Zion’s Hidden Canyon

Hidden Canyon is a fantastic hike that lets you romp and scramble and explore a small side canyon that’s perched high above the Zion canyon floor.IMG_1302

Hidden Canyon lies in the slit on the right hand side of the photo above. If you look carefully, you can see people along the surface of the rock, on a trail that is carved out of the rock face.

It’s accessible by a steep, switchbacked trail that climbs until it can go no further as a regular trail. It first becomes steps, laid carefully into the rock…IMG_5931.jpg … then it becomes  a narrow sandstone rock path that leads to the cliff edge…IMG_5934.jpg… and then it becomes ledges, cut into the sandstone, with chains to hold, that go around and across a massive, curving cliff face.

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Here Bill walks along one of those ledges.
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Where the drops are precipitous, there are chains to grab.
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Unless you have a fear of heights, the trail is plenty wide, though the chains come in handy when passing people coming in the opposite direction.
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You can see how soft the rock is… where the chains rub the wall, little piles of sand result, and the chain cuts further into the cliff face.
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As you enter the canyon, you can see the Weeping Wall waterfall across the canyon.
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A final series of steps, cut into the rock, take you into the canyon, a narrow slot between two massive cliff faces.
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The chains are on the right, and the steps are on the left.

Exploring this terrain, you walk through the creek, you climb over boulders, you squeeze through tight areas, and you balance on logs. It’s super, super, SUPER fun!

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The canyon is narrow at the beginning.
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One wall is moss-covered. The other wall is sculpted rock.
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Clearly water has poured through here… and does, during flash floods.
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There are some tight squeezes.
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And there is water to navigate through.
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The wet spots are not tricky.

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The tight squeezes were my favourite parts!
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And watery spots to navigate.
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When you reach this sign, don’t stop!
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The scrambling is not difficult.
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In places it is wet, but the rock is not slippery.
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This was the most challenging spot… an easy squeeze and slide down.
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Likewise, when you get to this sign, don’t stop!

Close to the end of where you can go without climbing equipment, there’s a little arch … such an amazing feature.

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Hidden Canyon’s stone arch.
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It’s so fun to clamber up the arch.
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This is the back of the arch, seen from above while standing on it.

See what it’s like to walk up on top of it… it’s like walking along the back of a giant worm in a horror movie!!

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On the way out for us, the rain stopped and the sun came out, showing off the incredible colours of the rock!
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Back to the cacti of the open sun areas….
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… back out through the chains….
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…. down the worn ledges…
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And soon, onto the switchbacked trail.

Just imagine… wherever you see a waterfall in Zion, falling from high above the canyon floor, there is a smaller canyon like this one, hidden out of sight. I love that the park’s founders decided to make one of these high canyons accessible (by carving trails into the cliff face) to us all, revealing a little bit more of the magic of this wondrous place.

If You Go…

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  • Bring gaitors for the water pools in the canyon. This way you will not have to scramble up high on crumbly dirt trails, and contribute to the erosion of the area. You can simply splash through the puddles on a rock hard surface, instead.
  • Bring food and drink with you as there is nothing to purchase in the park and getting to the trailhead using the mandatory shuttle system (in and out) takes quite a while.
  • DO NOT enter the canyon if the water is rushing, or if heavy rain is in the forecast. These canyons are sculpted by water… powerful water…. and are prone to flash floods. Check the weather forecast & park system warnings before heading out.

Read More About our Time In Zion

 

 

17 Comments on “Zion’s Hidden Canyon

    • Thanks for stopping by, Kenneth! I’d be curious to know your thoughts about whether the crowds were more crazy this year versus last, when you were there. Or whether it was simply our timing, being there around Easter. What time of year did you visit?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hey Sheri! I visited Zion around late May/early June last year. It wasn’t as packed as I thought it would be since the weather was perfect. I think it has to do with high water levels during that time of year and some hikes were inaccessible such as the Narrows!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Another good post, Sheri. Whoda thunk I’d learn so much about Zion National Park from a couple of Canadians on vacation. Thanks much! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Heh heh heh. 😜 The world is an amazing place and travel is one of the best ways to keep learning, long after the school days are behind us. Sometimes, I think, you can learn a lot from the perspective, experiences and insights of someone travelling … even when they’re tromping through your own backyard. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Looks like you managed to escape the worst of the crowds. I think I read once some ridiculously high percentage of tourists never get more than 1/4 mile away from their car. I did a little better than that at Zion, but not as well as you.

    So how deep were those pools? Not over the boot tops?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The ones in Hidden Canyon were, but we had gaitors on. The ones on the next hike (Observation Point) were shallow, with large stepping stones. Wait until you read the next post about Angel’s Landing… that’s where you’ll see the ridiculous crowds! Where did you go in Zion?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m not sure I understand gaitors. It seems like water would still be able to come up through the bottom. I can see how they’d help with snow or mud.

        It’s been 40 years since I was at Zion and don’t remember exactly what I saw, but I suspect Angels Landing was one destination. Guess I’ll have to break out the old slides, if they’re still any good, and see what’s on ’em. Being film, and being young and too broke for much processing back then I probably don’t have much.

        Liked by 2 people

      • 40 years! Wow! It’s time to hear back, I think! Image what you could do now with your photography skills!

        As for gaitors… they work ok in water if you move fast! 😉 The trick is to have them fit snuggly on your boot where the top of your foot meets your ankle. That’s what the adjustable strap is for that goes under the arch of your boot. I’ve even worn them with my waterproof trail runners with a wee bit of success.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like a slightly treacherous, but very adventurous hike. I have a running list of hikes for when we make our way down to Zion (and its neighbouring national parks in Utah) and I just added this one to that list. Thanks for this. Looks fun! And I’m totally going to get a pair of gaitors.

    Liked by 2 people

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