You’ll find a short hike to a pretty waterfall and pool of water, by hiking from Route 9 towards the Great Arch of Zion. Stopping here also gives you the opportunity to see the stone bridge that carries Route 9 over Pine Creek.
The trailhead for this unofficial trail is located at the first hairpin curve, as Route 9 makes the climb up to the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel.
From Springdale, enter the park, pass the turnoff for the canyon, then continue to the first big curve. Route 9 crosses an impressive stone bridge here. There is plenty of space to park by the side of the road. You will see the unmarked trail begin, on the outside of the curve.
Since this short hike begins at the picturesque stone bridge that carries Route 9 around the first switchback, it makes sense spend a moment appreciating the bridge itself. The Pine Creek Bridge was built in 1929-30 out of Navajo Sandstone, with an arch that’s 23 feet high and 60 feet wide. It cost $72,947.95 to build.
It’s fairly easy to walk down to Pine Creek, the small stream that runs underneath the stone bridge. You’ll probably see some tracks left by wildlife in the muddy sand along the creek bed.
After checking out the bridge, climb back up to the roadway, and look for the start of a well-worn (although unofficial trail) near the parking area on the outside of the curve.
The trail follows Pine Creek, through an area that’s clearly been sculpted by flood water. The trail passes under this rocky overhang…
… and underneath this old tree. Since this is an unofficial trail, you can expect to find a few obstacles in the way.
It doesn’t take long to come upon a small trickling waterfall. Keep hiking…
… and you’ll find this pool of water, which appears, at first, to block the path. I found a way around it, by climbing up onto the ledge on the left.
Just a bit further, and a more impressive waterfall comes into view. From a distance, you can see that it’s two-tiered…
… but once you’re directly below it, you can only see the lower portion.
There may be a way to get around the pool, and up to the top of the falls, but I was not able to spot an easy route. So, I stayed here for a while, taking pictures and enjoying the tranquility of this somewhat-hidden place.
The Bottom Line
The Pine Creek Bridge is worth a stop, even if it’s just for a moment to take a picture. The short hike to the waterfall would provide an excellent escape from the crowds, during Zion’s busy season — however, if there’s more than one group of people at the waterfall, it would feel crowded. If you see several cars at the trailhead, it might be a good idea to skip the trail until later.
Check out this time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive into and out of Zion Canyon, complete with captions: