Exploring Clear Creek - Zion National Park
Clear Creek is the main dry streambed that follows Route 9 throughout the east side of Zion, and though it may not be an actual hike, it is excellent for some off the beaten path exploration and fun. Explore tunnels, family friendly slot canyons, red rock cliffs and find surprises around every corner.
Clear Creek does not have an actual starting point or end point. As you drive along Route 9 on the upper east side of Zion, you will see the dry creek bed down below. There are pull-offs all along the drive. Pick a spot to pull off and go exploring. The best spots to pull over will start about 1/4 mile east of the Canyon Overlook parking lot. Click here to see a map of Clear Creek.
Once you make your way down into the dry stream bed, this is a hike that you can make as short or as long as you would like. Always make sure to keep track of where you came down so that you will know when to head back up to your car.
The difficulty of Clear Creek depends on the spot you pick to head down to the dry-creek. If you pull over and it looks too hard and steep to get down then drive to another pull off and try again. Once you are down in the creek bed, there will be little elevation gain. You will be walking on thick sand and over rocks. You may also have to do a bit of rock scrambling to get down to the creek bed.
No matter where you park and go down, you will be hiking along a sandy, pebble-filled dry stream bed that will take you along short slot canyons and red/black cliffs. You may encounter some stagnant pools of water that have not dried up from the last rain fall that may restrict your hiking. You may also run into a few tunnels that take you under Route 9. These are always so much fun to explore with kids. Scroll down for tips and additional info.
TIPS AND ADDITIONAL INFO
Make sure to stick to well-worn trails or slickrock to avoid trampling plant life or cryptobiotic soil. Please respect any "do not hike here" signposts. Please minimize your impact on the area.
Set aside at least an hour or two to explore along this fascinating section of East Zion.
This area gets a decent amount of shade but always make sure to bring plenty of water, good hiking shoes, sunscreen, and snacks.
There are many side-shoots to explore as you hike. Take the time to check them all out so that you don't miss something good right around the corner.
If you have ever explored Clear Creek and have any tips or info we would love to hear from you in the comment section below.