Zion National Park – Canyon Overlook Trail – Day #3

My first full day in Zion NP, H- planned a majorly full exciting day for us, so we got up early, ate breakfast and headed out.  Our first hike of the day was Canyon Overlook Trail, which was also the first time I got to see anything other than the inside of the canyon.  We headed east on highway 9, the highway that runs through the park, and went through the 1.1 mile tunnel through the mountains (very cool!) to the trailhead.

As its name probably implies, Canyon Overlook trail is one-way, uphill and somewhat steep in places.  There are occasional handrails, but not many.  Although normally I hate steep, the trail was only about a half a mile so we powered through the 160ft elevation change quickly and easily.

When we got to the top of the trail to the overlook, I was blown away.  Looking down you could see the highway, all the switchbacks and the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel.  Looking out, I got a breath-taking view of Zion canyon and a spectacular view of some of the mountains and formations you can only glimpse at from the canyon floor.

The most famous, or at least recognizable, mountains visible from the overlook are located practically straight ahead (see below pictures).  If you can’t tell by now, the majority of the names in the canyon are religiously themed.  The one on the left with a flat green top is called the West Temple.  Although it doesn’t look like it from this angle, the West Temple is the highest point in the park.  To the right of the West Temple are a couple pointy mountains called the Towers of the Virgin.  To the right of the Towers is a mountain with two large red streaks down it called the Alter of Sacrifice, for obvious reasons.



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