Hike Observation Point – Zion National Park

If you want a mixture of Zion National Park’s two worlds:  Gorgeous views of distant cliffs and mesas and the wonders of Zion’s slot canyons, then this is a great hike for you.  There is absolutely nowhere along this hike without some stunning view of distant towers, or the curiosities of a cozy slot canyon.

Three Trails to Get to Observation Point

I wrote all that above, but if your goal is Observation Point, itself and not the fabulous popular hike, then you really have three options to get there:

Observation Point Trail Options - Map from: https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/maps.htm

Observation Point Trail Options – Map from: https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/maps.htm.  Click on the map for a closer view.

Option 1 – Weeping Rock Trail

Take the Zion National Park bus to the Weeping Rock Bus Stop.  Take the trail from there.  You will have options to visit the Weeping Rock and Hidden Canyon from this option.  This option is what I have described in this article.  8 miles total round trip, Start at about 4340 feet and finish at the top at 6510 vertical feet.

Option 2 – East Rim Trail

Drive to, or have somebody drop you off at the East Entrance Ranger Station in Zion National Park.  This is by far the longest of the options, but this offers some great back trail options including side trails to Cable Mountain and Deertrap Mountain.

Option 3 – East Mesa Trail

This is by far the easiest hiking option.  The most difficult part on this option is probably getting to the trailhead itself.  Joe’s guide has some directions for you if you want to try them out:  Joe’s Guide to Zion National Park – East Mesa Trail.  This will have you starting out in the East Zion area near Zion Ponderosa Ranch and taking back road jeep trails to the trailhead.

Views are Gorgeous at the Start of the Hike Too!

Views are Gorgeous at the Start of the Hike Too!

The Hike Above Weeping Rock to Observation Point

If you go the typical route, starting at Weeping Rock, you will weave the switchbacks back and forth across the cliff face as you rise above the Weeping Rock area.  You will have great views of the organ and Angels Landing.  Many guidebooks tell you about the exposure and scare off hikers, but this hike is relatively tame and you will see

families and people from old to young making this hike every day.  The views from this part of the hike are fabulous and get better and better as you climb up.  You will encounter the trail heading off to the right that leads up to Hidden Canyon.  This is a great side trip, but beware, you can spend enough time exploring it, that you run out for your primary goal:  Observation Point!

Entering Echo Canyon

Observation Point Trail Entering Echo Canyon

Observation Point Trail Entering Echo Canyon

After switching back and forth across the cliff’s face, you will suddenly find the Echo Canyon opening as you round a turn to the right.  Echo Canyon starts out cool with you up above the creek on the south west side of the canyon with the creek far below.  As you hike further in, the creek will rise up to meet you and as you follow the crescent shaped canyon around to turning north, you will have to cross the creek a couple of times.  But don’t turn back because you are afraid of getting

Echo Canyon Looking Down the Slot Canyon at the Creek

Echo Canyon Looking Down the Slot Canyon at the Creek

your feet a bit wet.  This is where Echo Canyon becomes awesome with the mystery lines carved on the canyon wall and you get to experience a genuine Zion National Park slot canyon, if only a relatively short one.  After crossing the creek a few times, the creek will drop to your right as you climb above it to pass through the slot.  Be sure to stop for a moment and look straight down at the mesmerizing creek cutting through the canyon below.

Echo Canyon is a wonderful spot to cool down during your hike after braving the cliff above Weeping Rock.  There is your last change to filter water for your pack if you are needing a refill.

You will pass through this tight spot at this point and enter a beautiful wider point with Cable Mountain spying down at you from above.  You will cross the creek one more time by use of a bridge and then will begin to climb up out of Echo Canyon.  You will go a short bit further and suddenly encounter the East Rim Trail coming up from your right.

East Rim Trail to the Top of Observation Point!

Zion National Park - Cable Mountain and the Great White Throne from Observation Point Trail

Zion National Park – Cable Mountain and the Great White Throne from Observation Point Trail

You will have travelled about 2 miles once you reach the East Rim Trail.  You can take the East Rim Trail out to the East Park Entrance which I hope to do on another trip, or you can continue up to the top!  You will leave the cool slow rise of Echo Canyon and begin to climb the switchbacks again, this time, climbing the North slope of the canyon.  You will have great views of Cable Mountain and the Great White Throne!  After a few switchbacks, views of Zion canyon will begin to reappear.  The switchbacks will continue, until you reach about 6200 feet when you will turn out from being above Echo Canyon to being in Zion Canyon again.  The top will be within view, after another switchback, the incline will decrease and you will traverse along the last, but quickest mile of the tip to the tip of Observation Point.  Near the end as you turn toward the west, you will encounter the East Mesa Trail.

Observation Point – At the Top

Observation Point View at the Top

Observation Point View at the Top

The views only get more open and majestic at the top.  You will most likely encounter other hikers at the top and will wait for your turn to take your photos.  You will be staring out and down at Angels Landing, the Organ, the West Rim Trail up to Cathedral Mountain and Mount Majestic.  Views to the South are the best, but remember to take a look

Mud at the Top of Observation Point

Mud at the Top of Observation Point

up to the north also.  The soil at the top is sandy and will be very muddy during rain and snow events.  We visited the top during a blizzard.  There are hidden exposure spots at the top.  Watch out for the others in your party including the kids.  Take out a snack and have a quick picnic as you enjoy the view and before you begin the hike back to the bottom.  But remember that the last bus at the bottom starts its route at 6:45pm.  You can turn it into a much longer hike by staying up here too long.

View From Observation Point

View From Observation Point During a Rain / Snow / Hail Storm.

Observation Point Hike – What to Take With You

So, what should you take with you on this hike?  Remember these at a minimum:

  • Climbing Observation Point Trail - Zion National Park

    Climbing Observation Point Trail – Zion National Park

    Plenty of Water

  • Food – Bring lunch!
  • Trash bag – Pack out your trash!
  • First Aid Kit – I always bring a first aid kit of moleskin, band aids, tylenol, etc…
  • Jacket – Watch the weather and bring warm clothes if needed.  It got quite cold on our trip on April 1st.
  • Hat, Sun Block – During summer months, it can get quite hot.  Sun stroke and burn are risks.
  • Binoculars and Camera – Obviously!

Other Resouces





The following two tabs change content below.
Jeff enjoys having outdoor adventures with his kids, scouts, etc... Hiking, Canoeing, and mountain biking should be done in large quantites. As a Scoutmaster, he believes that In order to be a value to the boys, a scout troop should be taking the boys to do things that they wouldn't otherwise be able to do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *