I’ve written about how my husband grew up in Southern Utah, thus creating this problem of finding a hike he hasn’t done in the past.
But I’ve finally done it. Rather, the ladies at Zion Ponderosa Resort have done it. When we were checking in, I asked for any insider information on hikes for the East Entrance of Zion. I really wanted to do Observation Point Hike, but between the snow, being pregnant and having two small children, I knew the 7-mile hike was out of the question.
Canyon Overlook Trail. This is the hike my husband has never done. It’s a 1 mile (round trip) hike that is doable with toddlers but does involve cliffs and lots of drop offs. I’ll admit, it was more stressful than some of our other hikes. Mainly because my toddlers move fast and while they are pretty cautious, I wasn’t about to take any chances. This hike is SUPER popular, come to find out. The parking lots are always full, so I feel fairly confident that most anyone can do this hike.
Since I’m fairly pregnant (29 weeks) I decided to take a quick potty break at the base of the hike before it began. So I sent the husband ahead with the two kids on the hike, thinking nothing of it. (Can you see their tiny outlines in the center?)
(The beginning of the hike.)
By the time I got to him, the husband’s nerves were done and he was strapping little Orion into his carrier. Apparently, the switchbacks at the beginning are steep for toddlers.
Once we got Orion strapped in, things went much smoother. The hike really is jaw dropping. We’ve done Angels Landing and I feel like it’s got equal the view and almost as much thrill, just shorter. ANNND doable with kids.
Many parts of the trail are fenced, chained or have some kind of restraint when the trail gets kind of tight. Since my kids are fearless, this didn’t even faze them. We came to the first lookout and down below you can see a whole bunch of slot canyons. Apparently, below this another hike called Pine Creek Canyon, that yes, my husband has done. He says its a repelling hike that has drops after drops of repels into the freezing water slot canyons. So while he hasn’t done Canyon Trail Overlook Hike, he’s crawled the bottom of it.
Aiko would this her "rainbow."
It's hard to tell, but to the right, it's a skinny trail that drops to rocks below.
Little Aiko kept pulling out her "treasure map" to check that we were on the right trail.
The views are crazy cool.
We’ve never actually been in Zion during the winter, let alone with it rain and fog, so it was like being in a whole different park.
Aiko wanted to have her picture taken here, so then I thought my pregnant belly needed a photo too.
Being 5,300 feet in the air makes a person stop and take a deep breath. (FYI Angel's Landing is 5,790 in elevation.)
Seriously, the view can't get any better, especially with some drizzly rain/snow and fog drifting through Zion.
We were lucky enough to have someone take a quick family photo. (Yes, those are drop offs directly behind us.) You can explore all around the peak of the hike. We didn't take that many photos in that area because both kids wanted to explore. You can actually find some repelling anchors right off the cliffs!
We stayed a wee bit too long at the peak and Aiko (4) had reached her limit.
We actually had to take turns carrying her down the trail. Even the trail fairy couldn't help us much. But we made it down quickly and safely. There was actually a guy in front of us who kept waiting for us, watching us from the corner of his eye to make sure we got down safely. I thought it was sweet, especially since he was basically crawling on his hands, feet and butt down the trail. You could tell he was just terrified of heights.
At least one of us was smiling on the way back.
My husband always needs to run his Waze App to know where he is. I thought it was pretty cool to see how wavy the road is.
This photo above is actually from the East side of the hike when you go through the longest tunnel. (Part of the winding road photo above.) You can't quite see, but basically in the lowest point of the cliffs is where the Overlook Trail Hike Peak is. That's right, you are standing right over that arch on the edge of a cliff. Super cool right?! Plus just to the right is the tunnel through the mountain. You can actually see some of the large windows in the tunnels from the peak.
I'm totally adding this hike to one of my top favorites with kids. I've been a little bummed that I haven't hike Angel's Landing in a while, mainly because I didn't want to haul two babies up the mountain. Even with help it would be super tough. So I'm glad we asked around to find out about this short, fun hike!
Thanks to Young Subaru for sponsoring our sweet ride! The kids loved driving around in the "new purple car."
Oh, don't forget to check out Orderville (my favorite rock shops in all of Utah.) It's on the east side of Zion National Park.
Then stop and get some delicious pie at Thunderbird Restaurant! (I've written about them before here.)
- Entrance fee as it's a National Park
- Bathrooms at the base of the hike.
- Fairly Easy Hike
- It's popular
- It's right before the main tunnel coming from the East Entrance of the park.
- Parking is right before the tunnel.
- There are cliff drop-offs, so watch yourselves and kids carefully.
- During the summer it's in full sun, so take plenty of water. Take water anyway.
- Toddler friendly, Aiko (4yrs) hiked 70% of it.
- Lots of steps and rocky trail.
- Trail is easily identified.
- 1.1 mile round-trip
- Perfect in the winter months too.