Canyon Overlook Trail – Zion National Park


By the end of Day 6 I had to be back in Las Vegas for the flight home.  But I still had one more exciting stop: Zion National Park.  The park is about 30 miles from Kanab.

Heading into Zion National Park from the east, I made my first stop at the Canyon Overlook Trail.  The mile long round trip leads to an incredible overview of the Pine Creek canyon, and the road you’ll soon drive.

This is a scene from the trail, where an overhanging rock provides a little shade along the way.

This is the view from the Canyon Overlook, at the end of the trail.  The canyon walls in the distance appear to be painted on, as if you were on a Hollywood sound stage, staring at a painted canvas. It doesn’t just look that way in this picture. That’s how it looks to the naked eye, as well.

Other things to note about this picture: it does not show much of Zion Canyon, but rather, another canyon that opens into Zion Canyon.  Also note the winding, switchback road at  the canyon floor.  That’s where we’re headed next.

When you reach the end of the trail, don’t forget to turn around, and see the rest of the scenery.

The Canyon Overlook Trail begins and ends at the Zion – Mt. Carmel tunnel, which was completed in 1930.  The tunnel is more than a mile long, and instead of going through the mountain, as you might expect, the tunnel skirts the side of it.  Occasional windows in the side of the tunnel provide the only light inside.

There are also a few places where, at one time, cars could stop inside the tunnel.  It’s simply too dangerous to do that kind of thing now, so the park has blocked access to those pull-outs.

If you’re driving an oversized vehicle, like an RV or motor home, you’ll need an escort through the tunnel.  There is an extra charge. Tune to the park’s low power radio station for more info.

Note: This trip was first published in 2004. I hiked the Overlook Trail again on a later visit, and then continued on up the hill for an even better view.  You can check out that visit here.

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