Chinle Trail – Scoggins Wash – 13.4mi / 21.6km
There is a nice alternative to simply going out and back along the Chinle trail. It crosses through the desert and the petrified forest, drops down into a wash and loops back up on the trail. Compared to Zion Canyon, seeing people will be the exception along this trail with sparse relief from the sun.
The first part of the hike winds through private property and residences, then opens up with the red rocks of Mount Kinesava creating a surreal backdrop. As the walk continues, you enter into the Park through a gate and head towards Mount Kinesava. As you round the base of the mountain, views of the back side of the Towers of the Virgin peek around the corner. You come to a rim of a little canyon known as Hubert Wash. As you follow the rim up the wash, the canyon walls get shorter until you can easily cross the wash.
On the other side of the wash, scattered on the ground, you see old tree stumps and pieces of rotten logs of a forest long ago. Upon closer observation you will see that the logs are stone, and you are wandering through a petrified forest! (Note: leave the petrified rock where you find it. It is against the law to remove natural or cultural objects in the Park.)
The trail continues on to Scoggins Wash where you cross at a low spot similar to Hubert Wash. You’ll alternate between the broad desert and along the rim of the wash. Keep an eye out for entertaining Antelope Squirrels that scamper across the desert with their tails in the air. The trail after crossing Scoggins Wash can be faint and difficult to follow in sections, so paying attention to subtle cues will help in finding the well-established trail further on.
The junction to drop into the wash is 1.3 miles after you cross Scoggins Wash and has a sign for an old pack trail that follows a drainage down to the wash. The pack trail can be tricky to find. It is out of the drainage to the left and becomes obvious the further you go along. It steeply descends to the bottom of the wash.
Once in the wash, take a left and head back up towards the Chinle Trail. As you walk up the wash, the high walls get lower and lower until you get back to the trail where you crossed before. There are a few places where you can’t walk at the very bottom of the wash, but a quick glance at the surrounding walls (usually to the left) show social scrambles to navigate the boulders and dry waterfalls. At the junction of Scoggins Wash and the Chinle Trail, take a right back to your car.
Bring plenty of water as it is nonexistent along this hike during the summer. Also, be aware of the weather conditions as the washes can flash flood with the rain.
Trailhead: From Springdale, take Highway 9 west and look for Anasazi Way before you get to Rockville. Take a right and head north on Anasazi Way and look for the gravel parking lot to your right before you get into the residential area. The turn is a very sharp right with a pretty steep descent. Follow the signs for the trail.
Elevation Gain: 1,250ft / 375m – Elevation Loss: 1,250ft / 375m