Zion National Park is a huge park and as a result most people only will visit a small part of it. The southern part of Zion is the most popular area.. People from all over the world visit this part of the park and it is said that Zion gets over 3,000,000 visitors a year. But…. there is more to Zion than this portion where tourists are bused up and down a twelve mile section of road. Far from the crowds of tourists in the main canyon and far to the north lies the Kolob Canyons.
The Kolob Canyons are isolated in the northwestern part of Zion National Park. What makes Kolob Canyons special are brilliantly colored Navajo sandstone formations in hues of red, pink and orange. As we entered Kolob Canyon we stopped by the ranger station to get some information. From the ranger station we drove up Kolob Canyons Road to get to our trailhead. Kolob Canyons Road is a beautiful five mile scenic drive all by itself but we stopped at the Taylor Creek trailhead parking lot. Todays hike would be an in and out hike of 5.8 miles round trip. The goal was to get to the end of the trail where there is a Double Arch Alcove in Taylor Creek.
The hike along Taylor Creek was enjoyable as we walked passed the yellow leaves of the Fremont Cottonwoods and the Gambel Oaks. Further up we were in a denser wooded area composed mostly of yellow and red leafed maples. The leaves of these trees were falling at a rapid rate with the windy conditions making Taylor Creek beautiful with the fallen leaves flowing down the creek. However, the Coupe de Grâce was the magnificent Double Arch Alcove.
The trail was a mostly level sandy/rocky trail that meandered from one bank to the other as there were several crossings of Taylor Creek. There are a few cabin ruins along the trail that we found interesting as well. We knew we were slowly climbing our way up the canyon but were surprised to find later that we ascended some 800 feet when we reached the end of the trail. I should mention that a cold front had passed through this day and the temperature was in the upper 50’s as we started hiking. Also it was quite windy with gusts of 35-40 mph. The weather wasn’t too cold until the canyon walls tightened up and we hiked the last mile in the shade making the last mile a little chilly.
We had planned to eat lunch at this spot but with the shade and the wind we decided to go back down the trail where the wind was blocked to relax and enjoy our outdoor meal. We really enjoyed Kolob Canyon and liked that we could drive into the park and that there were only a few people we encountered on the trails. I am pretty sure we will spend more time hiking in this part of Zion…