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Observation Point, Zion NP

The Trail to Observation Point is long and strenuous but the views on the way up and the views from the point at trail end are well worth the effort. However, if you are afraid of heights and long drop-offs don’t attempt this trail.

From Observation Point you have a wonderful view looking south down the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. One prominent feature is Angel’s Landing far below your location.

On the trail up to Observation Point you past through the upper section of Echo slot Canyon one of the most outstanding scenic canyons in Zion.

The best seasons for this hike are spring and fall when the weather is cooler, although in 2015 the winter hike was excellent as there was no snow on the trail.

Trail Rating

Overall rating = difficult

Distance: 8.5 miles return – difficult
Elevation gain: 2100 feet – difficult
Terrain: Wide cement and dirt – easy
Exposure: Extreme drop-offs of 1000 feet or more – difficult

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 left at the Canyon Scenic Drive just after crossing the Virgin River bridge.

If coming from the east turn onto SR9 at the Mount Carmel Junction and drive into Zion National Park. Drive through the main Zion tunnel and take the switchbacks down the mountain to the junction of the Canyon Scenic Drive and turn right.

From April to October the Scenic Canyon Drive is not open to public cars and you must take the shuttle. Park or get off the Shuttle at the Weeping Rock trailhead. At other times this small parking lot fills quickly so arrive early.

The Trail

The bulk of the route follows the East Mesa Trail with its many switchbacks almost the entire way to the summit. The trail is generally from 4 to 6 feet wide with a solid cement base for most of the way. Below Echo Canyon there are long sloping drop-offs with some brush on the open side so this portion is not as scary as the top portion. Beyond Echo Canyon the trail is cut into the sheer cliff side and narrows somewhat and has long steep drop-offs. Do not travel this route if high winds are expected.

About 0.6 miles up the trail from the parking lot you reach the junction of the Hidden Canyon trail at an elevation rise of about 500 feet.

After a further 0.6 miles you enter the Echo Canyon pantheon at an elevation of abut 1000 feet above the trailhead. The main trail passes through a beautiful canyon area above the deep slot of Echo Canyon. Entrance to the technical Echo slot canyon is off the East Rim Trail. This is a wet route with several short rappels. This slot can be travelled up some distance from the bottom but be prepared for cold wet water.

At about 2 miles from the parking lot you pass the East Rim Trail on the right, elevation 1200 feet above the trailhead.

The junction with the Observation Point trail is at the highest point and about 3.5 miles from the start. Observation Point is about 1/2 mile further.

E Mesa Trail Zion

E Mesa Trail to Hidden Canyon, Echo Canyon, and Observation Point

Here are some pictures of the main East Mesa Trail to Observation Point taken on February 10, 2015
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The following pictures are of the section of trail through the upper section of Echo Canyon.
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