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Pine Basin Loop, Zion

This is a moderately difficult hike into the beautiful wilderness on the east side of Zion National Park. You traverse about 2 miles to the top of a ridge and then down into Pine Basin. You then ascend another ridge and return via a steep and difficult descent to the valley below and return to the highway about 1/2 mile west of the starting point.

This hike is not for the faint of heart and has some dangerous drop-offs. Allow plenty of time in case you cannot make the final descent and have to retrace your route.

Overall rating = difficult

Distance: 3.4 miles plus 0.5 miles back to car along SR9 – easy
Elevation gain: 820 feet – difficult
Terrain: sand and slickrock with some scrambles – difficult
Exposure: steep open slickrock and edge travel – 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 right on SR9 at the Canyon Junction and take the switchbacks up and through the Main Zion Tunnel. From the Main Tunnel exit travel 1.2 miles and park on the south side of SR9 just before entering the small SR9 tunnel.

If coming from the east turn onto SR9 at the Mount Carmel Junction and drive into Zion National Park. From the entrance gate drive 4.4 miles to Clear Creek just past the small tunnel on SR9.

The Trail

The route starts in a wash immediately west of the second tunnel. After a short distance along the wash you come to the first dry-fall which is easily traversed on the left side.

You then come to a box end of the canyon. Here there is a route up the left side starting about 50 feet back from the end. This can be very tricky making your way along the edge. I found the best route was to work up higher on the left side and then traverse across.

At about 1 mile from the start the route turns sharply left and ascends a steep loose rocky hill. The turn is marked by a large boulder in the main canyon. The route straight ahead is quite nice but you soon are stymied by much brush. The ascent to this boulder is about 320 feet and then a further 80 feet up the scramble.

You then ascend to the ridge a further 100 feet and then down into Pine Basin. You cross the Basin and descend about 400 feet through a steep slickrock drainage. You then ascend about 250 feet to a ridge to your left. Head for the saddle between the main peak and a smaller peak. From this point skirt the main peak keeping to the left.

Part way around this peak you have to scramble down a steep slot to get off the ridge (GPS N37.21985,W112.93593). This slot is not visible from above but is just before a large log hanging over the edge. There is a large tree lodged in the steep slot making it even more difficult to get down.

Pine Basin Loop

Pine Basin Loop

From here keep to the left and cross a sand basin and then continue straight ahead down to the drainage below. Just off to the left you will see the Basin Arch mid way up the ridge.

Here are some of the pictures taken on February 22, 2016.

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