Observation Point might be the toughest yet most rewarding hike in Zion National Park. People tend to skip Observation Point due to Zion’s other popular trails such as the Narrows and Angels Landing. However, Observation Point gives you the most epic view of Zion National Park. Since Observation Point is over 700 feet higher than Angels Landing, you are actually looking down on the Angels Landing viewpoint. Your whole body will be exhausted after this hike, but the view will be totally worth it. It is a perfect trail for those who want a challenging day hike with less crowds.
Starting from Weeping Rock parking area, you will hike through East Rim Trail. You will reach the junction for Hidden Canyon Trail after 0.8 mile. Several switchbacks later, the trail enters into the dark slot canyon areas of Echo Canyon. Although the trail is rough you will encounter many amazing views while hiking. You will climb up about 3 miles, and then it will be an easy hike through a forest of pine. After about 0.5 mile hike, you will finally get to Observation Point.
It is probably the easiest to get a shuttle from the National Park Visitor Center. You will get off at Weeping Rock (the 7th Stop). The trailhead starts after a short hike from Weeping Rock parking area. The trail actually takes you along the ways to Hidden Canyon, upper Echo Canyon, East Mesa, and other destinations.
You can drive to the trailhead, but you are required to have a special permit to drive from March to November. Since private vehicles are usually prohibited around Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, it is better to take a shuttle from the National Park Visitor Center. The shuttles usually run from the visitor center every 10 minutes. For more, check out here. Just note that the shuttles do NOT run in winter. You will have to drive during December and February. Make sure you park at Weeping Rock parking area if you drive.
The trail of observation point is about 8 miles round trip and gains 2148 feet of elevation. The hike usually takes between 4 and 6 hours. I would say Observation Point is more strenuous than Angels Landing because it will be a longer hike. However, the paved trail is less intimidating compared to walking on the narrow spine of the cliff and sheer drop-offs at Angels Landing. Also, the hike of Observation Point gives you more photo opportunities compared to any other trails in Zion. You will hike through some of the most scenic parts of the park. We kept stopping to take photos of magnificent views.
Observation point stands on top of Mount Baldy, a 6507 foot peak. Once you made it to the top of the peak, you will be looking down on the Angels Landing viewpoint and the valley road far below. You will be rewarded with a spectacular view, and you feel like you are on top of the world!
I didn’t think hiking observation Point was dangerous or scary at all, especially compared to Angels Landing. There are some cliff edges to look over the views, but you will not walk through any narrow spines and sheer drop-offs. If you want to do a challenging hike but you are scared of heights, then Observation Point is a perfect trail for you!
Observation Point can be very challenging unless you frequently workout. We hiked Hidden Canyon first and then started hiking Observation Point. I have to say it was hard for me. It felt like it took forever to hike through zigzagging trail to reach the top of the mountain, but the view at the end was so worth it. If your age intimidates you to hike Observation Point, don’t! We saw a couple of people who seemed older than 60 years old on the way.
The best season to hike Observation Point is either spring or fall. Although summer is the most popular season for Zion National Park, it is not ideal to hike Observation Point during the summer. Since the temperature goes over 100ºF, you want to avoid long hikes such as Observation Point. I also don’t recommend winter since the trail can get icy, and half of the annual rainfall comes during the winter months.
Although Observation Point tends to be less crowded compared to other popular trails such as Angels Landing and the Narrows, starting early is always a good idea to avoid crowds, and you can also get shade along the switchbacks.
Have you already hiked Observation Point Trail? Or are you planning to hike Observation Point? If so, I hope you find this article helpful and enjoy hiking the most rewarding trail Zion offers!
If you are looking for more trails in Zion, check out the following article!
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