Zion National Park: West Rim Trail

Start this burly, 14.5-mile one-way hike at 7,460-foot Lava Point and drop 3,150 feet to the Grotto. En route, tick off Zion’s greatest hits from the pine-studded sandstone basins of Phantom Valley to the dizzying drops on Angel’s Landing (miles six and 12). Camp at Potato Hollow and Cabin Springs.

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The hike starts out pleasantly from the parking lot into meadow scenery and then through forest. Your first ‘oh wow’ moment comes 3 miles in, when you are surprised by the sight of monoliths to the West. After 4 miles of level ground you descend from the forest into a meadow surrounded by grassy hills and fallen trees. The trail is overgrown by healthy plant life; watch for deer. Here is where the campsites starts. At around 5 miles you start your first ascent for the day which leads you into the forest. Keep going, your second ‘oh wow’ moment is literally around the corner.

As the trail opens up you can see for miles in every direction. Try not to trip as you gaze down upon mesas, monoliths, and canyons. You’ll ascend as you reach the 6.5 mile point and the rest of the campsites as well as the Telephone Canyon trail junction. At the time of writing, the Telephone Canyon section of this trail was closed. For the next couple of miles you stay up on Horse Pasture Plateau’s uplands with nothing in the way of the unrivaled view. Multi-colored wildflowers abound. At 9 miles you come to the east side of the Plateau and a descent.

The scenery is replaced by switchbacks that bring you to an exposed and exciting traverse down sandstone walls and into the bottom of Mt. Majestic where you’re surrounded by the scenery you were just looking down upon. For the next few miles you’re hiking down a sandy trail to a small bridge which brings you to a cement trail with no shade and a seemingly endless ascent. This is where you’ll find it’s crucial to have brought enough water. Follow the trail signs that guide you across the bedrock. At 12 miles, Angels Landing is within your sight just below you. West Rim Trail intersects with the Angel’s Landing Trail and down to the famous and shadeless Walter’s Wiggles 21 switchbacks.

You’ll head into Refrigerator Canyon for a much needed break from the sun and come out the other side for the final steep and long descent to the Canyon Floor. Views across Zion Canyon and down the Virgin River are gorgeous. At the end of the trail is a junction with Emerald Pools Trail – just beyond lies the bridge you will cross to get across the Virgin River and across the road to the Grotto trailhead and to the free shuttle bus stop for a welcome sit down.

PRO Trip Info
Zion National Park
(435) 772-3256
GEAR UP In the rivers and canyons, you’ll want sticky-soled shoes, preferably mid-height or taller, and a walking stick or trekking poles for stability and pool probing. For hikes up the canyon, sturdy hiking shoes are recommended. Quick-dry shorts work work well for most seasons. Bring an extra dry shirt, an extra synthetic sweater, and a rain shell, even in the hottest weather. Shade, wet clothing, and canyon winds can be surprisingly cold. Thunderstorms can make the canyon frigid. You can rent specialty items in Springdale at the Zion Adventure Company, 36 Lion Boulevard Springdale, UT 84767; 435-772-1001, zionadventures.com


Zion Lodge
Located on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Open year-round. Motel rooms, cabins, and suites available. Also has a gift shop and post office. Reservations recommended: 888-297-2757; zionlodge.com

South Campground: First-come, first-served. Call 435-772-3256 for more information.
Watchman Campground: Reservations can be made six months prior to arrival date online at recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.

Red Rock Grill Dining Room at Zion Lodge
Open year round. Dinner reservations advised spring through fall: 435-772-3213.

Castle Dome Cafe at Zion Lodge
Open seasonally.

Whiptail Grill
445 Zion Park Boulevard
Springdale, UT 84737
(435) 772-0283

Sol Foods
95 Zion Park Boulevard
Springdale, UT 84737
(435) 772-0277

Honey’s Jubilee
260 East 300 South
Kanab, UT
(435) 644-5877

Lin’s Marketplace
1120 W State St
Hurricane, UT
(435) 635-4477 

Honey’s Fuel Center
344 South 350 East
Kanab, UT 84741-3739
(435) 644-2736

1180 W State St
Hurricane, UT 84737
(435) 635-7529
Roger’s Sinclair
15 East State Street
Orderville, UT 84758
(435) 648-2433

big bend national park

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 23.4



Location: 37.381512, -113.022951

From parking lot start out Sth on well marked trail through field.


Location: 37.380551, -113.022433

Junction w/ Wildcat Canyon. Continue straight.


Location: 37.371833, -113.014975

Junction w/ Sawmill Spring. Continue straight.


Location: 37.344374, -113.004734

Views to the West of Grand West Canyon.


Location: 37.32588, -112.995427

Trail is grown over, but continues down into a meadow.


Location: 37.320935, -112.989077

Junctions for campsite & Potato Hollow. Continue straight (Sth).


Location: 37.313905, -112.99082

Ascend to viewpoint.


Location: 37.304749, -112.985878

At the top of a short ascent the trail joins Telephone Canyon again. Weer South West.


Location: 37.300227, -112.990928

24-JUN-09 11:37:43AM


Location: 37.282771, -112.977831

Pass campsite 3, come around Mesa for more views


Location: 37.286835, -112.968458

W-Way Junction w/ Telephone Canyon & Cabin Spring. Veer Sth to continue on West Rim Trail.


Location: 37.285334, -112.968293

Begin descent through thicker vegetation, scenery changes.


Location: 37.282636, -112.969576

Descend down cliff edge to sandy trail beneath Mt Magestic. Continue NthEast.


Location: 37.280929, -112.951812

Trail dessapears across slickrock. Follow signs leading to Angel’s Landing.


Location: 37.274931, -112.950935

Head Sth & Angel’s Landing junciton. Descend steeply down Walters Wiggles into Refridgerator Canyon.


Location: 37.269374, -112.950397

Final descent down a series of steep switchbacks. Path parrallels river to bridge & Trail Junction with Emerald Pools trail. Cross bridge & walk to shuttle stop.


Location: 37.259958, -112.951529

Head SthEast @ Emerald Pools jnctn to cross bridge back to Grotto bus stop. Trail ends.


Location: 37.381343, -113.022816

Sth Guardian Angel Mountain

Location: 37.342799, -113.013525

Horned Lizard

Location: 37.370225, -113.013096

You will see these all over the trail

Overgrown Meadow

Location: 37.325806, -112.992754

Grand West Canyon

Location: 37.309287, -112.993269


Location: 37.303962, -112.994814

Telephone Canyon Route Closed

Location: 37.304235, -112.98563

Nth Creek Right Fork

Location: 37.300207, -112.994213

Views 4

Location: 37.291467, -112.990694

Descent Down Cliff Edge

Location: 37.282325, -112.968764

Descend Into The Rock Formations

Location: 37.285928, -112.965975

More Switchbacks

Location: 37.286653, -112.956126

Trail Sign

Location: 37.281497, -112.952178

You’ll see a couple of these on the slickrock

Walking Down into the Valley

Location: 37.280959, -112.951641

Views of Angel’s Landing

Location: 37.279764, -112.950976

View of Big Bend

Location: 37.278595, -112.949925

Top of Walter’s Wiggles

Location: 37.275248, -112.951362

View of Trail & Zion Canyon

Location: 37.268896, -112.951341

Bridge to The Grotto

Location: 37.259777, -112.951427

The End

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