Observation PointFeb 24, 2017
Are you someone who prefers to skip the family-friendly, un-strenuous hikes and go directly to something a bit more challenging and perhaps longer? Then keep reading. Observation Point is one of Zion National Park’s most recognizable viewpoints as it’s images have been mass-produced on post cards and the like for years and years, not to mention that it’s one of the more popular hikes in the Park.
This amazingly beautiful hike will take you somewhere around 4-6 hours to complete (4 miles there and 4 miles back) and contains a lot of uphill action as the pinnacle of the hike puts you at about 2,100 feet so needless to stay it’s considered a strenuous hike. It is mostly paved so you won’t be engaging in any hard core off-the-beaten-path rock climbing or anything like that. Also, remember that the nice part of lots of uphill is that there will be lots of downhill on the way back. Highlights include spectacular views of Echo Canyon, incredible white cliffs, and great across-the-valley view of Angel’s Landing. Speaking of Angel’s Landing, Observation Point is no where near as exposed as it’s perhaps more famous counterpart. If AL was a bit much for you, OP will be great. You’ll love it.
To get to the trail’s starting point you’ll want to take a shuttle to the seventh stop which is the Weeping Rock trailhead. Start making your way forward on that trail. Al- most immediately you’ll start heading uphill as well as zigzagging quite a bit.
After some time (out in the heat, admittedly), you’ll get to a cooler and more shady section called Echo Canyon which is a really neat slot canyon. The conditions of the hike change quite a lot once you get to this point as you are suddenly sheltered from the sun and the uphill ascent relaxes slightly. But once you get through this section, you’ll begin to zigzag again at which point you’ll know that you’re well on your way to the hike’s last ascent. This final section is mostly level, providing you with an un-strenuous final road to victory. At last you will reach the vantage point! Get out your lunch, grab a rock slab, and bask in your triumph as you look out at the beauty of Zion.
Note: You’ll pass a whole bunch of other trailheads on your way to Observation Point. If you are wanting to make this a whole day experience and prefer to explore around, follow some of these trails a bit and then turn back around to see more of Zion Canyon. We especially recommend exploring Hidden Canyon by taking it’s designated detour if you have some additional hours available. It’s awesome.
If you do choose to spend a whole day venturing through the many other trails that connect to the Observation Point trail – which is highly recommended – consider involving Zion Mountaineering School. These folks are climbing and hiking experts and offer everything from traditional tours to actual training classes using Zion National Park and the great outdoors as their hands-on classroom. They specialize in instruction-based guiding and provide an incredible experience for those of you who really desire to immerse yourself in the how-to and know-how of exploring Zion National Park. You can choose from rock climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, canyoneering, and others. They know how to do it all. ZMS has been in business for years. It would be hard to find anyone else in Springdale who knows more or has more experience than the people at Zion Mountaineering School.