Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Zion's East Rim

First-my hiking boot review-KEEN sucks!

The nice color brochures that the National Parks put out have basically no information in them anymore.
The Fall newspaper edition at Zion N.P. wasn't much better.
So you will have to see the Ranger to get any description of the East Rim Trail. Or you may read this.

It was free National Park day yesterday, so we went out on a cold morning. I'm not paying $25, no thanks.

It was frigid (maybe about freezing) when we started our hike to Stave Springs from the Weeping Rock parking lot. Instead of turning left to Weeping Rock go straight and up, up, up. The trail is paved for at least the first mile. This turns out not to be a godsend as there is not much cushioning to concrete. The CCC is to blame I think. Wear well-soled cushioned  shoes.

The trail climbs 2000 feet in 5 miles from the parking lot to Stave Springs, so it is tough. It is fairly impossible to get lost. When the trail goes straight to Observation Point at the 2 mile mark, go right and downhill instead (toward the East Entrance). The route is then well cairned over slickrock to where it crosses Echo Canyon. After the crossing the trail gets very vertical again. We went up and down this very steep section in the snow, but we made it. The last mile is level  to Stave Spring. Treat the spring water before drinking! The spring is the halfway point of the East Rim Trail. We will do the other half as another out-and-back another day, from the east entrance to Stave Spring.

We did the round trip to Stave and back in 6 hours. This includes time to eat and a hike to Hidden Canyon on the way back down to the parking lot.
Hidden Canyon is another vertical little sucker, but probably only a mile each way. There are chains to hold onto on this trail at exposed areas. There is a nice little arch maybe 15 minutes past the end of the developed trail. It's right in the drainage.
Hidden Canyon is a nice extra if there is time.

The best part of the East Rim Trail is beautiful Echo Canyon, including views of narrows below the foot trail. The narrows themselves are a technical adventure and not for me. Of course there are great views all around of Zion Canyon. 

Boy my old back is sore from walking on cement, Thanks CCC! Well you needed a job I guess.


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