Kolob Arch

Kolob Arch

Located in Kolob Canyons, in the northwest corner of Zion National Park, Kolob Arch is one of the world's largest natural arches. Though not directly accessed via the main Zion Canyon, the trail can be easily reached via Kolob Fingers Road Scenic Byway, just off Interstate 15 about 20 miles south of Cedar City. Kolob Canyons features the same dramatic desert landscape associated with the main section of the park: towering colored cliffs, narrow winding canyons, forested plateaus and wooded trails along twisting side canyons. What you probably will not find here are the crowds of visitors, so this is a great place to explore if you are seeking solitude.

Kolob Canyons

Kolob Arch Trail Guide

Overview: A long day hike or short overnight backpack up La Verkin Creek to Kolob Arch, one of the largest freestanding arches in the world.

Distance: 14 miles (22.5 km) round trip

Hiking time: About 8 hours

Best season: March–November

Difficulty: Moderately strenuous primarily due to length

Hazards: Bring extra water due to length

Topo maps: Kolob Arch; Trails Illustrated Zion National Park

Water: Water is available in La Verkin Creek but must be treated.

Backpacking information: Visitors interested in backcountry camping or canyoneering will require a wilderness permit, which can be reserved online at recreation.gov or in-person at a Zion visitor center. Reserved permits must be picked up in person so that rangers can review itineraries and current park conditions. The Kolob Canyon Visitor Center issues permits seasonally, and the Zion Wilderness Desk in the Zion Canyon Visitor Center issues them year-round. Before beginning your trip, check facility and wilderness permitting hours to see when and where you can speak with a ranger to get your printed permit.

Finding the trailhead: Follow I-15 northward and exit at the Kolob Canyons turnoff. Follow the road past the visitor center for 3.5 miles to the Lee Pass trailhead. This trail will take you along the Kolob Canyons (Fingers), specifically Timber Top Mountain, Gregory Butte, Nagunt Mesa and Paria and Beatty Points.

Trailhead GPS: 37.451281, -113.191604

What To Expect On The Kolob Arch Hike

The trail to Kolob Arch begins in the arid foothills, soon descending a finger ridge into the Timber Creek valley. A scrub forest of piñon pine and juniper allows frequent views of the towers that guard the western rim of the Kolob Terrace.

At the bottom of the grade, the trail strikes the wash of Timber Creek and follows it through riparian meadows studded with old cottonwoods and box elders. Excellent views of the spires appear to the east, and numerous side canyons wind westward from the pinnacles, inviting further exploration. The path ultimately rounds the foot of Shuntavi Butte and ascends through arid scrubland to a low saddle. Here, incredible views open up to the east and south. The trail now begins a substantial descent to reach the floor of the La Verkin Creek valley. “La Verkin” is a corruption of the Spanish La Virgen, a mistaken reference to the Virgin River. The trail bottoms out near the remains of an old corral built by Mormon pioneers. The trail now follows the north bank of La Verkin Creek into the mountains.

Ponderosa pine becomes prevalent as the trail approaches a junction with the Kolob Arch spur trail. This short trail includes some scrambling as it follows a side canyon northward from La Verkin Creek 0.5 mile to a viewpoint below Kolob Arch. This amazing, freestanding arc of stone measures more than 330 feet in width and is among the largest natural arches in the world.

Hike information adapted from Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks (FalconGuides), which includes complete mile-by-mile hike descriptions and maps.

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