May 25, 2011

Zion National Park - West Rim Trail

Zion's West Rim

As with all Krong family vacations, there is always a "hard day"! After enjoying a leisurely day at Snow Canyon, we put the pedal to the metal...

On Sunday we did a point-to-point hike across Zion National Park, starting at the Wildcat trailhead on the Kolob Terrace Road, hiking the Wildcat Trail to the West Rim Trail, and finishing down in Zion Canyon at the Angel's Landing trailhead.

To accomplish this, we needed a car shuttle, so Andrea and I left early, parked a car in Springdale, then ran 13 miles back along SR-9 to the tiny little town of Virgin, where we met my parents and headed up to the trailhead. The hike itself ended up being a little longer and more difficult than I anticipated... my GPS had it at ~21.5 miles. And despite it being billed as a gradually downhill route, we still had well over 2000 feet of climbing.

That being said, the route was spectacular and unlike anything you would typically see in Zion. Most of the hike was on high plateaus in more of an alpine environment. It wasn't until the last quarter of the hike, when we came down into the main canyon, that it really had that desert feel to it. And the sheer walls of Zion Canyon are awe-inspiring everytime you seen them.

By the end of the day we were all pretty tired and happy to be off our feet. When we got to Springdale, we immediately went for pizza. In less than ten minutes after getting our food, the four of us took down 2 pizzas! (Andrea clocked it at 8 minutes). Even after a round of Frostys from the Wendys in Hurricane a little while later, we were still hungry!

The hike started right next to Pine Valley Peak

Not your typical Zion landscape

Taking a break on the Wildcat Canyon trail

We had one stream crossing. No one got wet!

The views started to open up

Spooky trees in Potato Hollow

About 2/3 of the way into the hike, you get up on a high plateau and this is your view for several miles

Unfortunately the sun wasn't shining much when we were up on the rim, so the pictures don't quite have the colors I was hoping for. Still, the cooler weather made the hike more pleasant!

It started to rain a bit, and only 2 of us were smart enough to pack a shell, so my Dad and I opted for the emergency blanket poncho/cape!

Sky islands

Descending into the main canyon w/ sheer drops off the trail

The skies cleared back up... Zion is so cool

My parents get MVP awards for this hike!

Almost to Angel's Landing

Angel's Landing

The Virgin River and Zion Canyon

Profile of the hike

The while/black line was our route, going left to right...

... and here's what it looks like on Google Earth (red line)

More pictures from the hike can be seen by CLICKING HERE. I changed some of them to Black & White, which looks pretty cool.

We were all in the mood for something easier on the next and final day of the trip, so a relaxing day at Sand Hollow State Park was just what the doctor ordered.


  1. Great post, loved the pics. Me and a few friends were there a few days earlier getting pounded by snow just as we hit the west rim trail by the Telephone Canyon trail junction (southeast end). Your views and pics are definitely better than ours. Check my blog for the details and you and Andrea should join us this fall for another attempt at the full Zion Train.

  2. I did read about your "trainwreck"! Sorry you guys hit a bad weather window. But, you would not want to be up on those high plateaus for 30 miles if the weather was bad, so you guys made the right call. When we got to St George on Friday, there was lots of snow visible up high... but Monday it had pretty much all melted. I think fall is the time to do that run. I am definitely interested... I'd be too nervous to run down some of those switchbacks in the main canyon, so going East to West is probably the way to do it.

  3. That looks absolutely awesome. Gorgeous pictures.