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As you know, I was just in Wisconsin for about a month for the holidays. I had all these plans to do all kinds of fun stuff in the area and then it was freezing cold, like below zero the majority of our time there. So all those cool things I wanted to do have to wait for the next trip back.
After that, we came back out to Utah and have been staying near Zion National Park. In total, we’ll be here for three weeks before heading to Moab for a week and a half(ish) and then we’ll finally be back at good old Lake Powell.
One of the first few hikes we did in Zion was the Canyon Overlook Trail. It’s on the east side of the big tunnel, right before you go into the tunnel actually. I never noticed this trail before, which is a little surprising.
I was doing some Googling about Zion and came across a post about it and that was it. I decided this was something I was going to do before I left. So, off we went. It was mid-afternoon when we got to the trailhead and finally set off.
It’s not a super long or tough hike, but there is a little elevation gain right away. There is also a little bridge going to the “cave” as it’s called. It’s a short little bridge, but it’s a little creaky and I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous going over it. I’m not horribly afraid of heights, but little (or big) rickety bridges really get me.
I’d say the bridge is about halfway and from there it’s pretty easy. There are some flat parts, others with a little elevation gain, but nothing crazy. If you’ve done Angels Landing, Observation Point, or Hidden Canyon, this is like, a million times easier than the switchbacks on those.
One thing it does have in common with Angel’s Landing and Observation Point is the view. Yes, it’s a different canyon, but the same gist.
At the end, you get to the overlook point and have a wonderful view of Echo Canyon and the switchbacks you just drove up. On your way up, you can see the tunnel windows if you look off to the left at the canyon wall.
We hung out at the top for a bit before heading back down. On our way out, we saw five bighorn sheep walking towards us in the canyon below. They were coming from the little bridge right after the tunnel.
We spent almost an hour just watching them below us. They were pretty close and the trail wasn’t super packed, so it was easy to just hang around watching them eat and jump around the rocks.
National Park Pass + Other National Park Deals
- If you’re planning on visiting multiple parks (3 or more) on this trip or within the year, I would highly recommend getting a national park pass. It’s $80 and you can get it at the park entrance. It will pay for itself in about three parks. It’s so worth it and I buy one every year! They’re also great for gifts for the park lovers in your life.
- To help plan the best national park trip ever, this Ultimate National Park Planning Bundle is perfect! You get two ebooks and a planner, saving 50% by getting them as a bundle! If you want all the details, this is the bundle for you. Buy the Ultimate bundle here.
- This National Park Planner (one of the ebooks from the bundle above) is perfect if you just want some guidance in your planning. Buy the planner here.
- Get yourself a little National Park notebook to write all about your adventures while you’re on the road. These from Field Notes are all very cute! If you want one for all of the NPS sites (400+!) then this one is for you!
- Before your trip, get some national park apparel for your trip! Homage is donating 5% of sales from the national park collection to the National Parks Conservation Association this year. Buy national park shirts here.
- Consider reading some of these books set in national parks before your big trip, on your adventure, or once you get home to take you back to the parks until next time.
- Planning a big national park trip? Check out these other posts: National Park bucket list, Make the most of a National Park trip, National Park camping packing list, My favorite National Park hikes, More National Park hikes I love, Underrated National Parks.
Where is the Canyon Overlook Trailhead in Zion?
The Canyon Overlook Trailhead is right on the east side of the tunnel (the far end of it if you’re coming from the visitor center). It’s literally the last thing before the tunnel.
There is a small parking area across from it but it’s almost always full so you may have to park in one of the other pullouts and walk back over but it’s not usually far.
How long is the Canyon Overlook hike in Zion?
Just one mile round-trip! This is a great short hike in Zion and one of my favorite easy hikes in Utah. This is a great hike if you’re limited on time or have some spare time to fill but not enough for a longer hike.
Is the Canyon Overlook Trail hard?
Nope! The beginning might be a little steep but overall, I would say its easy. It has 187 feet of elevation gain which isn’t too bad but it is a short trail so AllTrails does have it as moderate.
Is the Canyon Overlook trail in Zion worth it?
Definitely! The view from the Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion may not be exactly like those of the more iconic and difficult trails but this view is 100% worth it! And it helps that its a short and easy hike.
This is one I always recommend to anyone visiting, even if you just have one day in Zion since it doesn’t take too long to hike the whole thing.
What to bring on the Canyon Overlook Hike in Zion
Water bottle – It’ll be hot and you’ll need to stay hydrated. Even if it’s not hot you need to stay hydrated. A Hydro Flask will keep your water ice cold all day long.
Hat – You’ll want some kind of hat to keep the sun out of your eyes. A baseball hat should be fine but a bucket hat or sun hat could help keep the sun off your neck.
Sunglasses – This is a must no matter where you are. Sunglasses are best paired with a hat on those really bright days.
Sunscreen – If you plan on being outside, you’ll want sunscreen. I like the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch a lot AND it’s reef safe! If you’re sensitive to fragrance though, it’s not a good choice. I also like the same one but specifically for your face.
Light Jacket – Because you just never know. Weather can change quickly depending on where you are, time of day, and season. I usually use my rain jacket for this.
Good hiking shoes – If you’re hiking when it’s warmer, Chacos will be good. If it’s fall, muddy, or a little cooler out, you’ll want closed toe shoes.
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Have you hiked the Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion? What did you think of it? Do you want to do it?