How to Visit Kolob Canyons

Dec 30, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

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When most people think about visiting Zion National Park, they think of driving into the Lower Canyon, and seeing some of the park’s most famous landscapes. Maybe they dream of hiking Angels Landing, or strolling along the Riverside Walk and dipping their toes in the Virgin River. 

But ask a new visitor to the park whether they plan to hike La Verkin Creek Trail or Timber Creek Overlook Trail, and they may be confused. That’s because many first-time visitors have no idea that there’s a second section of the park beyond Zion’s Lower Canyon.

Kolob Canyon is located around a 45-minute drive from the Lower Canyon, with no roads within the park connecting the two. Despite often being overlooked by visitors, this section of the park is home to some incredible landscapes, not to mention some of the best hiking in Utah. If you’re planning a visit to Watchman Villas, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about visiting Kolob Canyons.

How to Get to Kolob Canyons

If you’re planning a stay in Zion National Park hotels nearby like Watchman Villas, you’ll have a 40-minute drive to the entrance to Kolob Canyons. This makes it easy to enjoy a day trip or two during your visit, and enjoy several of the section’s incredible hiking trails, or simply enjoy a drive to take in the sights. And you’ll be just a short drive back to your vacation rental for a hot bath, a movie night, or perhaps some stargazing from your private patio.

What to See in Kolob Canyons

Kolob Canyons is smaller than Zion National Park and is home to some wide expanses of wilderness. The main road through the canyon is Kolob Canyons Road. This five-mile scenic drive takes you past some of the park’s best views, including crimson canyons and towering cliffs. It also connects visitors to the section’s hiking trails.

The Kolob Canyons section of the park is home to some of the best—and most overlooked—hiking in Utah. One popular trail is Taylor Creek Trail. This five-mile round trip trail takes hikers deep into a narrow box canyon, with views of the Double Arch Alcove.

La Verkin Creek Trail is the most challenging trail in Kolob Canyons. This 14-mile trail winds its way into primitive parts of Zion Wilderness. You’ll pass Kolob Arch, one of the world’s largest natural arches. This trail is some of the best hiking in Utah, as it offers solitude and incredible views that rival anything that you’ll find in the rest of Zion.

What to Know About Visiting Kolob Canyons

If you’re planning a day trip to Kolob Canyons from the best vacation rentals Zion has to offer, there are a few things that you should know ahead of your visit. First, winter, also known as Zion’s Secret Season, is a great time to visit the Lower Canyon. But if you’re hoping to visit Kolob Canyons, you’ll want to plan a visit in Spring, Summer, or Fall. Kolob Canyons Road is often closed in the winter months due to snow or ice. 

No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll need to pay an entrance fee to get into Kolob Canyons, or present a valid national park annual pass. But if you’ve visited Zion National Park in the past seven days, your entrance pass will also get you into Kolob Canyons.

While Kolob Canyons might not have a park lodge or many of the other facilities that you’ll find in Zion’s Lower Canyon, it does have its own visitor center. The Kolob Canyons Visitor Center offers information about the section of the park, its history, and a gift shop. You can talk to a ranger for trail recommendations or pick up a map. 

Like all Zion National Park hours, hours vary throughout the year, and the Visitor Center may close when the section of the park closes due to winter weather. Also at the visitor center is the Kolob Canyons Wilderness Desk. Here you can apply for a wilderness permit for backcountry hiking or canyoneering. Finally, the only regular restrooms in Kolon Canyons are located here, though pit toilets are available at three other spots in the section.

Enjoying Some of the Best Hiking in Utah

If you’re looking to enjoy some of the best hiking in Utah, a visit to Kolob Canyons is a must during your stay at Watchman Villas. With secluded wilderness, few crowds, and beautiful views, this section of the park is one of Zion’s best-kept secrets.

If you’re thinking of visiting Zion in 2024, now is a great time to book your stay at the best vacation rentals Zion has to offer. When you book a stay of two or more nights before February 29, you’ll enjoy a 40 percent discount on your stay. Book today to take advantage of these savings.

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