As Utah’s first national park, Zion is a popular destination for visitors from around the world. This compact Utah gem welcomed a record 4.5 million visitors in 2018. However, many visitors never leave the canyon floor or the Narrows area, so with a little effort and elevation gain, you can literally get above the crowds and experience the wonders of this majestic canyon landscape. We only had time for one hike in Zion, and it was an easy choice to avoid the Angel’s Landing crowds and get even higher via Observation Point. After spending time at the quieter Utah parks, the sheer volume of tourists at Zion was a bit jarring. Hiking a quieter trail made all the difference.
Observation Point rewards hardy hikers with a cliffside trail and canyon before opening up to postcard panoramas of Zion’s incredible natural features. The high point of this hike sits about 700’ above Angel’s Landing, one of the park’s best vantage points. On this hike you’ll get a view not just of the park, but also a bird’s-eye-view of the Landing from above.
The trail to Observation Point is a steady climb, gaining over 2,000’ in the four miles from trailhead to end point. The trail starts climbing immediately, winding up the side of the cliff towards Echo Canyon. It opens up from here, and continues to climb before flattening out for the final stretch to Observation Point. The views get better as you near the top, so don’t worry about stopping for photos around each bend. There is no parking at the trailhead, but the Zion shuttle systems are frequent and convenient.