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Zion’s Best: Hidden Canyon

Hiding in plain sight of the main canyon in Zion National Park is an amazing hike: Hidden Canyon.

Hidden Canyon has a lot to offer, but you won’t find it on most lists of hikes to do in Zion simply because people are too busy with Angel’s Landing and the Narrows. Hidden Canyon makes my list of Zion’s best because it has so much to offer in a relatively short distance. The downside to being able to offer so much is that you have to work hard for it. This particular trail is only two miles round trip. But in the single mile up to the destination, you are granted some beautiful things.

Towering Views

As you wind up the last few stone block switchbacks and begin to wrap around a few ridges, you are welcomed with sweeping views of the main canyon. I made my trip in the evening for the soft golden light that it would afford. It made the views that much better.

Exposed Cliffs with Chain Supports

Ironically, this factor will be an element of love or hate depending on what kind of person you are. It can be intimidating for the more faint of heart that don’t appreciate great heights. To be honest, though, I am a little squeamish with heights and I never felt unsafe on the trail, but there is a reason why a chain has been bolted along this section of the trail. Take this element how you will, but I found it thrilling.

Potholes and Stone-Carved Steps

There may be some debate about how much humans should change nature to accommodate us enjoying it, especially in National Parks. I love natural wonders and, for the most part, want them to be left untouched. However, there are times when we need to adjust the environment to make them accessible. These stone steps took a practical approach and worked really well for me. I found their presence to be interesting and fun instead of detracting from the atmosphere. The potholes that flanked these stone steps were excellent opportunities to capture some reflecting beauty on this mountainside.

Tight Slot Canyon Walls

Anytime I can be in a narrow slot canyon is a good time. They just make you feel so small and sometimes that’s just what people need to feel—keeps us grounded. It’s an incredible feeling to have 1,000 foot stone walls on both sides of you.

The Destination: A Sandstone Arch

Finally, we get to the stone arch naturally forming in the middle of a slot canyon. It’s like a bonus you didn’t need but are sure happy to have at the end of your journey. It may not be the most impressive arch in Utah, but it is one of only a few arches you can find in this park.

No matter how you choose to spend your time in Zion, chances are you’ll find something wonderful and memorable. That’s part of why it’s such a popular park. And, now you know a hike that probably isn’t on everyone else’s list—but should be.

Gray, sandstone arch in sand.

Bonus Recommendation

Hike this canyon in the afternoon for the best pictures with soft light on the canyon walls. Then when you’ve finished your hike, stop at Baby Sumo’s for dinner and enjoy some great sushi as well as an incredible view of the setting light on the canyon walls around you! The view alone will make it worth it, but the food is excellent, too.

Learn More about Hiking

Read about hiking in Greater Zion and explore trail guides in the area.