Hidden Canyon & Weeping Rock
Zion National Park, Utah
Access: Park at the main entrance visitor center at the mouth of Zion Canyon just past Springfield, Utah. Catch the free shuttle to the Weeping Rock trailhead.
Map: USGS Quad: Temple of Sinewava
Trail: Itís an easy walk of a couple hundred meters to Weeping Rock on a paved trail. Itís about 1.2 miles to the mouth of Hidden Canyon with 800í elevation gain, and the trail has some very steep drop-offs where chains anchored to the rocks come in pretty handy.
Fees: $25/car/week park entrance fee
Dogs: Not allowed on trail
Weather: National Weather Service Forecast
April 27, 2009
I applaud the Park Service for their shuttle bus system of human transport in Zion Canyon, and elsewhere. The buses are not silent, but they are infrequent, leaving the canyon very quiet most of the time. I took the bus from the campground near the main entrance to Weeping Rock, where I walked the short, paved trail to a large alcove where a rock density shift causes water seeping through the sandstone to abruptly start moving laterally, ultimately seeping out of the rock above this alcove, where it falls like rain onto the heads of hot and sweaty tourists below. The hanging gardens were not terribly impressive, and I wondered if perhaps the earliness of the season had something to do with it.
Retreating a bit down the paved path, I took the second paved path from the old parking lot uphill, cornering numerous switchbacks and gaining better vantage over the Virgin River below with each step. The trail was lined with flowering Indian paintbrush and hairy golden aster, with an occasional small juniper. The switchbacks were very exposed, and I realized too late that this hike would be much better in the morning, when the east wall of the canyon shades the trail. After a zillion switchbacks, the trail branched again, and I opted to head for Hidden Canyon, which is noted on my map as a primitive trail. The route led south around smooth canyon walls to a shaded and cool canyon cleft. The route at this point began sporting bolted chains on the walls to give hikers something to hang onto lest they fall into yonder chasm. The trail was wide, but the sheer drop off kept my hand on the lines of chain at all times. The trail cornered another sandstone wall, and led into Hidden Canyon.
Hidden Canyon feels closed-in, with narrow walls and still air that seems to absorb noise. Lots of footprints in the sandy canyon floor told me lots of folks come this way, but I didnít see or hear anyone for quite awhile. I soaked in the shady coolness of the dark canyon, brushing past ferns jutting out from damp rocks and verdant green boxelders and canyon maples as I walked slowly up what felt like a large stone hallway. Several chokestones in the narrow canyon slowed me down, but I was finally stymied by a 15-foot dry-fall. I think I could have managed to shimmy up if I didnít have my pack, camera or tripod, but with all that gear, it was too much of a stretch, so I turned back to enjoy the portion of the canyon I had already hiked from a different direction.
The Three Apostles. These aren't near
Weeping Rock, but they're just down the road
More nature pics at:
Page created 12-8-09