Located in the far northwest quadrant of Zion National Park these spectacular canyons can be accessed from Interstate 15 at exit 40. Located at the exit is a park service visitor’s center where you can buy books and maps as well obtain backcountry permits. If you are traveling from the main part of Zion remember to keep the seven-day visitor’s pass/receipt you received when paying at the entrance gate. This pass will also cover your entrance fee into the Kolob Canyons section.
Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive
The five-mile scenic drive climbs steeply into a canyon area containing unbelievably massive orange and red sandstone cliffs. These rock layers are being actively thrust upward along the Hurricane Fault, which you will cross when driving up the hill from the visitor center into the canyon of Taylor Creek. These narrow valleys are called “finger canyons” because there are five of them and they appear to have been carved by some gigantic hand into the edge of the Kolob Terrace. The road ends at a turnaround where there is a scenic overlook, picnic tables, pit toilets and a short trail leading to a rocky prominence overlooking the canyon of Timber Creek.
Middle Fork of Taylor Creek
This is a pleasant walk along a small watercourse beneath imposing 1500-foot tall cliffs. It ends at the Double Arch Alcove, a favorite of photographers. This spring line alcove is a quiet green oasis that is one of Zion’s most serene and beautiful spots. The historic Larsen Cabin is located about halfway up the trail and is vivid reminder of hardy pioneers living lives of remote isolation. This five-mile roundtrip hike takes about 3-4 hours and is definitely one of Zion’s prettiest canyons.
Lee Pass/LaVerkin Creek Trail
This trailhead is located 3.5 miles from the Kolob Canyons Visitor’s Center and is the northern terminus of Zion’s backcountry trail system. From here the trail descends into LaVerkin Creek the principal drainage in this section of the park. Hiking destinations include the Kolob Arch, Beartrap Canyon, Willis Creek and Hop Valley. From here it is a 15-mile roundtrip hike to the arch, which is the largest arch in the world. It takes about 5-6 hours and is well worth the huffing and puffing required to hike back up to Lee Pass at the end. There are many backcountry campsites along this trail where water is available year round in LaVerkin Creek. You can obtain more information from Zion Rock and Guide on the options available for a variety of backcountry trips in this area. Permits are required for all overnight trips in the Zion backcountry.
Timber Creek Overlook Trail
Starting from the end of the scenic drive this one-mile roundtrip hike leads to a rocky hilltop where extensive views of to the south reveal a vast country of mesas, canyons and distant mountains. On a clear day you can see Mt. Trumbull in Arizona, a distance of some 100 miles. This trail is uneven and rocky so it’s a good idea to wear hiking boots for comfort and safety. Don’t forget your camera.