Gifford Canyon is a north-south canyon on the East side of Zion National Park. The hike through Gifford Canyon is a nice hike through a sandy wash. This hike gets you away from the crowds and into a secluded and beautiful area of Zion National Park.
Overall rating = easy/moderate
Distance: 1.5 miles one way – easy
Elevation gain: <200 feet - easy Terrain: Sandy rocky wash with some wet places - easy Exposure: Entry to the canyon is steep and open - moderate To see the trail rating system used here see Trail Rating System
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. Park at the main parking lot here.
From the parking lot climb down the steep sandy path beside the restroom and enter the Pine Creek wash which is about 50 feet below the parking lot. Gifford Canyon is directly across Pine Creek from the parking lot.
For a one page printout of the directions click Directions to Gifford Canyon
Gifford Canyon drops into Pine Creek over a 50 foot waterfall. To get to the canyon, scramble up the 15 foot wall of slickrock and then follow the trail upwards into the Gifford Canyon above the waterfall. If you are uncomfortable climbing the slickrock, which is quite steep, look for the beaten path to the left of the rock and make your way up this path.
There is one 8 foot dryfall part way up the canyon which can easily be worked around. About 1 mile up the wash there is a 50 foot dry waterfall that is very difficult to get around. In an attempt to get over this waterfall, we climbed the slickrock on the west side of the canyon to about 100 feet above the canyon but still had to go higher on steeper slickrock. At this point we turned back.