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Zion National Park

Canyon Overlook Trail (Zion)

  • 1 miles - Easy Effort
  • 1 Hour (Total)
  • 180 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 5,270 feet
  • No Dogs Allowed

what does this mean?

Although only one-mile roundtrip, the Canyon Overlook Trail shouldn't be overlooked (pun!). The trail is one of the most popular in Zion NP: beautiful, easy, and fun to follow. At the end is Pipe Creek Canyon overlook, perched above the Great Arch and offering stunning views into Zion Canyon. The short distance blurs the line between a hike and a roadside attraction, but the trail is so great that I always visit it at Zion.

In this Guide:
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for the Canyon Overlook Trail
  • Where to Park for the Canyon Overlook Trail
  • Insider Tips & Recommendations

When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

Where is the Canyon Overlook Trail?

The Canyon Overlook trailhead is just outside the upper entrance to the Zion-Mt Carmel Tunnel, in the eastern part of Zion National Park. The challenge on this hike is getting a parking spot. There are two small lots close to the trailhead, and then there is a smattering of roadside parking further up the road.

Canyon Overlook Trail Zion Parking

Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 1
If you are coming up from the Visitor Center, look for a small trailhead parking lot directly on your right once you exit the tunnel.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 2
About 500 feet east of the first parking lot is another small lot on the other side of the road. There is a primitive toilet at the lot.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 3
If you park away from the trailhead, you will have to walk along the road to reach the start of the hike. Be careful of traffic, which is probably not expecting pedestrians.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 5
All around the two small parking lots are no parking areas. Never park anywhere explicitly marked "no-parking."

For your best chance at getting a parking spot, arrive here at sunrise.

Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 4
Further up, past the no-parking signs, are some turnouts where you can park. And while technically, roadside parking is not allowed in Zion NP, several wide paved turnouts like this are often used for parking. I marked the two closest turnouts on the map below. Again, if the lots are full, find a wide turnout and carefully walk to the trailhead.

Use this address for the trailhead:
Canyon Overlook Trail, Zion National Park, Springdale, UT, 84737

Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 6
Here's what the start of the hike looks like.

Gear For the Hike

You don't need anything special besides trail runners or hiking shoes. I'd avoid flip-flops on the slick rock.

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Canyon Overlook Trail Maps

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3D Map

Canyon Overlook Trail Zion 3d Map
From just outside of the tunnel we make our way along the cliffside, above Pine Creek, to a wide plateau that overlooks Zion Canyon.

Canyon Overlook Hike Directions

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Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 7
Hike up the stairs by the trailhead.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 8
The beginning has a small amount of stair climbing and zig zags up. After this initial climbing, the trail becomes flat.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 9
As you wind around the canyon wall, handrails keep the experience safe.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 10
Some sections lack rails but are at least 4 feet wide. It's easy to pass other people on these sections. The Canyon Overlook Trail was first built in the 1930s and is regularly maintained.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 11
Shortly after the start there's a viewpoint where you can peer deep into the Pine Creek slot canyon below . Experienced canyoneers sometimes rappel through this canyon, one of the most popular technical routes in the park.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 12
Now we start the boards section along the side of the cliff.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 13
You get nice views down into the slot canyon along the boards.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 14
At the end of the boards you arrive at a massive rock overhang. If for some reason you got caught in the rain, this is a good place to wait it out.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 19
Continue along the path. Don't forget to look across the canyon. There's an incredible arch with a face in it along the way.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 15
Continuing on you'll hike into a wide area of red and cream-colored slick rock, with the overlook area shortly ahead. The tall pointy peak on the left is Bridge Mountain.
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The trail widens out and you arrive at the overlook, surrounded by hoodoos that people love to climb.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 17
The best place to enjoy the overlook into Zion Canyon is from the fenced-in edge, which also has an interpretive display.
Canyon Overlook Trail Zion Above Arch
FYI from here you are standing above the Great Arch, which you can see when you drive up from the canyon to the tunnel.
Canyon Overlook Trail Directions 18
Enjoy the views from the edge and then just hike back the way you came in.

Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.

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This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!).

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