Lee Pass to Hop Valley Trail, Zion National Park

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  • Excerpted from a crusty journal: “Hiking this trail in mid-July with a few friends, I never thought my eyes could know such wonder, marvel, and delirium. After seven hours, 14 miles, sandals with a broken strap, and not enough water, I could not wait for the sun to go down. On the brink of heat exhaustion, we arrived at the Hop Valley overlook and the day’s drudgery faded quickly as my eyes brightened at the oasis below. Smooth white sand nested at the base of 200-year-old Ponderosa pine trees, and faint traces of water pierced the terrain in the grassy distance. Unbelievable, absorbing, and mystical. Worth every step.”
  • Trailhead: As a one-way journey (recommended), this hike requires a shuttle. For those with two vehicles who want to self-shuttle, use either trailhead.

    Lee Pass Trailhead: From Springdale, drive west on SR 9 until you reach the town of LaVerkin. At the Chevron/Farmer’s Market intersection, turn right. Drive through Toquerville, to Interstate 15. Drive north on I-15 for13 miles to exit 40, the entrance to the Kolob Canyons, ZNP. Follow Kolob Canyons Road to the marked trailhead.

    Hop Valley Trailhead: From Springdale, drive west on SR 9 through Rockville and into Virgin(15 minutes). Just after the Zion River Resort, turn right on the Kolob Terrace road. Drive approx. 12 miles (19.9 km) north to the trailhead,on the left-hand side of the road, just past the Park Boundary. Park in the smallposted lot.

    Mileage: 13.3 miles (21.4 km), one-way

    Elevation Gain: 300 feet (91 meters), net gain

    Approximate Hike Time: 8 to 10 hours, one-way

    Difficulty: Moderate, with some long, sandy slogs

    Crowds: Creekside, expect a few dozen of backpackers and day-hikers. Hop Valley is usually quieter, but sometimes hosts parties of pack animals.

  • Best Times of Day: This hike takes an entire day, or, preferably, two days. In the summer, a tenured desert hiker might leave the trailhead at 5 p.m., make a light camp halfway, and depart again early in morning to finish the trip.

    Best Times of Year:
    Autumn and late spring are best for this sun-exposed trail. Winter hiking can be great on this trail when unimpeded by ice and snow; check conditions before you go.
  • The sand oasis among 100-foot Ponderosa pines
    Take a dip in the cold, clear waters of La Verkin Creek - look for the best swimming holes!
    A short side-trip to Kolob Arch, one of the world's longest arches
  • Water Sources: Timber and La Verkin Creeks flow year-round. Once the trail forks away from Timber Creek, however, you must carry all the water you'll need for the remainder of your journey. For your safety, purify all water before drinking.

    Camping: Camping along this trail is restricted to 16 designated sites along Timber and La Verkin Creeks. When you obtain your backpacking permit,
    you choose your temporary home from the list of available sites. Over-night backcountry permits are available at both the Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyon Visitor’s Centers.

    Footwear: Carefully consider your footwear choice on this hike. Miles of hiking in sand can drive a sandaled hiker mad! Low gaiters help keep the sand out of your boots!