- Shuttle Stop 7, [Weeping Rock]
- Estimated Roundtrip Time: 6 hours
- Distance: 8.0 miles/12.9 kilometers
- Elevation Change: 2148 feet/655 meters
About Observation Point
Zion Observation Point isn’t named for an explorer, or some legend, or even any kind of special story. The plain name reveals exactly what it is, perhaps the best vantage of the valley in all of Zion… perhaps… From the 6500’ elevation you can look 2200’ down into the valley and canyon below taking in particularly glorious views of the Virgin River’s Big Bend, the Weeping Rock trailhead, across the canyon the peaks of Mount Majestic, to the south The Great White Throne, and down river in the distance is the Zion National Park Lodge.
From this viewpoint, you are elevated about 700’ above Angels Landing and are looking down on it from across the canyon. This is a spectacular observation point and needs to fancy name to relay that.
However, like the Hidden Canyon Trail, this classic trail is currently closed at the time of this writing due to the same calving of Cable Mountain that has the Weeping Rock Trailhead shut down for safety and repair. Alternate routes offer little elevation change and no real views as you come in from the eastern border of the park. Until Weeping Rock Trailhead is opened up, you can take the 4.5 mile Stave Trail or the 3 mile jeep road entrance of East Mesa Trail. Both are gentle hikes through varying vegetation that may be beautiful to look at but offers only gently sloping hills.
When Weeping Rock opens back up you’ll follow the same approach as you did on Hidden Canyon Trail for the first mile until the trail splits at the root of Cable Mountain. Instead of turning off the trail to the right, we continue on with the remaining switchbacks on East Mesa Trail as we climb right into Echo Canyon.
Here you will have some shadow shade from the surrounding peaks. Cooler temperatures and a respite from the baking sun make this a great spot to pause and catch your breath. The canyon often harbors deep pools of cool water but can’t be relied upon as a source as the water can dry up or go stagnant in the dryer months. You may see overnighters or technical canyoneering climbers in Echo Canyon. Their approach often comes in from above as they rappel into the shadows.
The carved path is paved but strenuously uphill and will tax your legs and lungs all the way up. There is some minor exposure to the cliffs along the way but once you reach the top and join the East Rim Trail you’ll begin climbing the switchbacks on the eastern side of the hills and will get just a bit of shade here and there from the increased vegetation. Don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security, it’s a hot haul and you need to make sure you are properly hydrated.
Just a few more switchbacks and you’ll round the corner to the south face of Temple Cap’s White Cliffs for the final climb. Once you reach the top, it’s a good straight mile of fairly level ground to the junction where East Mesa Trail continues east and Observation Point Trail leads west. We leave the paved trail for a good 3/4 mile to the end of the trail at Zion Observation Point. The view will make you forget all the burning in your legs and make you glad you took the journey.