Zion National Park is one of the most popular parks in the NPS. Holiday weekends like Labor Day, Memorial Day and Fourth of July tend to draw hikers from across the globe. To skip the crowds, weâ€™re sharing tips for two great Zion National Park hikes that can be accessed directly from Zion Ponderosa.
Elevation: 6,521 feet
This 7-mile round-trip hike leads to panoramic views of Zion National Park, which Backpacker magazine has called â€śthe best birds-eye views in the park.â€ť (Weâ€™d say they know a thing or two about best views when it comes to epic hikes!)
Hikers typically start this trail from Zion Canyon, and scale the sandstone walls for a strenuous 8-mile out-and-back hike that climbs 2,148-feet. To skip the steep incline (and the Zion holiday weekend crowds) the trail across Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort leads to the same overlook nearly 2,200 feet above Zion Canyon floor.
How to Hike to Observation Point Across Zion Ponderosa
The park boundary trailhead can be accessed on Zion Ponderosa property. Itâ€™s just over three miles across the rolling, forested plateau to the overlook. This beautiful trail has sights along the way including views into a side canyon about two miles into the hike. Â
The final half-mile of the trail descends south to the canyon rim and then bends west before turning south again toward Observation Point. As you exit the ponderosa and scrub oak forest, hikers are rewarded with sweeping views of the Virgin River, Temple of Sinawava, Angels Landing, Great White Throne, and Cable Mountain. The vista extends beyond the park boundaries in the distance.
Hikers can arrange pickup with the Zion Ponderosa hiking shuttle prior to heading out. Early morning is a good time to start on this hike to enjoy the soft light on the formations. The best part? Youâ€™ll find small groups and a quieter experience unlike any youâ€™ll get in the park over a holiday weekend.
Cable Mountain â€“ Zionâ€™s Historic Hike
Elevation: 6,798 feet
The hike to Cable Mountain across Zion Ponderosa is one of Zionâ€™s best-kept secrets. Cable Mountain is named for the historic Cable Mountain Draw Works logging structure that still stands at the peak of the trail. The logging operation was used to transport timber more than 2,200 feet down to Zion National Parkâ€™s canyon floor over 100 years ago.
Cable Mountain is a popular destination hike with Zion Ponderosa guests year-round, and by cross country skiers in winter. The Zion Ponderosa route cuts the hike in half, to less than eight miles round trip, and also eliminates thousands of feet in elevation gain. The trail leads through the Ponderosa pine forest to the East Rim Trail. At the end, 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.Â
Alternate routes to Cable Mountain are much more strenuous and typically only attempted by experienced hikers. From Weeping Rock trailhead (currently closed due to rock fall), the hike is 15 miles round trip with 2,400 feet of elevation gain. There is also a less scenic option, an 18-mile round trip hike from the East Rim Trailhead with 1,000 feet of elevation gain.
Zion Ponderosa Hiking Shuttle
Zion Ponderosaâ€™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 Parkâ€™s boundaries. Please note that shuttle drop off and pick up services must be scheduled in advance. Guided hikes can help visitors get the most out of their Zion hikes.
We love Zion National Park, and we want you to love it, too. In fact, Zion Ponderosaâ€™s philosophy is built around inspiring the love of Zion in every guest. Let us know how you enjoyed these Zion hikes from the top. For more Zion hikes from the top down, click here. Â