Monday, January 4, 2016

Zion's Hidden Canyon

(Continuing the recap of my mid-October trip to southern Utah...)

Angels Landing conquered, my hubby and I had most of the afternoon to fill.  Wanting to see as much of Zion National Park as possible, we discussed our options for the next destination.

Hidden Canyon trail begins

While on Scout Lookout, I'd struck up a conversation with a man from Connecticut.  A frequent park visitor, one of the hikes he'd recommended was Hidden Canyon.  Although more climbing was involved, it was described as a short hike with big rewards.

Sharp switchback (but not Walter's Wiggles!)

Good enough for Roger and I!  From Angels Landing, we took the park shuttle one stop to the Weeping Rock Trailhead, which also doubled as the starting point for Hidden Canyon.

The higher we climbed, the better the views

The trailhead sign noted the round-trip distance to Hidden Canyon as two miles.  Perfect!  My hubby and I began climbing up a steep, rough dirt path.

The entire valley opened up

It didn't take long for tremendous views of the Virgin River Valley to open up below.

Remnants from yesterday's hailstorm

After a short distance, I began to notice a white mound at the corner of a switchback.  It looked like a snowdrift.  Moving closer, I realized the white stuff was a pile of hailstones, remnants from yesterday's storm.  Located in a shady spot, these little ice balls had been slow to melt.

Hmm...good to eat?

Of course, we had to get a couple of photos of this unusual sight.  And, no I wasn't that hungry!  (I'd have to be really desperate to eat one of those dirty hailstones.)

The trail became narrow

We climbed steeply, rounded a switchback and climbed some more.  As time and distance wore on, it seemed to me I'd already traveled at least a mile.  That canyon had to be around here somewhere!

Lovely patterns on the rock

But we'd round another switchback, and the trail still rose upward.

Trees growing out of the rock!

Finally, we topped out on a ridge.  Was this it?  Nooo.....the trail contoured across a narrow gully, and then traversed up the the opposite side.

Park road and bus waayyyy down below!

The "path" climbed up the side of a cliff face.  This narrow route hugged the steep wall, with only a chain for hikers to hang onto.  Oh, I didn't like the looks of that at all!

Virgin River Valley

I know for sure we'd traveled much farther than one mile.  And by the looks of it, we still had at least another half mile to reach our destination.  After climbing Angels Landing that morning, I was tired and footsore.  I told Roger I'd had enough.  We agreed to turn around and hike back down.

Close up of these cool rock formations

Although we didn't reach the famed Hidden Canyon, the fantastic views from this trail alone were worth the climb.  We could see the main park road wayyy down below!  The Virgin River wound in between some impressive rock formations.  And the weather cooperated, keeping things dry the entire time.

Tree-lined trail

Back at the trailhead sign, Roger and I both agreed it had to be wrong.  We'd traveled way farther than the 2 miles that was stated.

Dependable Zion shuttle buses

But it was time to board another shuttle for one final destination.  Chased off by the previous day's big thunderstorm we didn't get to visit the Human History Museum.  Behind the museum was a stunning view of a group of sandstone formations called the Towers of the Virgin.  I didn't want to leave Zion without a photo of these huge monoliths. 

The Towers of the Virgin

Then we happily headed into the nearby town of Springdale and checked into a local motel.  Knowing we'd likely need to shower and charge electronics, I'd booked us indoor accommodations for the third night.

Another view of the Towers

Oh it was so wonderful to be in a dry, heated indoor room!  With showers!  After three days without bathing, my hubby and I were both mighty ripe (Yeah...I think people on that last shuttle were giving us a wide berth)  We laid out all our wet camping gear to dry and it looked like a sporting goods store had exploded in our room.

Sunset view from our motel room

But the best was yet to come.  The back patio off our motel room had the most wonderful view of more colorful sandstone cliffs.  As we sat outside, enjoying a beer, the setting sun colored these rocky pillars the most vibrant shade of red.  People popped out of their rooms and stared in awe.  Cameras clicked.  Truly a perfect way to end our stay in Zion National Park.

Tomorrow we would bid Zion goodbye, and head to our next destination - the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. 


  1. its amazing how the trees just grow out of the rocks. great series on Zion.

  2. Another amazing series of gorgeous photos, Linda!

  3. Zion is one of those places that I would love to visit and explore before I grow too old and decrepit to do so. Your photos and descriptions are inspiring!

  4. Superb, Linda! I'm so excited to see each of your Zion installments, they're making me want to go back! While we were there that Match 2010, the park buses weren't yet running, we had free reign to cruise around in our vehicle and park here or there. (No one to smell us on buses, but not many around to offer suggestions either.) We had hoped to go to the North Rim, but couldn't. All routes closed due to the mega snow that winter, there was still 9 ft. So I've still never seen the Grand Canyon. Can't wait to see it through your eye!

  5. I find the rock formations awe inspiring. What a fantastic place.

  6. Scenery and rock formation is fabulous. Wow those hailstones are huge. I am nearly home now from my trip to Malawi and Zambia, just waiting at Heathrow for my flight this afternoon but thanks for leaving me all the comments when I was away.

  7. Uma montanha fantástica para belas caminhadas.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

  8. What a wonderful trek to you took us on... I had no idea there was so much to see in Zion.
    Great post, Linda!

  9. Amazing hike, so will you go back to find the hidden canyon

  10. Hello, I really enjoyed your Zion images and post. The views from the trail were gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your trip and hike. Have a happy day!

  11. Very nice series - beautiful

  12. Linda, what you did see and experience along the Hidden Canyon Trail was very nice. When I was there, I could only go so far as I was not willing to scramble up high over a super gigantic boulder that was in the middle of the trail. Such a lovely view from your patio, I love the green against the red. Your Zion visit was an adventure and thank you for taking us along.

  13. I loved this exciting adventure. I sometimes wonder who makes up these distances and how they decide to mark them. Love that final shot, too! :-)

  14. Wow, you were certainly trying to pack a lot in to do the Hidden Canyon trail AFTER Angels Landing! I remember how my knees felt after Angel's Landing!!! A couple of hiking animals!


  15. Awesome! awesome! awesome! So wish I had had more than 1 day there. I knew it at the time but when you live soooo far away, time is a big factor. It's been fabulous to return via you.

  16. Such beauty...thanks for taking me along!

  17. Wow! What a place and what wonderful photography!

    Wishing you a happy week ~ ^_^

  18. Isn't it spectacular when the sun goes down on those cliffs in Springdale? Your photos of the hike are wonderful. Bob and I did Observation Point when we hiked there a couple years ago - it was a long hike, maybe 9 miles, and had some gut wrenching dropoffs. Glad you didn't taste the yucky hail stones!

  19. Stunning scenery. The best mountain views yet. Not for the first time I find myself wondering why so little of America's wilderness areas and other National Parks (apart from Yellowstone) never get coverage here.

  20. Just another spectacular day on the trails! Hope we get there aomeday.

  21. Those patterns on the rock walls are amazing! Wow!

  22. You got some interesting light play in this set of photos. Best part of camping is appreciating indoor plumbing!

  23. I love this park. We were only able to see a fraction when we were there. Your photos are beautiful!

  24. Simply stunning views of this place. I would never hike on those narrow trails (fear of heights) but oh my I enjoy your hikes/photos.

  25. O que nos faz amigos é essa capacidade de sermos muitos, mesmo quando somos dois.
    Pe. Fábio de Melo
    Obrigada querida por compartilhar comigo 3 anos do Algodão Tão Doce!!!
    Um doce abraço, Marie.

  26. Can you believe that I have never hiked Angels Landing? When we were there I wanted to do the Narrows, but hubbies feet were hurting and didn't think he could handle the rocks. I remember seeing that trail head by Weeping Rock, but didn't know anything about it. I think we need to go back!

  27. So much beauty! It's stunning everywhere you pointed your camera.

  28. What a fabulous view from the top of the canyon hike.

  29. That looks like a great hike with splendid views. I wonder what the canyon was like?

  30. Hi! Very interesting post. I like your "Sunset view from our motel room" photo very much. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Ancient Hiking Wisdom "dont eat the yellow snow!" - sorry!

    Believe it or not 81000 people were at the cricket game a few days before - and when its full the MCG holds just over 100000! It is huge!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  32. Simply stunning scenery and views. Great photos.

  33. Ha ha ha...has anyone seen hidden canyon??? We had turned around was maybe 2002, and it was somewhat snow/hail/raining...with the rock wet, when we got to the chains - I had enough and turned around. Not with wet rock thank you.

  34. Amazing scenery! The rock formations are magnificent.


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