Hidden Canyon

Round Trip Distance: 3.8 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation: 4073 - 5179 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 2 hrs.
Trailhead: Weeping Rock
Fee: $30/vehicle
Attractions: Scenic canyons, free standing arch

The Hidden Canyon trail is located in Zion National Park. The steep trail climbs up to a narrow canyon on the east side of The Great White Throne. The mouth of the canyon is reached after about 1.2 miles but hikers can continue up the narrow canyon for another 0.7 miles where they will find a small free standing arch. Sections of the trail wrap around steep cliff faces where people that are fearful of heights might not be able to go. Heavy chains are anchored into the wall of the cliff to hang onto providing a level of comfort and safety for those that proceed. The trail should be avoided when ice is present and extra care taken whenever it is wet.

Take the free shuttle to the Weeping Rock bus stop and proceed as though you were hiking the Weeping Rock trail. After crossing a small bridge near the parking area the trail splits with Weeping Rock taking the left fork and the Hidden Canyon, Observation Point and East Rim trails taking the right.

The first part of the trail has a rough cement type surface. The trail climbs steeply up a series of well constructed switchbacks. The mostly smooth hard packed trail makes the hiking much easier than it would otherwise be if it were of a more primitive nature. Angels Landing can be seen across the valley as you ascend.

It doesn't take long before the views looking back at the valley floor begin becoming more and more dramatic.

At the top of the switchbacks the trail to Hidden Canyon breaks off on the right.

From the last fork the Hidden Canyon trail continues, quickly gaining elevation, up another series of tight switchbacks.

For the rest of the way to the mouth of the canyon the trail is a mix of narrow sections along the steep cliffs and easier, less exposed, areas of hiking.

The trail quickly becomes more exhilarating as it turns into a narrow shelf carved into the side of the mountain. Sections like that in the picture above are wide enough that nothing is really needed to hang onto.

Other areas have a heavy, well anchored, chain for a hand rail.

At the mouth of the canyon you have the option of turning around or continuing on ahead to the arch or until you can't go any further.

The trail is much more primitive progressing into the canyon. There are a few places where you will need to use your hands and do a little scrambling to continue. The sugar sand gets on the rocks and makes them very slippery. Other than that it is a pretty easy hike to the arch.

Stories be told that the arch is small enough that some people hike right by it the first time without seeing it. The arch is over ten feet tall so maybe it is just as much that it blends in so well with the side of the canyon that people might miss it. The canyon walls are so high that the sun is blocked out for most of the day. Hikers can continue past the arch for a short distance or turn around here and head back.

This is just to show you that some people do bring their small children. The guy in the red shirt is doing some serious trail running. Brings back many fond memories of being young and studly.

The Hidden Canyon trail sees far less traffic than most of the other trails in Zion National Park. The fear of heights issue might have more to do with it than the strenuous level of hiking required. Those hikers with only a mild fear of heights are probably going to do just fine. The park brochure gives an elevation gain of 850 for this trail while our GPS readings indicated just over 1100 feet. That said, high canyon walls can really throw a GPS off because it can only read a small number of satellites. The Hidden Canyon trail offers a real feeling of adventure. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.