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What is the Best Kept Secret of Zion National Park?

Last Update on January 19, 2024
by Marko Milin
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Zion National Park, with its soaring cliffs and stunning canyons, is a paradise for nature lovers and adventurers alike. While it's famous for landmarks like Angel's Landing and the Narrows, what is the best-kept secret of Zion National Park that many visitors overlook?

The answer lies in the enchanting Kolob Canyons. This secluded area offers a unique experience away from the main park's hustle and bustle, providing a tranquil retreat where visitors can immerse themselves in nature.

With its stunning crimson canyons, towering cliffs, and serene trails, Kolob Canyons stands out as a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

Kolob Canyons: Zion's Hidden Treasure

Tucked away in the northwest corner of Zion National Park, Kolob Canyons is a secluded area that offers a sense of tranquility and untouched wilderness, a stark contrast to the more frequented areas of the park. This section of Zion is known for its stunning crimson canyons, towering cliffs, and quiet, meandering trails. It's a place where you can truly connect with nature, away from the crowds.

  • Kolob Canyons has fewer visitors, providing a more peaceful hiking experience.
  • The area is great for birdwatching, with numerous species inhabiting the canyons.
  • Sunset views in Kolob Canyons are particularly breathtaking, with the red rock glowing in the evening light.

Why Kolob Canyons Stands Out

What makes Kolob Canyons so special is its unique landscape and the variety of hikes it offers. The area is characterized by its finger canyons, which are narrow canyons branching off from the main canyon, creating a spectacular backdrop for hiking and photography.

The most famous hike in Kolob Canyons is the Taylor Creek Trail, a moderate 5-mile round trip that takes you through a beautiful forested area, two historic homesteads, and ends at the Double Arch Alcove.

Another popular trail is the Kolob Arch Trail, leading to one of the world's largest freestanding arches. This hike is more challenging but rewards you with breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment.

  • Taylor Creek Trail is ideal for families and offers plenty of shade.
  • Kolob Arch Trail provides opportunities to spot wildlife, including deer and wild turkeys.
  • The solitude of these trails allows for a more immersive nature experience.

Best Time to Visit Kolob Canyons

The best time to visit Kolob Canyons is during the spring and fall when the temperatures are mild, and the foliage adds an extra layer of beauty to the landscape. Summer can be quite hot, and winter may bring snow, making some trails inaccessible.

  • Springtime brings blooming wildflowers, adding vibrant colors to the landscape.
  • Fall offers cooler temperatures and stunning autumn foliage.
  • Check trail conditions during winter, as snow and ice can make hiking difficult.

Exploring Zion National Park on a National Park Tour from Las Vegas

For those looking to explore Zion National Park along with other iconic destinations in the region, a National park tour from Las Vegas is an excellent option. These tours provide a convenient and comprehensive way to experience the park's diverse beauty, including the chance to see hidden gems like Kolob Canyons.

  • Tours often include guided hikes, ensuring you don't miss any key sights.
  • Transportation is provided, making it easy to travel from Las Vegas.
  • Expert guides offer insights into the park’s history and geology.

Photography in Kolob Canyons

Kolob Canyons is a dream for photographers. The play of light on the red rock cliffs, especially during sunrise and sunset, creates a magical atmosphere.

The lush greenery along the creek trails offers a beautiful contrast to the red rocks. Remember to bring your camera and capture the serene beauty of this less-traveled part of Zion. The varying elevations and unique geological formations provide endless opportunities for creative compositions.

Additionally, the area’s solitude ensures you can take your time setting up shots without the usual distractions. Wildlife, such as deer and various bird species, often make an appearance, adding dynamic elements to your photos. Don’t miss the chance to photograph the star-filled night sky, as Kolob Canyons is also an excellent spot for astrophotography due to its low light pollution.

Other spots at Zion

While Kolob Canyons offers tranquility and scenic hikes, other parts of Zion National Park provide opportunities for water activities. Swimming in water at Zion, particularly in the Virgin River, is a refreshing way to cool off during your adventures. The river's clear, cool water provides a perfect respite from the desert heat.

  • The Narrows offers a unique experience of hiking in the river itself.
  • Check the water flow and weather conditions before swimming to ensure safety.
  • Riverside Walk is a family-friendly hike that ends at a shallow swimming spot.

Tips for Visiting Kolob Canyons

Start Early: To make the most of your visit, start early in the day to avoid any potential crowds and to enjoy the best light for photography.

Pack Essentials: Bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. The dry climate can be deceiving, and staying hydrated is crucial.

Leave No Trace: As always, practice the principles of Leave No Trace to preserve the beauty of the park for future visitors.


Kolob Canyons is truly Zion National Park's best-kept secret, offering a peaceful and stunningly beautiful escape from the more popular areas of the park. Whether you're a hiker, a nature lover, or a photography enthusiast, this hidden gem is sure to leave a lasting impression.

And if you're looking to explore more of the American Southwest's wonders, consider a 3 day Grand Canyon tour from Las Vegas, which includes Zion National Park as one of its many highlights.


Marko Milin

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