Taylor Creek Trail
There are so many fantastic hikes in Zion that are outside the main canyon where the majority of tourists tend to spend the greater part of their time. Selecting these hikes over those in the main canyon allows you to remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of potentially high-traffic tourist areas (depending on what time of year you’re visiting) and see things that are just as spectacular as most anything Zion National Park has to offer. Taylor Creek Trail (sometimes known as “the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek”) is a great example. There aren’t very many “popular” (or even official) trails in the Kolob Canyon section of the Park, but Taylor Creek Trail is fortunate to be among those few. It’s a shame that more people don’t hike this one. You’ll see what we mean when you do. The finger canyon section is especially beautiful.
The roundtrip distance is only 5 miles, so plan on somewhere between 3 and 5 hours of hiking time depending on the ages and capabilities of those who’ll be joining you. Children should be just fine as the hike overall is pretty level. Most people treat this one as a day hike without any other plans, giving enough time to get there, hike it, and return home.
Among the great things about this particular trail is that it’s very easy to locate. Head towards the Kolob Canyon entrance and keep and eye out for a big parking lot on the north (left) side. The lot is a couple of miles before the Canyon entrance. Park there, get out, and off you go! You’ll be hiking down to Taylor Creek – a small tributary with typically very light water flow – and then once you reach it, you’ll be hiking upstream. Don’t worry, this isn’t the Narrows. Yes, there’s some water, but it’s highly unlikely that your feet will even get wet; just a little, if anything. You mostly will be traversing a maintained trail that runs alongside the river, with the occasional boulder or large rock to hike over or around.
Your hike will ensure sightings of old cabins built in the 30’s, back when Zion National Park didn’t even officially include the Kolob section. On the trail, you’ll also catch glimpses of strong pink and orange sandstone colorations which are even more spectacular when the sunlight hits them (afternoon hikers will likely experience this). And finally, you’ll reach the best part of the hike, the Double Arch Alcove. It’s a large concave rock formation with really neat white and black stripe patterns where water has found its way through the wall. It’s a beautiful spot with a wonderful ambiance worthy of many photographs. Stay here as long as you like and then head back. Side note: You may notice that it appears you can continue hiking further from this point because technically you can, but we don’t recommend it. Unstable rocks and overgrown greenery make for an uncomfortable hiking experience.
People who visit Springdale and Zion Canyon on a yearly (or more) basis often love this hike and sometimes treat it as an exclusive spot that only insiders really know about. It’s such a wonderful section of the Park that is often missed, so when you come visit this year, consider hiking Taylor Creek Trail. The young ones will definitely like it since they can play in the shallow water of the creek. It’s a great family hike with an incredible landmark (Double Arch Alcove) that a lot of visitors don’t end up seeing. Make sure to add this to your Zion National Park checklist.