Kolob Canyons region of Zion National Park
Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
192Trip End Oct 14, 2011
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Where I stayed
I went to the Kolob Canyons region of Zion National Park today. This part of the park is at the edge of the Upper Kolob Plateau where five slot canyons extend back into the edge of the plateau like fingers.
My first stop was the Visitor Center. I checked the weather forecast and found out there was a high chance of thunderstorms today and tomorrow. I had planned on hiking to the Kolob Arch but it's a 7.5 miles each way and I wouldn't want to get caught in a thunderstorm that far out.
I drove the 5-mile scenic road, which ends at Kolob Canyon Overlook. The morning up to this point had been overcast with a little drizzle at times but while I was at the overlook the weather suddenly got much sunnier and the odds of thunderstorms more appeared more remote. After taking some pictures from the overlook of the ends of the five finger canyons I decided I'd take the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek trail to Double Arch Alcove. It's 5.4 miles round-trip so I couldn't get caught too far out if the weather suddenly changed again.
I was told by a ranger that there is only 400 feet of elevation change on the trail. While that may be the difference in altitude between the start and end of the trail there's certainly a lot more elevation change than that. There's a lot of up and down including over 50 times where the trail goes down to and crosses the creek and then goes back up on the other bank. Had I known what to expect I would have brought my hiking poles.
As you would expect from the name, there are two alcoves in the canyon walls at Double Arch Alcove but what you probably wouldn't expect is that they are arranged with one above the other in the canyon wall. There are colorful streaks running down the canyon walls from the hanging gardens in the upper alcove. They're quite attractive but a challenge to photograph. It's tough to find a spot where you have a clear view of both alcoves.
While I was walking back to the trailhead the sun disappeared behind clouds low in the west but I didn't seen any rain or lightning. After getting back to the car I drove back to my hotel for the night.