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