Top of Echo Canyon to Cabin Spring
(11.0 miles, +3,000/-2,500 feet).
I love all the scenery in Zion Canyon, and I love the fact that it is accessible to all different kinds of people. But when I’m in a frame of mind to go into the backcountry, it can be shockingly repulsive to deal with all these people. Today was a good lesson for me in how to prepare myself for hikes that go in and out of more touristy areas.
The best part of today was the hike down to Zion Canyon. It was cool, and we saw hardly anyone for the first couple of hours as we descended 2,000 feet to the valley floor.
Echo Canyon deepens and narrows, and the trail frequently follows natural sandstone ledges and switchbacks.
Near the bottom, we took a fun detour into the narrow and deep Hidden Canyon, where we found a low lying natural arch.
Once we got to the valley floor, Art gave us a safety lesson.
After a few failed attempts to walk near the Virgin River, we walked the valley road to Zion Lodge, where we grabbed an early lunch. The park was already crowded, and soon we were eager to make our way back to the backcountry. If I ever do this hike again, I will skip the lodge and make my way to the West Rim Trail as quickly as possible.
From the Lodge, we crossed over the river and waded through the crowds to get to the climb up to Angels Landing, which unfortunately is also the start of the West Rim Trail. The trail up is paved(!?!) nearly the whole way, and for me at least it was a miserable and hot couple of hours.
It was so hot, and Angels Landing was so crowded, that we decided to give this famous monument a miss. I think a pre-dawn day hike is probably the best way to do it, so I’ll be back.
The West Rim trail continued climbing up and up to nearly 6,000 feet, and the crowds thinned out considerably.
It then descended to 5,500 feet before climbing again up to 6,710 feet at Cabin Spring. We shared the spring with a deer, who was not concerned in the least with our presence.
Nearby, we found the backcountry campsite we had reserved with our permit (West Rim #1). It was set quite dramatically above Zion Canyon with incredible views. I was really happy to get back to some solitude!