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Zion Winter Activities Next to Zion National Park
Winter Skiing
Snowshoeing and hiking

SnowmobilingThe pleasant daytime temperatures during the winter in Zion are perfect for short walks or hikes. Temperatures are frequently in the high 50's and low to mid 60's, but you should take a few layers of clothing for times when you pass through the shadowed sections of trails or side canyons. You can gear up for a half-day or full-day hike or pack your binoculars for some bird watching, which is best during this cooler time of the year. You may even spot some Bald Eagles that are spending their winter in the park. Often you may see some wild turkeys foraging on the ground in the valley. On dry days, guests can hike many of the Park's East Rim trails that border the ranch. On snowy days, guest can choose to hike at the lower elevations in the bottom of the Park, or to strap on a pair of snowshoes and tackle the powder! You can snowshoe to some of the most scenic overlooks in the Park. The following are some of the Zion National Parks that are great for winter explorations.

East Rim Hikes

Observation Point
Difficulty: moderate
Length: seven miles
Time: five hours

This hike begins on the East Mesa trail, 3 miles North of the Echo Canyon trail head. After a lengthy walk (2.5 miles) along the wooded trail, hikers take the scenic mile detour to 'The Point'. Observation Point offers a 270 degree panoramic view of Angels Landing, Scout Lookout, the Temple of Sinawava, and the Virgin River. After returning from the point, hikers soon merge with the switchbacks of the Echo Canyon trail and the hike ends at Weeping Rock. This lengthy 7 mile hike is demanding but spectacular, and considering by many to offer the best view in Zion. Most of the hike is on exposed redrock. Hikers will be picked up five hours after beginning the hike.

Echo Canyon
Difficulty: easy
Length: five miles
Time: four hours

Hikers are transported through Zion Ponderosa Ranch, and are dropped off at the Park fence. This clearly marked trail takes hikers through Echo Canyon. Echo Canyon is known for its switchbacks that descend 2,100 feet over the course of the hike. The trail has sheer cliffs and impressive views of Angel's Landing in the center of the canyon. The hike ends at the Weeping Rock parking lot. Hikers are recommended to hike the additional mile to Weeping Rock, a wall of sandstone that boasts lush vegetation nurtured by the continuous exposed Navajo Sandstone Aquifer that seeps from the fractured bedrock. Shuttle service will meet hikers in the parking lot, four hours after beginning the hike.

Winter HikingCable Mountain & Deer Trap Mountain Trails
Difficulty: easy/moderate
Length: eight/nine miles
Time: five hours

These hikes offer the visitor some of the most spectacular views in the Park. Both trails are round trip in that they begin at the Echo Canyon drop off point, but rather than descend to the bottom of Zion Canyon as does the Echo trail, they end at sheer cliffs which overlook the canyon. Cable Mountain is approximately 8 miles for the round trip. Visitors will see the remains of the old bulwarks of a pioneer logging operation that transported lumber 2,200 feet straight down to the canyon floor. The view from Cable Mountain includes the Great White Throne, Angels Landing, Observation Point, and the west rim of the Park. The Deertrap Mountain trail splits off the Cable Mountain trail at the mid-point. This trail is approximately 9 miles round trip and includes views of The Court of the Patriarchs, Twin Brothers, and East Temple. Both of these hikes end back at the drop off point. Visitors will be picked up five hours after beginning the hike.

East Entrance Trail
Difficulty: easy
Length: three miles
Time: two hours

This three mile hike is accessed through Jolley Gulch on the ranch. It is easy walking and has one short ascent, midway through the hike. After walking for nearly a mile through the wooded gulch, hikers cross into the Park, then immediately emerge into a spectacular clearing that overlooks the deep White Cliff Canyon. The trail continues for two more miles, circling into Cave Canyon and Clear Creek Wash. Hikers are offered an unbelievable view of Checkerboard Mesa throughout most of the hike. The trail ends just opposite the East entrance of the Ranger station. A shuttle van will meet hikers here, approximately two hours after beginning the hike.

Park Hikes

Canyon Overlook Trail
Difficulty: easy
Length: two miles (round trip)
Time: one hour

This hike is available year-round. Hikers begin the hike adjacent to the east entrance of the mile long tunnel in the Park. A short ascent takes hikers to a scenic trail used for surveying the tunnel construction in the 1920s. This one-hour hike offers beautiful views of the park and can be enjoyed by most visitors to the Park.

Winter ResortAngel's Landing and Scout Lookout Trails
Difficulty: moderate
Length: Scout Lookout--3.8 miles round trip Angel's Landing--4.8 miles round trip
Time: Scout Lookout-2.5 hours Angel's Landing-4.8 hours

Scout Lookout is a paved trail that ascends over 1,000 feet to the base of the Angel's Landing rock formation. Hikers get an impressive view of the Great White Throne and the big bend section of the Virgin River. Walter Wiggles is a popular section of the hike with tight switchbacks and rock walls. Most of the trail is exposed red rock, so careful hiking on the slippery trails is required in the non-summer months. Angel's Landing is the rugged, mile sandstone spire that extends from the Scout Lookout plateau. Hikers are required to use chains that have been fastened to the rock to be able to ascend this section. Cliffs are sheer so acrophobics beware! The hike finishes on a panoramic, 270 degree plateau-The Landing. This hike is also exposed red rock so take plenty of water and plan hiking times accordingly.

Lower and Upper Emerald Pools Trails
Difficulty: easy/moderate
Length: Lower Pool-1.2 miles round trip Upper Pool-2.2 miles round trip
Time: Lower Pool-50 minutes Upper Pool-two hours

These hike are very popular and can be visited by a wide variety of guests. The hike to the Lower Pool is a concrete path accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. The path to the upper pool is rocky and more demanding. Hikers can experience some of the diversity of Zion during these short hikes as the trail winds from redrock, to trees, to the pools. Once at the pools, hikers must take extreme caution because footing can be slippery and serious accidents can occur.

Gateway to the Narrows Trail
Difficulty: easy
Length: two miles
Time: 45 minutes

This paved hike begins at the Temple of Sinawava parking lot deep in the heart of Zion Canyon. Hikers walk along the Virgin River as it meanders out of the Zion Narrows. Zion's lush vegetation is abundant in this section of the Park. As hikers walk up the trail, they will pass one of the only desert swamps in the western United States. The trail ends at the Virgin River.

 

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