The hike starts out pleasantly from the parking lot into meadow scenery and then through forest. Your first 'oh wow' moment comes 3 miles in, when you are surprised by the sight of monoliths to the West. After 4 miles of level ground you descend from the forest into a meadow surrounded by grassy hills and fallen trees. The trail is overgrown by healthy plant life; watch for deer. Here is where the campsites starts. At around 5 miles you start your first ascent for the day which leads you into the forest. Keep going, your second ‘oh wow’ moment is literally around the corner.
As the trail opens up you can see for miles in every direction. Try not to trip as you gaze down upon mesas, monoliths, and canyons. You’ll ascend as you reach the 6.5 mile point and the rest of the campsites as well as the Telephone Canyon trail junction. At the time of writing, the Telephone Canyon section of this trail was closed. For the next couple of miles you stay up on Horse Pasture Plateau’s uplands with nothing in the way of the unrivaled view. Multi-colored wildflowers abound. At 9 miles you come to the east side of the Plateau and a descent.
The scenery is replaced by switchbacks that bring you to an exposed and exciting traverse down sandstone walls and into the bottom of Mt. Majestic where you’re surrounded by the scenery you were just looking down upon. For the next few miles you’re hiking down a sandy trail to a small bridge which brings you to a cement trail with no shade and a seemingly endless ascent. This is where you’ll find it’s crucial to have brought enough water. Follow the trail signs that guide you across the bedrock. At 12 miles, Angels Landing is within your sight just below you. West Rim Trail intersects with the Angel’s Landing Trail and down to the famous and shadeless Walter's Wiggles 21 switchbacks.
You’ll head into Refrigerator Canyon for a much needed break from the sun and come out the other side for the final steep and long descent to the Canyon Floor. Views across Zion Canyon and down the Virgin River are gorgeous. At the end of the trail is a junction with Emerald Pools Trail – just beyond lies the bridge you will cross to get across the Virgin River and across the road to the Grotto trailhead and to the free shuttle bus stop for a welcome sit down.
PRO Trip Info
Zion National Park
GEAR UP In the rivers and canyons, you'll want sticky-soled shoes, preferably mid-height or taller, and a walking stick or trekking poles for stability and pool probing. For hikes up the canyon, sturdy hiking shoes are recommended. Quick-dry shorts work work well for most seasons. Bring an extra dry shirt, an extra synthetic sweater, and a rain shell, even in the hottest weather. Shade, wet clothing, and canyon winds can be surprisingly cold. Thunderstorms can make the canyon frigid. You can rent specialty items in Springdale at the Zion Adventure Company, 36 Lion Boulevard Springdale, UT 84767; 435-772-1001, zionadventures.com
WHERE TO STAY
Located on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Open year-round. Motel rooms, cabins, and suites available. Also has a gift shop and post office. Reservations recommended: 888-297-2757; zionlodge.com
South Campground: First-come, first-served. Call 435-772-3256 for more information.
Watchman Campground: Reservations can be made six months prior to arrival date online at recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.
WHERE TO EAT
Red Rock Grill Dining Room at Zion Lodge
Open year round. Dinner reservations advised spring through fall: 435-772-3213.
Castle Dome Cafe at Zion Lodge
445 Zion Park Boulevard
Springdale, UT 84737
Honey's Fuel Center
344 South 350 East
Kanab, UT 84741-3739
1180 W State St
Hurricane, UT 84737
15 East State Street
Orderville, UT 84758
Trailhead: From Springdale head SW on UT-9/Zion Park Blvd 13 miles. Turn rt on Kolob Rd & follow for 8 miles. Head rt to stay on Kolob Rd. After 2 miles head rt to stay on Kolob Rd to Lava Point Campground turnoff on rt. Follow dirt road to West Rim Trailhead or park @ Campground & walk 1.5mi SE to trailhead.