Northgate Peaks TrailMar 10, 2017
Northgate Peaks Trail
We know that every year there are many different types of hikers and adventurers who visit Springdale and Zion Canyon, from beginners to seasoned pros. And rightly so because Zion National Park isn’t just a place where hardcore thrill-seekers, survivalists, and experienced outdoorsmen come. Zion is an outdoor paradise where anyone at any age can visit and have a fantastic experience, being that there are hikes, for example, that range in difficulty from easy peasy to inordinately strenuous. This post is about a Zion hike that would definitely be placed in the easy peasy category. Thousands upon thousands of families visit Springdale every year looking for family-friendly excursions that they can all enjoy together, including young children. Well, there are plenty of hikes and trails that fit that description and the Northgate Peaks Trail is certainly one of them. Taking his trail will allow you to get away from the “name brand” trails, so to speak, remove yourself from the summertime rush, and see a section of the Park that is vastly under viewed.
If you are looking for a trail that is relatively short that you can bring you kids on but is longer than the popular lower Emerald Pools trail or Riverside Walk, this is the one. The Northgate Peaks Trail is 2 miles to the viewpoint and 2 miles back and is pretty much level whole time. It should take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours of time, depending on how slow or fast you take it as well as how long you relax at the viewpoint. This trail is in the Kolob Terrace part of the Park, meaning that your surroundings will include mostly open fields and lush pinion forests, as well as some beautiful white sandstone formations here and there. This scenery is quite different from what you’d primarily be looking at while hiking the big-name trails in the more well-known parts of the Park but is certainly a wonderful variation to what, to some, may be familiar views.
To get to the beginning of the Northgate Peaks Trail, drive from Springdale back towards the city of Virgin (that you passed on your initial drive to the park) by taking Route 9 which should be familiar to you if you are already staying in a Springdale hotel. Turn on Kolob Terrace Rd and drive about 15 and a half miles to the parking area known as the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead. You shouldn’t have any trouble spotting this parking area as it is marked with an informational display case. Once you’ve found it, park your car. You’ve made it! (We should note here that one of the Subway routes starts here as well, so don’t be confused if you see signage denoting as much).
You’ll have hiked the first mile when you’ll come to one of three relatively close trail intersections, one after the other. Make sure to turn left here (the Lava Point direction), then shortly after that you’ll come to another trail intersection. On this second one, go right. Then you’ll come to the third and final one. Continue going straight through this one. Once you’ve passed through that third intersection, you have only 1 mile to go until you’ve reached the viewpoint. When you get there, break out the lunches and the cameras. Some consider the sights at the end of Northgate Peaks Trail to be somewhat underwhelming compared to, say, Angel’s Landing or Observation Point, but in our opinion, it is simply different, not worse. It gives you a glimpse of what’s known as the Great West Canyon and includes views of many named and beautiful formations, such as both Northgate peaks, North Creek, and the North Guardian 3 Angel. Turn around go right back the same way you came when you’re all done at the viewpoint.
Again, this is a wonderful choice when you have children and want to experience Zion with them, or if you are advanced in age and prefer something simple and easy. And like any hike in Zion, there’s no shortage of amazing things to see on the Northgate Peaks Trail.
Photos are courtesy RJ Hooper Photography. To see more of RJ’s amazing work check out his website by Clicking Here
This edition of “The View From Here” was written by our very own Gregory Knell. Want to know more about Greg? Click Here