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The Canyon Overlook Trail: A Short (But Sweet!) Hike in Zion NP

The Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park offers visitors one of the best combinations of easy access compared to magnificent views that you can find in the park.

In an hour or less, visitors can complete a round-trip hike to the Canyon Overlook, which is home to a stunning view of Zion’s East Canyon, and it is absolutely worth the (small) effort.

This is one of the most kid-friendly hiking trails in Zion, and a favorite pick among those not interested in long hikes–but even experienced hikers will love this short-and-sweet trail in Zion NP.

View of Zion East Canyon from the Canyon Overlook Trail Zion National Park

What’s it Like to Hike Zion’s Canyon Overlook Trail?

Hiking the Canyon Overlook trail is very simple and lots of fun!

The trail starts with a very short, but fairly steep, climb up a stone staircase to the main part of the trail (there are handrails installed).

Once you reach the trail itself, it’s fairly level, with a gorgeous, shaded cave near the halfway point that makes the perfect place to take a bit of a break from the sun and heat.

The views of the canyon at the end of the trail are absolutely magnificent, and would be worth far more effort than this quick hike requires!

Jeremy Storm standing in a cave in Zion NP overlooking a grove of trees

Essential Details for Hiking the Canyon Overlook Trail

The Canyon Overlook hike is a mere 1-mile round-trip and is rated as easy.

There is a small parking lot available on the south side of Highway 9, across the street from the trailhead, which makes parking easy. Since this trail isn’t located along the Zion Scenic Drive, you can drive your own vehicle there.

There are composting toilets available at the trailhead.

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How to Get to the Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion NP

To reach the Canyon Overlook trailhead when coming from Springdale, follow Route 9 all the way through the Mount Carmel Tunnel.

Once you exit the tunnel, you’ll very quickly see a parking lot on your right–keep your eyes peeled not to miss it!

The parking lot is small, so if you’re visiting the park during peak season, an early start is recommended.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm standing at the summit of the Canyon Overlook Trail Zion NP

Tips for Zion’s Canyon Overlook Hike

Watch the edge!

While the Canyon Overlook trail is a fairly easy hike, there are a few (potentially slippery) exposed edges that, if not approached cautiously, could cause a fall–including at the phenomenal viewpoint at the end of the trail.

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Exercise caution when approaching the trailhead.

Since you’ll need to cross Route 9 to get from the parking lot to the trail, you’ll want to keep a careful eye out!

This is a fantastic place to eat a picnic lunch in Zion.

The combination of easy access and near-perfect views makes this a fantastic picnic destination.

There’s also plenty of space to spread out at the final viewpoint, so it’s easy to find a quiet place to sit away from the crowd.

Jeremy Storm relaxing at the end of the Zion Canyon Overlook hike with the view in the background

The trail can be slippery when wet.

Be sure to exercise increased caution after rainfall.

Regardless of when you complete the Canyon Overlook hike, sturdy hiking shoes are recommended–while the trail is easy, you absolutely want more traction than something like flip-flops provide.

Look for the windows!

If you look closely when admiring the view from the Canyon Overlook trail in Zion, you can spot the windows of the Mount Carmel Tunnel carved out of the canyon wall.

Other notable sights visible from the overlook include the West Temple, the switchbacks leading to the Mount Carmel Tunnel, and the Beehives.

View along the canyon overlook hiking trail in zion national park

 

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