There is a short hike on the east side of Zion NP called the Shelf Canyon Hike. It’s not a long or particularly beautiful hike, but we just can’t seem to find it. Being the stubborn people we are we have twice driven to this area of the park and hiked up what we thought to be the Shelf Canyon. The third time is usually seen as the charm, so today we headed back to where we felt the canyon to be from descriptions we have read. As we began the hike it appeared that we had finally found our target.
The canyon seemed to fit descriptions we had read and had some neat rock formations cut by the stream, so we kept going.
But after a bit the wash began to rise steeply through a series of large boulders.
We scrambled up as far as we could, but soon came to an area that required climbing skills just beyond ours, so we turned around.
After a short hike back down the wash, we decided to scramble up the rocks to find some elevation that would provide a good place for lunch.
Above us there were some pretty nice arches in the rocky wall of the canyon.
We hiked up the rocks for a while before spying a good perch for lunch.
The site we picked gave us a nice view of the wash below and the colorful rocks of the canyon.
After lunch we began the hike back down the wash. At one point we paused to view another group of hikers ahead of us. They also paused to check us out.
After the sheep scrambled up the rocks, we scrambled down to the wash below.
At times the trip down required some careful scrambling.
But the nimble hiker and her young native guide handled the steep rocks quite easily.
At times the rocks around us were filled with bright colors.
We returned to the Jeep, disappointed that we had missed Shelf Canyon for the third time. But with each attempt we had a great hike up an interesting canyon. That’s one of the neat things about the east side of Zion NP. You can just park along the road, climb the rocks into a nearby wash, and have a great experience.
We had a second hike planned for today that required a drive to just inside the east entrance to the park. The Jolley Gulch is a wash that can be reached by hiking the East Rim Trail for about half a mile.
After crossing a bridge, we scrambled over a rise of slickrock down into Jolley Wash.
The wash was a bit rocky but had some interesting views of the surrounding canyon walls.
After about a mile we came to an pretty cool dry waterfall.
When the stream is full, this waterfall must be quite a sight. We scrambled up the surrounding rocks and continued for a short while.
But there didn’t seem to be anything interesting ahead of us and it was getting a bit late in the day, so we turned and headed back down the wash.
We returning to the Jeep and headed for the motorhome. After more research, we think we may finally have the Shelf Canyon located, so one more trip to this area is in our future. If we miss it again, we may have to extend our stay here, as we’re not leaving till we find it. The hike is not suppose to be that exciting, but we’ll find that canyon if it takes all summer!