Zion Hidden Canyon
Overview: An intriguing hike into a beautiful secluded “hanging” canyon, reached via a spur trail that leaves from the Observation Point Trail (described above).
Distance: 2.4 miles (3.9 km) round-trip
Hiking time: 2.5 to 6 hours, depending on how much exploring you do
Best season: April–October
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous
Hazards: Cliff exposure; not a good hike for people afraid of heights
Topo maps: USGS Temple of Sinawava; Trails Illustrated Zion National Park
Finding the trailhead: The trail begins at the Weeping Rock trailhead at mile 4.4 on Zion Canyon Road, reached via the Zion Canyon shuttle
Shuttle stop: Weeping Rock
Trailhead GPS: 37.270861, -112.938361
The Hidden Canyon route offers a fairly challenging side trip from the Observation Point Trail, featuring a cliff-hanging beginning and a scramble up a trail-less wash between towering walls of sandstone at the end.
The path begins by zigzagging upward from the trail junction and then skirts westward around a rocky promontory. It soon dips into a narrow draw, where chains have been emplaced to form handrails in precarious spots. The route gets even more hair-raising as it continues its westward traverse above a drop-off of early a thousand feet. After a few hundred yards, the path swings southward into the mouth of Hidden Canyon.
Trail maintenance ends here; follow the sandy wash south between the lower cliffs of Cable Mountain (to the left) and the Great White Throne. After about 0.3 mile a small natural arch rises from the canyon floor along the west wall. Just beyond it are the first of the serious obstacles, and some scrambling will be required to get around them. Beyond the first chokepoint erosion has carved a convoluted hollow into the western wall of the canyon. The second impasse leads to a narrowing of the chasm, and soon a vertical cleft bars the way. Passage beyond this point is restricted in an effort to protect the habitat of the Mexican spotted owl.