Hiking Observation Point in the Winter - Zion National Park
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
ALERT - THIS HIKE IS CURRENTLY CLOSED DUE TO A LANDSLIDE
Any time that you get the opportunity to hike Observation Point in Zion National Park, just go, but if you get the chance to hike this amazing trail with a dusting of snow covering the ground count yourself FREAKIN LUCKY!!! Just ask MacsExplore, the amazing adventure family that I adventured with! At 8 miles round trip with 2,100 ft elevation gain this trail isn't for the faint of heart but with stunning beauty around every corner, slot canyons, and epic views this hike is one that should be at the top of your Zion bucket list, with or without the snow.
8 miles round trip
The path is well marked and paved much of the way. The difficulty of this trail lies in the elevation gain. At 2,100 elevation gain, you need to be in good shape or plan to go very slow. If you have knee problems the hike down will be a challenge. See below for recommended gear and tips for hiking with kids.
The start of this hike is at the Weeping Rock shuttle stop in the Zion Canyon. In the winter between the end of November and March, you can drive into the canyon and park at the parking lot. All other times of the year you will take a 30-minute shuttle ride from the visitor center. In the winter go early because parking is limited in the canyon and the lot fills up quick. We found a spot just fine at 9:30 am on a Tuesday in early December but if you go during Christmas break or on a weekend you should try to get there around 7-8ish to make sure you find parking.
You will be climbing right from the getgo. The trail is paved and the views are seriously good motivation. My favorite part of the trail is when you get to a canyon and the towering red walls close in. Take some time to explore the slot canyon and play on the ice (if you get that lucky!). Once you get to the dirt and the trail is no longer paved you will know that you are getting close to the overlook......keep going. Scroll down for gear recommendations, tips & additional info.
Zion takes their slippery trails pretty seriously!
My companions for the day!
My favorite section of the trail
Made it to the top!!!
GOOD TO KNOW
There are bathrooms at the trailhead.....make sure to go because 8 miles is a long time to hold it!
Do not go to Zion in the winter without some good SNOW TRAX. Believe me, I have made that mistake. They are inexpensive and invaluable at navigating slippery and icy trails
Warm hiking boots, gloves, beanie, down jacket, and warm pants. Click below for some of my tried and true faves.
TIPS AND ADDITIONAL INFO
In the winter go early in the morning to make sure you get a good parking spot
If you are planning to hike Observation Point with kids make sure to take plenty of time to stop and play, observe, and explore along the trail. This makes the uphill seems so much less daunting......also bring plenty of snacks and water. Like more than you ever think you could need!
If you want to skip the uphill and still get the views of Observation Point then you can hike from East Mesa Trail.
If you want to go this route you need to make sure the road to get to the East Mesa trailhead is passable. Call the Zion Ponderosa front desk and ask.
Meet the McEvoy’s, a family of 4 that craves outdoor adventures, beautiful landscapes and unique experiences. They are aspiring to teach their children that they can do hard things, love and respect the planet, and seeking ways to give back is their life’s mission. They are striving to teach their children that traveling is more than just fun adventures: it is a priceless education in learning more about the world around them, connecting with people of different cultures, and trying new things. They just booked a one way ticket to Guatemala! Follow along on there adventures in their website AdventureTogther.com and their instagram.