- Shuttle Stop #, [Via La Verkin Creek Trail Kolob Canyons Road]
- Estimated Roundtrip Time: 8 hours
- Distance: 14.0 miles/22.5 kilometers
- Elevation Change: 1037 feet/316 meters
About the Kolob Arch
Far to Zion National Park’s northwest corner is Kolob Canyons. A much less frequented area of the park and a great opportunity for less traveled hiking trails. The Kolob Arch is a magnificent span of 287.4’ measuring as the second longest natural freestanding span in the US, just under three feet shorter than Landscape Arch in Devil’s Garden, Arches National Park. When Landscape Arch erodes and falls, Kolob will be the longest in the US, 5th longest in the world.
Coming in from the visitor center, pass by the Taylor Creek Trailhead and as the road doubles back after rounding a small ridgeline, look for an on-road parking area that will designate the Lee Pass Trailhead. This is where we begin the Kolob Arch Trail. The trail will be named La Verkin Creek trail as it also serves as the trail leading past the arch and into Willis Creek and Beartrap Canyon, but we’re not backpacking a multi-day hike to the Arch. If you are backpacking, the National Park has several designated camping sites between the trailhead and the arch that can make for a nice weekend of hiking and outdoor fun.
A nice southerly hike along the trail will present good views of the Kolob Finger Canyons before finally dipping about 400’ into the Timber Creek dry wash area. Most of this trail is downhill and the difficulty of the trail comes from the endurance factor, as well as the trek back out. This is a round trip and downhill in means uphill out. Be wary of that when you begin or you may find all your energy spent when you need it the most.
Three miles in you’ll be passing Timber Top Mountain and Shuntavi Butte on your left as the trail turns east. This is where we pick up alongside La Verkin Creek and get a little water break and rest time. The next two miles is fairly level but is often soft sand making the push forward more difficult than it appears. Up ahead you’ll see Burnt Mountain on your right and Gregory Butte on your left. Pulling up even with these two landmarks we’ll turn left onto the final 1/2 mile leading directly to the Arch.
The trail turns rugged once again with a few imposing boulders and plenty of loose rock scrambles. After the beachlike walk along the creek you may be aching to get back to trail hiking like this once again. The Kolob Canyon Arch Viewpoint is the end of the trail. You have a great observation point of the arch itself and once you break and begin your return trip, you can refresh in the creek as you trek back to the Lee Pass trailhead, just keep that uphill climb in mind.
There is a gentle downhill loss of 1000’ in elevation and for the most part you will hardly notice it. However, climbing out, you’ll feel every single step. Pace yourself and be ready to push on when you come back out of Timber Creek, that final 400’ can take you by surprise if you aren’t ready for it.