Anything but the pits, this delightful little hike in Zion Wilderness delivers nature’s solace from the crowds and the concrete. The pinyon pine and juniper tree-lined trail meanders through the open low desert drawing you in along the babbling creek and slowly revealing dazzling views of West Temple and Mt. Kinesava. The trail was named Coalpits because of the dark volcanic boulders that cover the hills to the west. The Wash is the primary drainage for the southern desert section of Zion National Park.
Notes: No dogs. Muddy area after rain or snow. There’s are options to connect to other trails (Chenile Trail, Scoggins). More on this later when I make those connections.
Getting there: UT-9 E/W 500 N – Keep your eyes open for the roadside sign and pullout. No overnight parking.
Difficulty: Easy, mostly flat, soft surface and obvious trail
Length: 5.8 Miles RT
Elevation gain: ~700ft
This lovely, woodsy hike in Kolob Canyon features a creek, 2 historical cabins, and a double, closed “arch” payoff at the end. (For an open arch hike head up the road to the Kolob Arch Trail.)
The first cabin you’ll encounter on this hike is the Larson Cabin, the second is the Fife Cabin—both were built by homesteaders around 1930.
Especially enchanting in the Fall, this hike is a treat any time of year.
Notes: This is mountain lion territory. You may see tracks. Hike aware and keep small children near you. Since this is an easy, beautiful hike, it’s quite popular. Go early to enjoy more solitude.
Getting there: Exit 40 on I-15. This is the Kolob side of Zion National Park so bring your National Park Pass or pay the entrance fee. Follow the scenic drive to the Taylor Creek parking area on the left.
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous depending on your fitness level, definitely a little longer than your standard day hike, mostly smooth, sandy terrain, great for trail running
The trail begins at the Lee Pass Trailhead off of Kolob Canyon Road / Scenic Drive. You’ll drop quickly into the canyon (770 ft in .75 mile) and traverse through the forest on a gentle, sandy path for the first 4 miles or so.
And then it gets even better. Zion vibes without the Zion crowds. After descending another 1k ft, you find yourself surrounded by dancing aspens and majestic red cliffs. This is where you’ll get your first glimpse of lovely La Verkin Creek. Oh, my—a perfect spot to pause and take in all the beauty. I’ll be back just for it. Fall is a splendid time for this hike, but I’m sure spring and early summer are delightful as well.
Continue following the trail along the creek another mile or so until you reach the junction for Kolob Arch. This trail is less distinct and a little more rugged. The distant view of the arch (possibly the largest free-standing arch in North America) is ok, but wow factor is a bit muted without a blue sky backdrop.)
You can continue up the canyon to Beartrap Canyon and Willis Canyon or head out to Holob Canyon and Kolob Terrace Road.
There are 13 camping sights along the trail. Reservations are required and can be made online, but 2 backpackers said they got their pass the same day.
Notes: Sadly, the toxic cyanobacteria have been detected in La Verkin Creek. No dogs are allowed in Zion Wilderness. Bring plenty of water as you can not filter water with cyanobacteria. Ps. Watch where you step!
Revisited the trail recently to see La Verkin Creek show off her Spring look. She did not disappoint.
Funny wildlife encounter story. Well not funny, if you’re the frogs or me. While I was “Wim Hoffing” it in the creek, I sat on 2 frogs in the midst of a tryst. Unfortunately, it would be their final, though eternal, encounter. (Gives new meaning to “happy ending”, doesn’t t?) In the meantime, as I was exiting the delightful natural pool, I almost grabbed onto a snake. There’s bound to be one in paradise, right? Notes to self, look before sitting and before placing a handhold. The harmless snake was lying in wait for the plentiful frogs. Little did he know that I’d arranged a 2 for 1 for him. Back on shore, a frog eyed and ID’d me as the culprit.
Other than that, the play/day was uneventful and beautiful. And, yes I still feel guilty about the frogs.