Zion – Hidden Canyon Trail

Virgin, UT

On Wednesday we headed back into Zion Canyon to try a bit more challenging hike than we have done so far.   Some of the hikes here are pretty mild, while some are very dangerous.  The hike to Hidden Canyon is listed as strenuous and not for those with a fear of heights, but it’s not in the dangerous category.

The hike begins at the parking area for the Weeping Rocks (from a previous blog) and immediately begins a sharp climb up the canyon wall.  The path is rough pavement that  provides good footing, but it is the steep incline that provides the challenge.

After seven tenths of a mile, the paved path continues up what is called the Observation Point Trail.  This is a long hike, one we will save for a later visit.  We turned off to the south to take the Hidden Canyon Trail.  Very soon the “paved” trail changed to a very rocky trail, and continued steeply up the side of the cliff with numerous switchbacks (where the trail turns almost three hundred sixty degrees.

On the narrow sections of the trail there are chains along the cliff to assist you.  We really didn’t need the chains, but held on to them so as not to make the other hikers we saw feel bad!

At some points the Park Service has built stone steps into the canyon to help you continue.

Below is one of our team setting a good example for less experienced hikers by using the chains.  Really unnecessary for him, but he wanted to provide a good model for others!

Some parts of the trail had no chain, but the slanting of the rock path provided security.

After two miles of climbing up the cliff, we finally came to the goal of the hike, Hidden Canyon.

After going about a mile into the canyon, we came to our destination, a free-standing stone arch.  Since there are no Crested Saguaro in Utah, the Crested Saguaro hunter in the group  has re-focused her attention to finding arches!  This one is a good one, as you’re right next to it.

Where’s Waldo

In the picture below the nimble hiker is taking a well-deserved rest on a rock next to the highly prized arch.  After the picture was taken she asked her trusty photographer to wait while she shifted positions to the higher rock on her right.

Turns out the nimble hiker is not going to be seen as the nimble sitter, as she slid off the higher rock right back down to the lower one!  Fortunately, her photographer was ready to capture the moment.

After the “rock slide” we began our return hike, enjoying the massive stone walls of the canyon around us.

At some points the canyon was blocked with trees, boulders, and water.  But we were able to scramble over rocks along the sides to continue.

At the end of the canyon, we continued up a short distance to a large rock outcropping with a great view of the canyon below.

What a beautiful place to sit and enjoy our lunch!

Looking straight down we could see the parking lot below us.

A full zoom shot shows the Jeep in the upper right of the lot.

We also had a nice view of the lower portion of the trail below us.

We did meet an interesting fellow on this hike.  As we went up the trail, we came upon what appeared to be an older person slowly hiking while using a large walking stick.  You can see him in the picture below.

Usually if there are people in front of you they will hear you talking and stop to let you by.  This hiker didn’t seem to hear us, even when we raised our voices a bit.  He just kept walking.   We slowed down to let him get ahead of us.  But even when we lost sight of him, we could hear the clicking of his walking stick on the rock.   He appeared to be a bit shaky and at one point as he went up a steep, narrow part of the trail, we turned away from him as he made us so nervous.

When we arrived at the mouth of the canyon, the man was sitting there taking a rest.   We went over to talk with him and it turns out he is eighty-eight years old and has been hiking this trail for years.   One of his goals is to return in two years and hike the trail when he is ninety!   He wasn’t going into the canyon, but was turning right to go up a bit to a rock bench to eat his lunch.  That’s how we learned about the spot where we ate later, after we explored the canyon.   The short hike up to that spot was a bit tricky and at one point required a scramble up a fairly large rock.  We have no idea how this gentleman made the hike!

Later, while we were eating lunch, we looked down and there he was again, slowly making his way down the trail.  The picture below of him is a zoom shot, he was actually much further away than it appears.  While his hearing isn’t very good, there’s nothing wrong with his eyesight.  As we watched him, he stopped and looked up at us and gave us a big wave.

After enjoying the canyon and our lunch with a view, it was time to journey back down the trail.

The nimble hiker proved her superior hiking skills numerous times on this hike.  We just need to work on those sitting skills!

We really enjoyed the challenge of the five mile hike up the Hidden Canyon Trail.   It was a strenuous climb with  great views and exciting chain-assisted climbs along the rocky cliffs.  It’s now time for some research to plan our next adventure.

More on that later . . .

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20 Responses to Zion – Hidden Canyon Trail

  1. Lisa says:

    Woohoo! Looks like a fun one!

  2. RJRVtravels says:

    Great hike. 88! that gives me hope that I have a chance for a few more years of hiking ahead of me.

  3. Gay and Joe Taylor says:

    That was some view for lunch! Did I see snow?

  4. Leigh says:

    I’ve been loving your pictures lately! So jealous.

  5. Erin says:

    Terrific hike … one that definitely requires agility and a head for heights. This one goes on my Pinterest list for future reference.

  6. Marsha says:

    Now this is a hike! That area where you climb up the steep rock and there is a chain looks very challenging. Makes me a bit nervous for sure.

    That arch is quite a find but is that snow on the ground? You are making me chilly!

    Oh dear…I am glad that rock slide wasn’t a high one. Would you please be more careful!!!

    That view is amazing. You are really up there. Makes me a bit dizzy.

    Oh dear..88. I couldn’t have watched him climb anything. I can just see him falling and not being able to help.

    I hate the picture of John going down the trail….it is so scarey to see that. I wish he would walk closer to the wall!! I am glad at least nimble-hiker has boots on. Please will you two be careful out there. I love the view but don’t want you to get hurt!

  7. Allison says:

    Yes, I would have to say yikes! We set out to do Angel’s Landing a couple of years ago, but it was very crowded and I knew that if I had to walk slowly and look down a bunch, I would be unnerved by the whole thing. Your hike today was spectacular. Don’t you love that RV park? We were very happy with it.

  8. Allison says:

    Are you going up to Escalante? We were there and did a canyoneering excursion. It was good. Here’s the link from when we were there.
    http://retiredbicycle.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html

  9. Janna says:

    I did that same hike with friends in April, 2012–made us all just a touch nervous and we did not do the rock scramble to get to the arch–bummer!

  10. frankeeg says:

    WoooWeee! Lookit all that dusting of snow! And you two are hiking in shorts!!! What a fabulous spectacular park to visit. After a trip like that you deserve a visit to the coast somewhere Everybody needs a dose of coast to lift their spirits. Cheers…

  11. Definitely on the list. Thank you for this great hike on pictures. Beautiful

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