Zion National Park: Navajo Lake Loop

Trace lava flows through wildflower meadows on this moderate 9.3-mile loop (famous for its singletrack mountain biking) around a subalpine lake.
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Trace lava flows through wildflower meadows on this moderate 9.3-mile loop (famous for its singletrack mountain biking) around a subalpine lake.

At the footsteps of Zion National Park’s Pink Cliffs, the 9.3-mile Navajo Lake Loop circles subalpine waters, lava rocks, lush meadows, and—in warmer months—vibrant wildflowers.

Begin at the southwest shore of the lake; here, marshy grasslands contrast against Navajo’s deep blue and the surrounding pine-blanketed mountains.

Heading east along the lakeshore, the trail ambles through pink penstamon, red Indian paintbrush, blue lupine and yellow asters. A spur trail leads to a dike bisecting the lake, allowing hikers to stop for lunch in the middle of Navajo (literally) or to lop 2.25 miles off the loop.

After the quick detour, the trail traverses tawny lava rocks, toothed boulders, and patches of pure white columbine back as it circles clockwise toward the trailhead-Mapped by Heidi Sackreuter

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 14.9

Waypoints

NLL001

Location: 37.5313454, -112.8143997

Southwest shore trailhead: Start hiking north along dirt service road.

NLL002

Location: 37.5325699, -112.8131638

Go right @ Y-junction on dirt service road.

NLL003

Location: 37.5322227, -112.8125076

Go right @ Y-junction on dirt service road.

NLL004

Location: 37.5298653, -112.808876

Trailhead parking lot: Continue heading east on trail @ sign in parking lot.

NLL005

Location: 37.5283203, -112.8046875

Go right @ T-junction. Meadows of pink penstamon, red Indian paintbrush, blue lupine and yellow asters provide beautiful backdrop for landscape pictures.

NLL006

Location: 37.5265083, -112.7802429

View of Navajo Lake and Spruces Campground (across the lake) @ 1.8 miles.

NLL007

Location: 37.5252686, -112.7611618

Stay left @ Y-junction. The spur trail to the right leads to a dike across the lake (which acts as a possible shortcut back to the trailhead).

NLL008

Location: 37.5260887, -112.7501297

Go right @ Y-junction, at the beginning of lava flow. Here, the trail winds through lava rock and boulders. Bunches of white columbine grow in the volcanic soil. Underground lava tubes provide release of lake water into Kolob Valley, keeping Navajo Lake at a constant level and providing headwaters for the Virgin River in Zion National Park.

NLL009

Location: 37.5176468, -112.7500305

Here the trail intersects with the dirt entrance road to Navajo Lake. Cross the road and continue on trail directly on the other side.

NLL010

Location: 37.5177536, -112.7731628

Trail accesses Spruces Campground (restroom available). Continue heading west on the trail above the campground through pine trees.

NLL011

Location: 37.5199547, -112.8035965

Go right @ T-junction.

NLL012

Location: 37.5208655, -112.8029019

Go left @ dirt road junction (heading west). This is the service road to lake campgrounds.

NLL013

Location: 37.5313263, -112.8144302

End of loop at the trailhead.

Southwest shore of Navajo Lake

Location: 37.5312717, -112.8145266

Service road hiking

Location: 37.5283448, -112.805171

Wildflower

Location: 37.5283448, -112.8049564

More wildflowers

Location: 37.5282087, -112.8049135

Views of Navajo to the south

Location: 37.5266771, -112.7804518

Signage

Location: 37.5253498, -112.7606249

The dike

Location: 37.5252817, -112.7609253

The dike

Location: 37.5253498, -112.7609682

Hiking through lava flow

Location: 37.5257922, -112.7498531

Spruces Campground

Location: 37.5176233, -112.7719975

Car camping at the lake

Marshiness

Location: 37.5304889, -112.813797

The lakeview west to east

Location: 37.5302167, -112.8133678

Greenery in Utah? Believe it.