An under-the-radar five minute walk, two hour exploration easy enough for kids in Zion National Park.
The last post (The Subway in Zion) was a pretty difficult Zion slot canyon (but oh so worth it to plan and work for it). In this post I’ll describe an easy kid canyon, and it is right under everyone’s nose!!!
Like literally under tourists’ noses below highway 9 just above the upper tunnel entrance. The parking for the Zion Canyon Overlook trail (at the upper entrance to the tunnel) gets backed up a few hundred yards up the road so parking can be a bit of a zoo. In doing research for my book, “Fifty Classic Adventures: Epic Experiences for your Family Bucket List” we arrived here and saw all the cars and thought, “Well heck, this isn’t under-the-radar at all, there must be about 50 people in the canyon.” We parked there (above the upper entrance to the tunnel) and walked a short ways to the “trail” which is really a bunch of braided trails that head down off the shoulder of the road into the wash.
If someone sees you heading down, act like you have to go to the bathroom really badly. We don’t want everyone to know where it is!
I was pretty bummed because from my research it seemed like it may be good for the book. Then when we got into the canyon – we were the only ones there. Later a few others showed up but still a very nice experience. So this adventure indeed was selected for the book as an easy adventure.
It is a little confusing trying to find the start since there are usually cars parked everywhere. I think the best way is to find where Pine Creek flows under the road, a few hundred yards up from the top end of the tunnel, and park near here on the side of the road. For example Pine Creek is marked on Google maps. Walk to where Pine Creek goes under the road and hike down the North side of the road to the creek bed, then walk through the tunnel to the South side of the road (note you can just walk down from the road on the south side but it is steep and loose). After you exit the tunnel Pine Creek heads to the right and Clear Creek (aka The Hobbit Hole) heads left. Go left and in a very short while you’ll be there.
Afterwards consider hiking the Canyon Overlook, because, well, you are already parked there. It’s a pretty fun, though crowded trail.