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Coalpits Wash, Zion

Coalpits Wash carries water from deep within the Zion wilderness on the south western part of the Zion lowlands. Access to this wash is either from SR9, 6.8 miles east of Virgin, Utah, or from the Dalton Wash which is accessed via the Dalton Wash road which travels north from SR9 1.3 miles east of Virgin.

Travelling Coalpits Wash between Daltons Wash and the confluence of Coalpits and Scoggins Washes is quite strenuous but the scenery is quite beautiful. There are many unusual rock formations and small waterfalls. The route entails considerable boulder climbing and stream crossings.

You will need 2 vehicles with one at the Dalton Wash parking area and one at the Coalpits Parking area.

On December 20, 2012, we travelled down Dalton Wash to the confluence of Dalton and Coalpits Washes and then travelled down Coalpits Wash to SR9.

Overall rating = moderate

Distance: 7 miles via Dalton Wash – moderate
Elevation gain: ~100 feet but with many ups and downs on the route – moderate
Terrain: Dirt, rocks, sand, water, and mud – moderate
Exposure: a long hot walk to reach SR9 – moderate

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

Getting There

The road to Dalton Wash leaves SR9 1.3 miles east of the Kolob Terrace Road in Virgin, Utah. Turn north off SR9 onto the signed moderately rough gravel road.

After 1.8 miles you reach an intersection. Turn left as the road to the right is on private land and is gated. After another 1.7 miles you reach a narrow steep road that travels up to the top of the mesa. On top, drive straight ahead on a rough muddy road to a parking lot at the Zion boundary 4.7 miles from the turnoff on SR9.

Dalton Wash enters Coalpits Wash about 3 miles from the parking area at Dalton Wash.

The Trail

Dalton Wash connects with Coalpits Wash at Campsite 5 on Coalpits Wash.

Cross the wash at the campsite and take the faint trail along the south bank of the wash heading west. After a short distance the wash passes through a narrow gorge. Climb down the slickrock bank, cross the stream, travel a short distance along the other side of the stream until you can go no further without getting wet, and climb up the slickrock bank on the far side of the stream. After a further short distance climb back down the slickrock bank and then follow the wash downstream crossing back and forth as necessary to work around obstructions. The entire 1.7 miles to the confluence with Scoggins Wash is a slow and tricky descent around and over boulders.
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Beyond Scoggins Wash Coalpits Wash crosses fairly open and flat terrain for 1.9 miles to reach the SR9 parking lot.

Here are some of the pictures we took in Coalpits Wash on December 20, 2012. Pictures of the descent down Dalton Wash are on the Dalton Wash post.
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