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La Verkin Creek Trail
The Kolob Canyons area of Zion National Park receives far fewer visitors than the main Zion Canyon, but it is a stunning area full of red rock cliffs. The La Verkin Creek Trail travels through these canyons following Timber Creek down to La Verkin Creek. It then follows up the creek into the canyons taking you past the Kolob Arch, the second largest free-standing arch in the world. A great place to turn around is up to a wonderful slot canyon called Bear Trap Canyon that ends in a waterfall.
We knew we had a big day ahead of us hiking to Bear Trap Canyon with a side trip to the famous Kolob Arch, so we hit the Lee Pass trailhead early. The desert was cool as we started out in the shadows of the tall, red walls of the Kolob Canyons area of Zion National Park. As the dawn turned into daylight, the animals were changing guard. We ran into a black-tailed jackrabbit, a striped skunk, and a western rattlesnake at the beginning of the trail.
As we worked our way down the steep descent to Timber Creek, we walked among the cottonwoods and crossed the dry creek bed numerous times. Throughout the trip, various sections definitely had sandy footing which can get old on a 19 mile day. We passed Shuntavi Butte and another canyon, then finally got into the sun.
As the trail approaches La Verkin Creek, it goes up and over a ridge, then descends to La Verkin Creek where you follow that up into the canyons. The trail goes through a variety of different forests from the pinion pines and juniper away from the water to cottonwoods at the bottom of the valley . As you get further in the canyon, the walls close in on you and seem to get more massive.
After about 6.5 miles, a spur trail turns north for a little over half a mile to the Kolob Arch. This is the second largest freestanding arch in the world and is really impressive. It’s a bit far from the trail, so it is viewing from a distance which makes for better photos than an experience.
We hiked out from the spur trail and continued up La Verkin Creek trail. As the day got warmer, we were glad to be in the canyons. Eventually, we came to campsite 13 where Bear Trap Canyon breaks off from La Verkin Creek.
What a beautiful canyon! With a flat floor, this slot canyon has towering walls that close in, but not suffocatingly so. It reminded us of a smaller version of the Narrows. Lush vegetation and a small creek wound its way through the bottom. The turnaround for the hike was a quaint little waterfall tucked back in the canyon. We sat and enjoyed it for a bit and headed on back.
By this time, it was hot in the afternoon as we broke out of the canyons. We missed their shade, but the sunlight was baking the western-facing red rock walls of Kolob Canyon emphasizing their majesty. We climbed up the steep ascent from the Timber Creek drainage to the Lee Pass trailhead after covering a long, but wonderful 19 miles.