Across the East Zion Slickrock

Across the East Zion Slickrock

Posted on: January 26, 2019 5:22 pm
by: Doug Smith

Zion National Park is a busy place and all of the hiking trails in the main canyon are very well-used, but routes can be hiked in the East Zion area which few people venture into.    Most of these are routes that require navigation and scrambling.   There are few parking spots, no trail signs, no cairns, and lots of steep terrain.    A few locals know the routes, but visitors will find the area challenging.    We were fortunate to follow a local across the slickrock route.  The “trailhead” was at a small pullout by the small tunnel on UT9, 2 km past the long tunnel,   We dropped into the Clear Creek Canyon and followed the wash downstream for 0.9 km before turning south into a side canyon.   This is an area surrounded by cliffs, but we climbed a steep ramp to get up onto a slickrock plateau, bearing south to Gifford Canyon.

Much of the route was across colorful sandstone slickrock, following ridges, descending ramps or up and down a series of ledges.

The views were outstanding in every direction.   This is a type of hiking we just don’t have in B.C.

Crawford Canyon Route – the east Temple in the background


A few pools in the washes provided reflections of the sunny hills above.

On this route, we detoured to a hidden narrow slot canyon high high on a ridge.

There were stunted pinyon pines, junipers, and spiny desert vegetation  wherever water ran into a collection point and sand accumulated.    Old sun-dried juniper branches were washed downhill and collected in this small gully.

A small herd of bighorn sheep kept an eye on us as we worked our way back across the slickrock.

Finding a way back down off the ridges was always a challenging puzzle to solve.   We often had to traverse across several steep slopes to find a reasonable ramp down.

We did this same route a few years ago, but chose to do it again, supported by our friend Deborah Askew who guided us along the complicated and rewarding slickrock trek.

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About the Author

Doug Smith

Doug writes for Kamloops Trails, a not-for-profit (and ad free) website, offering information on trails, waterways, routes, featured spots, viewpoints, and explorations in the outdoors in the Kamloops area (and beyond).

Doug started exploring this area in 1976 and continues to follow tracks and routes wherever they lead, with the aid of map, compass, GPSr and camera. After many dead-ends, but also many discoveries, he chose to share this information.

The Kamloops Trails website has a massive number of interesting posts and would be of interest to anyone in Kamloops who enjoys the outdoors. Visit the Kamloops Trails website at:


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