Backpack Kolob Canyons, Zion NP

Utah Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park

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Extremely secluded, beautiful backcountry wilderness camping spots, with incredible views of the Kolob Canyons red rock walls. A great starting point for some of Zion's lesser known hikes; this is Zion's hidden gem. 

Overview

Starting at Lee Pass trailhead the trail descends down to run alongside the Timber Creek, past the open finger canyons of the nearby cliffs. At roughly mile 3 the trail will bend slowly to the left and climb up before descending again to run upstream and alongside La Verkin creek. Campsites 1-3 are before this point. The trail can be hard to follow when it gets down into the creek bed around the campsite 3 area, so keep your wits about you.

At roughly mile 6 the trail will split, with a separate trail branching off toward Kolob Arch, a great day hike if you don't want to camp overnight. These trails are posted. Campsites 4-10 will be before this point.

To continue on further to the remaining campsites 11-13, carry along the La Verkin Creek trail, you will climb up again and be faced with another split in the trail, again posted, one leading to the Hop Valley trail, the other continuing to the campsites, descend again to meet La Verkin Creek and eventually onwards into Beartrap Canyon and Willis Canyon.

What We Did

We picked campsite 11, roughly an 7-8 mile hike, located just off the descent where the trail splits with the Hop Valley trail. It took us just under 3 hours with frequent breaks. It gets extremely hot in the canyon, with little wind and at times little shade. You will need more water than you think.

Having said that, it was worth the hike, the campsite was serenely peaceful and we only saw 2 other people the entire hike, and not a single other tent. It's a perfect place to set up your hammock, sit by the crystal clear creek, watch the wildlife, and when night falls, gaze in awe at the stars. The surrounding canyon walls are beautiful, and the area is great for a little exploration.

I really wish we had another day to spend in the wilderness, to explore more, and take the extra mile trip to the colossal Kolob Arch.

I have listed our trip as advanced, but the closer to the trailhead you are the easier the hike. Bear in mind though, that campsites 1-3 rarely get water in the summer months. 

Pack List

The Essentials 

  • Water
    • Sturdy bottle, filters and/or purification tablets, bring extra!
  • Food 
    • salty/sugary snacks, easy to cook meals, bring extra!
    • cooking equipment
    • critter proof bag
  • Shelter
    • tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat
  • Map & Compass or GPS
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and/or a hat
  • Torch/headlamp
  • Clothes, warm & cold weather
  • First Aid kit

Nice things to have

  • Camera
  • Hammock
  • Matches/lighter (if permitted)

And anything else you might want to take! But remember, pack it in and pack it out! 

Reservations for campsites can be made at https://zionpermits.nps.gov/wilderness.cfm?TripTypeID=1 or in person at the Visitor Centre Wilderness Desk. 

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Activities:

Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill Level:

Advanced

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

16 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1000 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Easy Parking
Forest
River
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

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How to Get There

6 months ago

Day Hike / Out-in-Back to Kolob Arch

This has been one of my favorite hikes in Zion National Park. Usually there are tons of crowds at Zion, but I went on this trail in late May over Memorial Day and there was NO ONE on the trail. While the arch is not as impressive as other arches in Zion or Arches, the hike itself is amazing. Very moderate terrain (although long), but it has the most amazing views. The trail also follows the river almost the entire way so there is always water if you have purifier. Definitely recommend this hike.

6 months ago

Added by Jack Henstridge

Outdoor enthusiast, Nature lover, Adventurer, Traveller, Mountain Biker, Hiker, Snowboarder, Photographer, Blogger, and everything in between. Get Outside!

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