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13 Hikes you've never heard of in Zion National Park

Find a view you haven't already seen on Instagram.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

We think The Narrows, The Subway, and Angels Landing are all AMAZING. We did a team trip to Zion a few years ago where we did all three and encourage you to do the same. We've got nothing against them. But, Zion has so much more to offer than its most famous hikes. We thought we'd share some of the other trails that make this park so special. Not only are these hikes beautiful and a ton of fun, but you'll likely have fewer people to share the trail with - always a bonus. 

Check out the list and find a spot in Zion that you haven't already seen a hundred times on the 'Gram!

1. Timber Creek Overlook in Kolob Canyon

Photo: Derrick Lytle

Distance: 1.15 miles
Elevation: 102 ft
Type: Out-and-back

For a short hike, this adventure has a major payoff! Starting at the end of Kolob Canyon Drive, this family friendly trail is well maintained and offers access to restrooms and picnic tables. This is the perfect quick adventure to do in between other larger treks in the area. It boasts incredible views of the massive sandstone canyon walls and offers stunning sunsets.

2. Wildcat Canyon Trail

Photo: Mike Quine

Distance: 5.88 miles
Elevation: 1300 ft
Type: Point-to-point

This adventure is great on its own or as an access point to the West Rim Trail. It features gorgeous meadows, impressive canyons, and ponderosa pine groves. Glimpses of canyon and multi-colored rock formations will alternate with stretches of shady forests and open meadows. You’re sure to like how well maintained and clearly marked this trail is while away from most crowds.

3. Upper Emerald Pool

Photo: Mariya Dondonyan

Distance: 2.92 miles
Elevation: 600 ft
Type: Loop

This waterfall adventure is ideal for those who love water adventures and photo opportunities. The trail starts with a bridge crossing over the Virgin River before leading to the multiple pools. Wear suitable shoes for muddy and slippery conditions as you’ll get quite close to the falls.

4. Lady Mountain

Photo: Michael Whitman

Distance: 2.74 miles
Elevation: 2700 ft
Type: Out-and-back

Located in the heart of Zion National Park, this adventure leads to a stunning overlook of the Zion Lodge and surrounding canyons. The views are just as pristine as the more popular Angels Landing, but higher up and with less people around. The hike up Lady Mountain will require you to traverse through some steep, loose terrain. Move slowly and carefully. Know your limits as this adventure will require some more intense scrambling/climbing – not for the inexperienced hiker.

5. Hidden Canyon Trail

Photo: John Maurizi

Distance: 3 miles
Elevation: 1000 ft
Type: Out-and-back

This relatively short adventure offers opportunities for rock climbing and scrambling with all-around incredible views of the canyon. The start of the trail ascends through uphill switchbacks, but don’t lose steam – the reward at the top of the saddle is a worthwhile view of Big Bend, the Organ, Angels Landing, and the Virgin River. Aside from this unreal view at the top, there are many exposed sections with breathtaking viewpoints throughout. Be cautious as there are quite a few narrow portions of this trail as well as steps. There are chains bolted to the mountainside to hold on to at certain points. At the end of the official trail, you can turn back or spend some time exploring deeper into the canyon.

6. Sand Bench Trail

Photo: James Brady

Distance: 3.62 miles
Elevation: 500 ft
Type: Loop

Experience solitude and incredible natural beauty on this Zion hidden gem. This adventure starts at the Court of the Patriarchs shuttle stop. Though it has minimal elevation gain, it is a fairly exposed hike, which means that doing it in the early morning or evening may be better to protect you from particularly scorching hot days. Embarking at these times also gives you the chance to indulge in some incredulous sunrises and sunsets over the towering rock cliffs.

7. Hop Valley Trail

Photo: Mike Quine

Distance: 14.58 miles
Elevation: 1000 ft
Type: Out-and-back

This section of the Trans-Zion trail can be enjoyed as a standalone hike and an access point to the Kolob Arch Trail. The start of this trail is relatively flat and takes you through sage bushes with stunning rock formations lining the horizon. The descent into Hop Valley will blow you away with sights of the vibrant red cliff faces. Note that it’s likely you will see cows on this adventure! Though exciting, remember that they are wild animals and should be viewed from a distance. Because of the wildlife here, pack water accordingly since drinking from the natural water sources may be unsafe. There are plenty of stream crossings, so expect to get your boots wet!

8. East Temple Saddle Loop

Photo: Spencer Williams

Distance: 2.56 miles
Elevation: 2500 ft
Type: Loop

This adventure is for the more experienced and confident hiker as it features some strenuous scrambling along exposed areas in the backcountry. The trail is located on the east side of the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, but be aware that parking can be tough to find. Along your way, look out for bighorn sheep and stop to take a breath to admire the expanse of jaw dropping mountainous terrain all around you!

9. Canyon Overlook Trail

Photo: Mariya Dondonyan

Distance: 0.88 miles
Elevation: 57 ft
Type: Out-and-back

This quick adventure has endless views. Stare at the impressive rock formations for hours and have fun with photo opportunities of lower Zion Canyon, which includes the famous Switchbacks, the Beehives, West Temple, East Temple, Towers of the Virgin, and the Streaked Wall. Parking is available to the right after exiting the tunnel. This trail is easy to follow, but if it has rained before you embark, prepare for some mud and slippery sections.

10. Observation Point

Photo: Matt Fischer

Distance: 6.8 miles
Elevation: 2100 ft
Type: Out-and-back

If you’re looking for sweeping views of the entire Zion Canyon, this adventure is for you. Once at the overlook, take some photos and enjoy lunch in the shade. Initially, the trail will get your heart rate up as it begins with switchbacks up a sandstone cliff. There are narrower sections too, but don’t forget to slow down and take a look around even before making it to Observation Point where you’ll be able to see Angels Landing below! Though physically demanding, the views of Zion that you’ll get once there are truly unmatched – some even say they are considerably better than the more popular Angels Landing vista.

11. Kolob Arch

Photo: Derrick Lytle

Distance: 13.86 miles
Elevation: 1670 ft
Type: Out-and-back

Enjoy trekking along streams to a grand sandstone arch high on a cliff but tucked back into the canyon – a lesser known gem and far less visited than other parts of the park. Expect to take in the beauty of rolling hills, sandstone cliffs, and stream crossings on this outing. This adventure is also quite sandy, so be prepared with a good pair of hiking shoes. The Fall is an especially beautiful time to visit. And though it’s in the desert, it can get very cold and even snowy during the winter, which makes for gorgeous photos of white capped sandstone peaks.

12. Many Pools

Photo: Spencer Rudy

Distance: 2 miles
Elevation: 545 ft
Type: Out-and-back

If you go off the beaten path here you can explore natural pools - especially during the spring and winter. The higher you hike, the more pools you’ll find! Note that there is no officially marked trail (but you can follow our gpx route!)– truly making it a lesser known “path” and one that is rather serene. Marvel at the red and white canyon walls as you make your way through and up the canyon– a photographer’s paradise!

13. East Rim Trail

Photo: Mike Quine

Distance: 10.19 miles
Elevation: 3000 ft
Type: Point-to-point

The East Rim Trail can be considered a standalone adventure or the beginning/end of the Trans-Zion trek. On this journey, you will dip and climb through a brush-lined canyon and a pine forest. Eventually, you will make a pretty drastic descent into Echo Canyon. If you’re up for the challenge, the topography, flora, wildlife, and panoramic vistas along this adventure are not to be missed!

Cover photo: Mayson Algeyer

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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