Canyon Overlook Trailhead / parking lot (just to the east of the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel on Route 9)
30 mins to 1 hour
1 mile roundtrip
My favorite part about visiting national parks is: no matter how many times you go to a park, you see something completely new each time. And that was definitely true for this trip to Zion National Park.
I was last here in March of this year (2018) a couple of days after a snow storm. Most of the trails were covered in snow and ice. And the highway 9 was closed altogether due to snow. That isn’t to say that my friend Alyssa and I didn’t have an incredible time at Zion, but it was nice to experience a new side of the park that wasn’t available last time.
My Mom and I drove up the gorgeous highway 9 from the Visitor Center, through the beautiful Mount Carmel tunnel. Right at the north side of the tunnel is the trailhead and parking lot for the Canyon Overlook Trail.
The trail takes you along slick sandstone, shaded alcoves of ferns and trees, a planked boardwalk where the rock has eroded away, through a gorgeous cliff overhang and finally you reach the final ascent to the overlook. The final ascent was one of the more slippery parts – I definitely recommend wearing stable shoes – preferably hiking boots. My sneakers didn’t cut it and I slipped a couple of times on the slick rock.
The expanse of Zion Canyon is open before Overlook, with its monumental formations visible on either side of canyon. You can see the road as it switchbacks below the west end of the Mount Carmel Tunnel. The West Temple, Towers of the Virgins, Streaked Wall, and Beehives all make up part of this tremendous view. The East Temple rises directly above the Overlook, towering more than 2,200 ft above the canyon floor.
As a whole, this is a great trail for families with children and the elderly. My Mom completed the whole trail at 67 with hip issues.