Hiking Zion From the Top Down

Hiking Beautiful Zion National Park Trails

Located on the east rim of Zion National Park, Zion Ponderosa commands awe-inspiring views and amazing hiking opportunities. This is where Zion touches the sky — and there’s no better place to for accessing or hiking Zion National Park from the top down.

Zion National Park

A hiker rests on the rim to take photographs at Observation Point.

Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort offers unmatched proximity and direct access to some of Zion’s most spectacular trails. Our daily shuttle provides service to Zion National Park trails including Observation Point, Cable Mountain, Orderville Canyon, Echo Canyon and East Entrance Trail. We can also deliver you to and from Zion National Park to hike Angels Landing or The Narrows. Angels Landing is a strenuous trail that’s roughly a five-hour trip. The Narrows is the one of the most popular slot canyon hikes, but a little lesser-known one is the Zion Narrows top down hike. It can be done as a day or overnight hike, but you’ll need to get a Wilderness Permit to hike this route.

Begin the hike to Observation Point across the plateau from Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. Your reward at the end of the 7-mile hike is a spectacular panoramic view 2,000 feet above the Virgin River Gorge, and Zion National Park’s Temple of Sinawava and Angels Landing. Observation Point is considered by many — including Backpacker magazine — to be the best view in Zion National Park. The actual trail begins along the East Mesa Trail, and the return trip follows the switchbacks of Echo Canyon to Weeping Rock in Zion National Park. Hikers can arrange pickup with the Zion Ponderosa hiking shuttle prior to heading out.

Observation Point Hiking Trail

Walking the forest trail to Observation Point from Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

The hike to Cable Mountain from Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort leads through the Ponderosa pine forest to the intersection with the East Rim Trail. Rather than descend into Echo Canyon, the Cable Mountain Trail ends at sheer cliffs overlooking the canyon. The 7.5-mile hike leads to the remains of the Cable Works pioneer logging operation once used to transport timber more than 2,200 feet down to Zion National Park’s canyon floor. The view spans the White Cliffs, the West Rim of Zion National Park, the Great White Throne, Angels Landing and Observation Point. The hike starts and ends at the same point.   

Orderville Canyon is a challenging 13-mile hike that descends into slot canyons, part of the Zion Narrows riverbed, and meets up with part of the Zion Narrows top down hike. The trail is lined with 1,000-foot sheer cliffs, and a 15-foot drop off as you enter Zion National Park’s boundaries. This challenging hike requires down-climbing experience, ropes, and a backcountry permit, which can be obtained at the Zion National Park Visitor Center.

If you’re looking for a less challenging trail when hiking Zion National Park, choose the East Entrance and Echo Canyon Trails. The East Entrance Trail is a 3-mile hike accessed through Jolley Gulch on Zion Ponderosa property. Trail highlights include views of Checkerboard Mesa and white sandstone canyon overlooks. At five miles, the Echo Canyon hike is a bit longer and is famous for its switchbacks, which descend 2,100 feet over the course of the hike. Impressive views of Angels Landing are a scenic highlight of the Echo Canyon hike, which ends at Weeping Rock in Zion National Park.

Zion Ponderosa’s hiking shuttle departs the ranch resort at 8:00 a.m. and drops hikers off at their trailhead of choice. Pickup is at the Visitor Center for hikes that end inside Zion National Park’s boundaries. Please note that shuttle drop off and pick up services must be scheduled in advance. Activity vouchers can be used to pay for hiking shuttles.

Comments 2

  1. I would be highly interested in paying for this service. Our plan would be begin the at the Stave Trailhead, hike to Observation Point, hike down to the Canyon Floor, and then explore more hikes in canyon floor for the day. Would we be be able to be picked up and brought back to Zion Ponderosa Ranch? If so, would you mind providing the cost for two people and any other logistics we may need to know? Thank you. Your property and services are amazing!

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