Just off of Interstate 15, in the northwestern corner of Zion National Park, lies a hidden treasure away from all the crowds. Kolob Canyon is full of towering sandstone cliffs, babbling creeks and gorgeous hiking trails, many of which are stock-grade for horses. It’s also home to 15 backcountry campsites, two of which are specifically designated for equestrian use. If you’re looking to escape the Zion crowds without missing the rust-colored bluffs that make Zion famous, look no further than Kolob Canyon.
Easily accessible via a major freeway, Kolob Canyon Road has a ranger station and visitor center just as you turn onto it. Stop here to get a day pass or reserve a backcountry campsite for overnight use. The rangers are friendly and can suggest one of the many trail options in the area, from the easy 1-mile Timber Creek Overlook to the 5-mile Taylor Creek Trail and its historic log cabins.
If overnight backpacking is on the menu, take the La Verkin Creek Trail (from the Lee Pass Trailhead) along a chilly, babbling stream and through cottonwood trees as you pass alongside massive, orange bluffs. For the best views and easy access to water, campsites 4 to 10 can’t be beat. They are well-spaced with plenty of privacy and opportunities to cool off in the creek. At 6.3 miles into the hike, a 0.6-mile side trip up to Kolob Arch is well-worth the effort. This is the second longest natural arch in the world, and if you scramble up past the end of the trail a bit, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views.
If you’d like to extend your trip into a multi-night backpacking adventure, the La Verkin Creek Trail joins with the Hop Valley Trail just east of the turn-off toward the arch, and is a part of the Trans-Zion Trek, which traverses Wildcat Canyon and the West Rim Trail down into the main valley of the park.
For an overnight adventure in one of the more secluded and overlooked corners of Zion National Park with options to link up to other trails, Kolob Canyon is a perfect escape.