Accessed by part of the trail for Observation Point, the Hidden Canyon hike leads up markedly fewer switchbacks than many others in the area to a lush slot canyon. Angel’s Landing style chains line the upper part of the trail, however they are nowhere near as scary.
Enter Zion National Park from the town of Springdale. If possible, park near the visitors centre just past the park gates. If that lot is full, park in the town of Springdale and get the free shuttle bus to the visitors centre. From the visitors centre take the other free shuttle bus into Zion Canyon. For most of the year the canyon is not open to public vehicles. Exit the bus at the Weeping Rock bus stop.
|When to do|
Spring and Fall, avoid summer heat
Out and back
From the bus stop, find the small parking lot on the right side of the road, which is the same side you got off the bus. Here you will the find the pit toilet and some trash bins. Cross a small footbridge to find the trailhead signs as well as a fork. Continue to the right here and begin the climb.
The first part of this hike is simply pure switchbacks making their way up the canyon wall. These have been blasted into the sandstone slick rock, and it was obvious that when the trail was first created it was paved. Now the pavement is quite cracked and doesn’t detract too much from the wilderness aesthetics! This path is extremely well leveled, making the challenging ascent that much more pleasant.
After many switchbacks you will reach the first junction for Hidden Canyon, located roughly halfway up this first set of switchbacks. Turn right here and continue following half a dozen or so more small switchbacks. You will soon gain a small notch where most people take their break.
The trail leads left from here, contouring around the sandstone cliffs. Soon you will reach a section that has been blasted out of the sandstone, with sturdy chains drilled into the rock to hang onto. This part of the path can get super congested as people try to pass others. Take your time and be sure of your footing.
After contouring around the ridge for a little while longer you will reach several small pools. Theses are fed by the flash floods running through the wash of Hidden Canyon. Here you will also see the narrow mouth of the slot canyon.
Continuing along the trail into the slot canyon involves some minor rock hopping. Most people will be able to do it with no problem, however if you are uncomfortable, this is a fantastic place to stop and then turn around. You’ll get intimate views of Cable Mountain across the valley you just hiked up, as well as red sandstone cliffs occupying almost your entire field of view.
If you choose to continue head into the canyon and follow the obvious footprints along its sandy bottom. The canyon is almost always shaded, making it extremely cool. You can continue in the canyon as long as you want, however the official trail ends at a very impressive natural arch. From the arch you can turn around and head back the same way you came.
There are many flat rocks to stop and have a picnic on within the canyon. Especially nice on hot days!
Combine this hike with Observation Point for a longer day hike.
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