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Checkerboard Loop Trail

This is a remote trek into the Zion wilderness on the East side of Zion National Park. The route takes you south from SR9 about 2 miles along the drainage on the west side of checkerboard mesa. The loop route that we took skirts a large mesa on the west side of the drainage for about 3/4 mile. This enters the rock field described under the Rock Field Trail and returns north to SR9.

This is a beautiful and remote area of Zion and well worth the trek if you are up to a moderately difficult hike.

The route is mainly over slickrock with one major sandy hill climb.

Trail Rating

Overall rating = moderate

Distance: 5.3 miles including 0.8 miles along SR9 to the starting point – moderate
Elevation gain: ~1300 feet – difficult
Terrain: slickrock, some dry fall scrambles, and a steep sandy hill climb – moderate
Exposure: Long slickrock dropoffs – moderate

To see the trail rating system used here see Trail Rating System

Getting There

If coming from the west take SR9 through Springdale, Utah, into Zion National Park. Turn right on SR9 at the Canyon Junction and take the switchbacks up and through the Main Zion Tunnel. Travel through the second tunnel and park in the small two car parking area 3.0 miles from the second tunnel exit on the north side of the road. You may have to go further to the large checkerboard parking lot and turn around and come back to this parking area as it is on the opposite side of the road.

If coming from the east turn onto SR9 at the Mount Carmel Junction and drive into Zion National Park. From the East entrance gate drive 1 mile to the small parking area.

The Trail

The route begins on the south side of SR9 across from the parking spot.

Travel along the obvious drainage on the west side of the checkerboard mesa. After about 2 miles you climb a long steep sandy hill. From the top of this hill travel down and to the right (west) to the large mesa opposite the checkerboard mesa.

Travel around this mesa and head towards the distant pyramidal hill, a distance of about 3/4 mile. Stay as high as possible to avoid the deep chasms running south from the mesas to the north.

On reaching the pyramidal hills, head north and follow the obvious drainage back north to SR9.

Checkerboard Loop Trail

Checkerboard Loop Trail

Here are some pictures along the trek.
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