Updated: Mar 3
The Zion Canyon Overlook trail in Zion National Park is an easy hike with a huge payoff at the end. The hike is just a little more than a mile round trip and provides great panoramic views of the canyon. Even if you aren't an avid hiker or don't have much time in the park, this is 40 minutes in the park well spent.
If you are entering Zion National Park from Springdale you will drive past the visitor center and then take the right turn that goes to Carmel Junction. You'll drive up the switchbacks and enter the Zion tunnel. The trailhead for the Zion Canyon Overlook is on the left hand side after you exit the tunnel.
If you are coming from Highway 89 into the park follow the road and right before you enter the Zion Tunnel the trailhead will be on your right. There is some parking with a restroom directly across from the trailhead. Often times this small parking lot is full, as it is also where the trail head for Pine Creek begins.
No sweat if the parking lot is full however, there is additional parking a little ways further up on the left. If that lot is full there are more turnouts for parking further up the road, it just means that your hike is going to be a little longer than planned
The trail itself is well marked and can accommodate just about everyone. The most difficult portion of the trail is at the very beginning where it can be a little steep for some. However, once you are past this initial climb, most of the hike is fairly level with just a little up and down as you make your way to the overlook.
It is just a little more than 1/2 a mile to the overlook. Most people can make the walk in about 20 minutes and usually spend 20 minutes or more at the overlook itself taking in the gorgeous views and exploring around the overlook itself.
The mesa not only offers views of the canyon and pine creek below, but you can also see some of the windows that have been carved into the rock as part of the Zion tunnel. You can also catch a glimpse of Pine Creek canyon before it plunges to the valley floor.
The trail is an out and back hike, making it just a little more than a mile round trip. The red rock formations and mesas you see along the trail make the trail interesting in both directions. From the Zion Overlook Trail there is an old loop trail that explores more of the mesa. However this trail is rather difficult to find and is more difficult than the Canyon Overlook Trail, so if you decide to attempt this trail, I recommend picking up a good map and having some good route finding skills.
The Zion Canyon Overlook Trail is a hike that you can take the kids and the grandparents on, and it offers a view that won't disappoint. If you have any questions about this hike or any others in the park drop me a line in the comments section below.
If you found this article helpful and are planning other adventures in Utah consider signing up for our e-mail list (simply go to the top of page and click subscribe - it's free!) to get the latest adventure posts. You can also sign up to be a member here to share comments at the bottom of our posts and in our forums. Most importantly don't forget to get outside and find your adventure!