After nearly a lifetime of longing to visit Zion National Park the day had finally arrived when I would realize that dream. We had a long day of hiking planned and the biggest trouble was deciding where to go first. I wanted to find a good warm up hike, not to difficult, that would still provide a stunning visual introduction to this one-of-a-kind park. The Canyon Overlook Trail seemed to fit the bill nicely. At only a little over a mile round-trip and requiring very little elevation to overcome, this particular little trail none-the-less boasts one of the more scenic viewpoints in all Zion. That, and our choice to see it in the morning when the early morning sun highlights every color and curve of the canyon and we had ourselves a magical little hike on our hands.
The Canyon Overlook Trail begins from the east end of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, high above the West Canyon of Zion. Parking is extremely limited, so if you want to do this one I'd suggest starting early or preparing yourself for a wait for a parking spot to open up. We arrived just before 9 am and we got the last spot. The trail itself is relatively easy, as it was advertised. There are no major climbs, though the trail is anything but flat. For most of its route it follows the rugged north rim of Pine Creek Canyon. It's a fairly exposed route, though for Zion this is par-for-the-course trail-wise. Still, if you have a severe fear of heights, take this as a warning.
This was a spectacular hike, no doubt about it. The early morning view down the West Canyon was awe-inspiring and it did its job in both getting our muscles warmed up and seeding us with a desire to see more of what Zion National Park had to offer us. So, come on along with us on our first 'boots on the ground' experience in Zion National Park. As all the hikes we'd end up doing here, it was a memorable one. As always...ENJOY!!!
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 37.213392, -112.940723
Mileage Hiked: 1.1 miles Hike Duration: 0:45
Trailhead Temp: 55'F Trail Traffic: 25-50 people
Min. Elevation: 5,130' Max. Elevation: 5,250'
Total Vertical Gain: 220' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 200'