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Taylor Creek South Fork Trail- Forgotten Hike in Zion National Park

Updated: May 8, 2020

Zion National Park is full of secret trails, but Taylor Creek South Fork has to be one of my favorites {i mean, they're all my favorite, let's be real}. Located in the Kolob Canyons portion of Zion, this trail could once be found in the park map, but not anymore. This makes it a long forgotten about, secret trail that only those in the know know about, ya know? Boasting soaring red rock walls and constant views, this hike also has established climbing routes that all you rock climbers will be absolutely foaming at the mouth to climb up.

Location: Kolob Canyons, in New Harmony, Utah. This hike is located midway up East Kolob Canyon rd

Duration: Just over 2 miles, about 2.2 total. Don't let the short distance fool you though, you'll need a good 2 hours or more to take it all in

Difficulty: This is considered a moderately easy trail, but there is some up and down hill those with physical limitations might find to be a little strenuous

Cost: Requires a parks pass. Week passes are available at the visitor center, $35 for a private vehicle, or $20 for a single person. For more information visit the website for Zion National Park

When to Visit: Spring, summer, and fall will be your best times, but if there hasn't been much snow, winter would be a fine time as well

Good to Know: A parking lot is located across the street from the trail head, restrooms are available. No water, pack it in. No camping, no fires, no dogs, boo! {i carry winky in her backpack, so far the rangers have been okay with it. always ask} Group size is limited to 12

How Do You Get There?

Valid question, this is a secret trail after all. Traveling on I-15 you will take exit 40 and head east on East Kolob Canyon rd. It is literally right there, very hard to miss, super obvious where you will need to go. I dare say this is the most accessible from a major highway park in the country. I'm talking cruising down the road at 80 miles per hour to being in a national park in about 30 seconds. Really though.

There will be a barricade blocking you from continuing up the road and forcing you to pull into the visitor center parking lot to check in. If the barricade isn't out, then feel free to proceed. It has been my experience that no one is working when the barricade is open, or it's a free park day. Kolob Canyons doesn't have a shuttle system like the main part of the park, you can drive your car through.

From that first parking lot in front of the visitor center, you will continue on East Kolob Canyon rd. for roughly 2 and a half miles. You will first pass the parking lot for the Taylor Creek trail, it'll be on your left. Don't get confused, that's a different, much longer, hike. Resist the urge to stop here and keep going. You want the next parking lot, this one will be on your right hand side. It will be the second parking lot you come to after leaving the visitors center. I don't think this lot has a name, but here's the view you are looking for:

The trail head is just across the street from the parking lot, walk east to the very end of the lot and continue past it for maybe...30 yards? I'm a terrible judge of distance, thank heavens for gadgets that figure it out for me. Cross the street, I trust you are capable of doing this without getting hit by a car. You'll see two large boulders right by a shoulder pull off, these are your only trail head markers. Between them you will see a well worn path. Congratulations! You have found the trail. Let the good times roll!

For You Rock Climbers

I'm not much of a rock climber {sad, i know. i'm working on it}, so forgive me if I use the wrong jargon. From what I have researched, there are five climbs at the very end of the trail. You'll know when you found them because you'll look at the wall and have an immediate urge to climb, even I feel that way when I see them. They're just so inviting. You know what? I'm not even going to try and pretend I know what I'm talking about, I'll let someone else do it. Check out this page, they seem to know what they are talking about, and they have some sweet pictures.

Final Thoughts

This is a pretty straight forward out and back hike, and the pictures say more than I ever could; though they don't hold a candle to the real deal. The views are top notch the whole way. The trail is well worn and easy to follow. If you are ever unsure of were it is, just keep walking, you'll pick it up again. You're in a narrow canyon, you'd have to try extremely hard to get lost; don't take that as a challenge.

The trail gets hard to follow once you are deep into the canyon, right after you pass the rock climbing wall. Not long after you pass this wall it will narrow to a point where you just can't continue on. At the very end you can do some scrambling to climb up on a ledge, but there is no going past this point.

Every time I do this hike I am absolutely blown away by its beauty. You just have to see it in person, the colors are unreal. Fun fact, the pictures in this post are a mixture of visits from last year and this past weekend, and are actually on the same day, April 7th. Crazy, huh? That was not planned. Even crazier is how different the experience was. Last year we had a bad winter, hardly any snow. We were able to hike back as far as you can go into the canyon. This winter we had a ton of snow, and there is still a lot of it up there. We couldn't continue on to the very end because of it, and the canyon walls were lined with water streaming down from snow melt at the top. It was super cool to see and experience, 10 out of 10 would recommend going right now.

Kolob Canyons was recently closed nearly a year for repairs, so the trail has more over growth than normal, but I am sure that will change as it warms up and people get out there. Just be prepared for scratchy branches tearing up your legs. After you finish hiking the South Fork I highly recommend checking out the Timber Creek Overlook Trail. This is a short, half a mile, easy trail that will give you an absolutely spectacular view of the whole park. I couldn't find a good blog detailing this hike, I may just have to write one myself {wink, wink}. In the meantime, check out Zion's website for more details on hikes in Kolob!

{as always: practice LEAVE NO TRACE. stay hydrated. tell someone where you are going. wear appropriate clothing. be mindful of the weather. be nice to fellow hikers. have fun, make good choices, & hike smart}

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