shadows in the canyon.  I pulled off twice.  Once by Pine Creek and once after a hairpin turn to look at the Great Arch, recessed in a cliff-face.

Just east of the tunnel is a small parking area.  It was before 8 a.m. so I had no problem finding a spot for this normally popular hike. This hike is only a mile round trip.  It’s short with stellar views.  I started up a series of stone steps, ascend a stone ridge with a guardrail in spots and cross a couple of wooden boardwalks as I traversed a wall of Pine Creek’s deep slot canyon. The temperature dropped a good ten degrees as I stopped for a moment to explore the cave-like environment tucked under a large overhang.  The shady alcove was an extreme contrast to the exposed slick rock I would encounter. The canyon rock walls and formations tell stories in the colorful layers. I even saw an arch in the making.

The landscape seemed to flat out a little as I weaved my way through piñon pines hiking across sand and slick rock surrounded by beautiful rock formations.

The vista view from the end of the trail at Canyon Overlook is breathtaking. It has a definite wow factor to it.  Lucky for me, there were only a couple of other people there.  You get a panoramic view of East Temple, Bridge Mountain, West Temple, Towers of the Virgin and Streaked Wall.  I could easily see why this is one of the most photogenic spots in the national park.  You get to take in a huge swath of the expansive Zion Canyon from the overlook. If you’re looking for a relatively easy hike with a big pay-off, Overlook Trail is it.

As I was getting close to the trailhead, I spotted a herd of bighorn sheep.  I stood there for about ten minutes just watching them eating breakfast on the ledge.  I was one curve in the trail and a short stone staircase back to the road.  As I stood there and watch the herd, I could hear cars passing by, knowing how close they were, yet missing this beautiful sight.

Afterwards I drove back to Springdale for breakfast.  My pick was Deep Creek Coffee Company.  My oat milk latte and bro-rito, a vegetarian burrito, were delicious and a perfect post-hike meal.

Author Jennifer Broome has hiked extensively in Utah and across the Southwest. Check out blog and television segment for ABC 4 in Salt Lake City in 5 Fall Hikes and Road Trip Gems in Utah for more hiking inspiration.

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