Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park

The+Canyon+Overlook+in+Winter.

John Kowalski

The Canyon Overlook in Winter.

John Kowalski, Webmaster, Staff Reporter

The Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park is one of the most popular hikes in the park. This is due in part to the spectacular natural beauty found at the overlook, and the overall relative ease of the trail. 

The hike begins by immediately walking up a steep sandstone slope with steps carved into it. This slope, along with most of the trail, offers protection in the form of metal handrails. After climbing up this short section, the path levels out, with decent exposure on one side. This exposure is lessened, however, due to the railings. This level section continues on for a while, until the first major unrailed section comes into view. 

An alcove dug into the wall over millenia allows passage alongside the steep canyon walls, and creates a unique experience as green moss covers the walls of said alcove. This short section of alcove ends quickly however, as the hiker meets the most exposed section of the entire hike.

A section of muddy, slippery path towers 200 feet above the canyon floor, causing alarm to some with a fear of heights. The rock walls are vertical on all sides, creating no grip whatsoever if one were to fall. This area is short lived, but is still worthy of caution due to the extreme danger that can be found.

Once at the next area of railings, you are about halfway along the hike, and are getting closer to spectacular views every second. The true beauty surrounding the hiker is astounding, with red and white sandstone rock formations interspersed with green trees and bushes. The path continues onward, as the railings once again go away for the last time, as no major exposure is found anywhere else on the hike except for the final viewpoint.

The last stretch of this path is decently exciting, with small narrow ledges needing to be traversed to continue onwards. These ledges can get quite crowded, and can cause significant delays due to immense amounts of hikers trying to get to and from the overlook. However, all of this is worth it due to the spectacular view found at the end of the path.

The sights you can see from the overlook are truly stunning. Gigantic, 3000 foot sandstone domes tower above the hiker. Rocks strewn around everywhere tell the story of massive landslides that frequently occur at Zion. Overall, this overlook is just beautiful.

Final Thoughts

The trail to the Canyon Overlook is short, and is definitely worth the time of anybody who wants to get a feel for the spectacular beauty found within Zion. Furthermore, the trail is easily accessible, and makes for a great day hike. This is a must-see if within Zion, and is one of the best hikes in the entire park.