Location: Zion National Park – Park Shuttle Map
Distance: 8.1 miles (Weeping Rock is ~0.5 miles)
Type: Day-hike; Out-and-back
Rating: Very Difficult
Permits & Fees: $35 pass for one vehicle (good for 7 days). If parking in the town of Springdale, UT, right outside of the entrance, it is $10 to park and $20 per person (good for 7 days) if walking into park by foot. More information can be found here.
Due to the strenuous nature of this hike, water, and shoes with excellent grip are required. Warm clothing during the fall and winter months is also required, especially since the elevation gain is higher than most of the other hikes in the Park.
Take the Park Shuttle to the 7th Stop also known as Weeping Rock. After departing the shuttle, walk across the parking lot to the start of the trail. Take the trail to the left to see the Weeping Rock (a little less than half a mile total). The path is very steep, but short. Here you can view the Weeping Rock:
To complete the Observation Point Trail, keep right:
The hike starts off on a dirt path and quickly turns into a paved trail. Immediately, the hike becomes very strenuous with a series of switchbacks that lead up the mountain. This sign marks a fork in the trail. Unfortunately, it was closed while I was there, so I didn’t have the opportunity to explore the Hidden Canyon Trail:
The trail continues into a canyon and flattens out. After this sign, the trail offers some beautifully unique terrain:
After this portion of the trail, it becomes very steep again. The trail continues up the mountain with sheer drop-offs and blind corners, so it is crucial to pay attention to surroundings. While I was hiking this portion of the trail, I found myself completely alone and surrounded by wildlife, including chipmunks (these little guys are everywhere!) and big-horned sheep. I had the impression that most of the animals are used to people since this portion of Zion is frequented with visitors, but it always best to keep a safe distance.
The halfway point of the 4-mile trek to the summit is marked by this sign:
The next portion of the trail is the most strenuous, in my opinion, but about 0.5 miles away from the summit, the trail flattens out and it is a fairly easy walk to the top. Once you reach this sign, the lookout is just a few more minutes ahead:
Finally, after a tough climb to the top, a view that is even more spectacular than Angel’s Landing (I thought this would be impossible) is the ultimate reward for all of the hard work:
After spending about 20 minutes at the top, I made my way back down at a very quick pace. Similar to Angel’s Landing hike, I would recommend getting there as early as possible to beat the crowds. Although it wasn’t as busy as Angel’s Landing, there were still quite a few people, even during the off-season.