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Cockeye Falls - Zion National Park

This 5 mile loop includes a wonderful view into remote Parunuweap canyon, and ends on top of Cockeye Falls.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 4.7 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview :  The remote East side of Zion National Park presents a wonderland to the adventurous hiker. Unlike the main canyon, the East side... more »

Tips:  Backcountry Route! Safely hiking backcountry routes depend on your own good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant attention to ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead and Parking

After exiting the 1.1 mile long Zion tunnel continue to proceed East on Hwy-9 to the small Zion tunnel. Park on the West side of the tunnel (before you enter).

2. Decend into Clear Creek

Immediately to the South is a visible trail leading down into a small wash. Follow the wash until it reaches the main Clear Creek channel. Turn left and head up the cobble stone riverbed.

Note: Clear Creek is a main tributary for the East side of Zion. If it has water in it you may not be able to continue (and you probably wouldn't want to... More

3. Hidden Garden Slot Canyon

After hiking only a short distance, you are greeted on the right side by a massive Ponderosa Pine tree. This marks the entrance for the short but beautiful Hidden Garden Slot Canyon. It is well worth the short side trip to enjoy this green lush canyon.

4. Slickrock Slab and Led by Sheep

After exiting Hidden Garden, again turn up stream and continue on for about 200 yards. Keep an eye open for a small but obvious wash on the right hand side. Enter the wash and begin (almost immediately) to work your way up onto the slickrock. If it is morning, pause and scan the hillside. Sheep like to bed on the slickrock and I noted a small ... More

5. Shelf Garden

Approximately 1/2 the way up the slab, you will be greeted with a layer of wet rock and a small oasis of ferns, moss and baby pine trees. Use caution in climbing the small ridge to the next layer of slickrock. This is a very delicate ecosystem and care must be taken to prevent damaging it.

6. Slickrock bowls and Moki-Marbles

Moki-marbles become common in this area. The route rises and falls through a series of slickrock bowls as you continue to head toward the saddle between the two clusters of rock and trees. At this level, turn around and enjoy the view behind you. Visible are the East and West Temples. Progeny Peak is Northwest. I could barely make out the... More

7. Cactus Minefield

As you approach the saddle between the trees, the slickrock ends and it is replaced by sand, trees, sagebrush, scrub oak and cactus! Game trails are common through the brush which make the travel easier but not much. The trails are littered with cactus plants making the conscious placement of feet even more tedious than on the slickrock slab. ... More

8. Saddle

After negotiating the cactus minefield, the saddle on the West side of peak 6460 and the less prominent rock formation on the right is reached. The Saddle divides the flow of water North and South. North to Clear Creek and South to Parunuweap Canyon. From this viewpoint the expanse of Parunuweap and regions beyond open to your eyes. Avoid... More

9. Hoodoo in a Bowl

Continuing to follow the slickrock wash veering to the West you will be able to recognize a prominent white capped Hoodoo in the middle of the slickrock bowl. This is your goal. Scale the easy steps to the top of the Hoodoo and enjoy the views. Directly West are the peaks of Twin Hoodoo Peak (South) and Peak 6310 (North). Only 1/4 mile... More

10. Backtrack and North South Ridge

Backtrack the way you came until you reach the Saddle. Now head toward the North side and around peak 6460 until you arrive at an obvious North/South ridge. The ridge is wide, sandy and dotted with trees, cactus (again) more scrub oak and other plant life. Follow the game trails staying as close to the ridge line as possible. Views to the East ... More

11. Descend to Canyon Floor

Follow the ridge line until it begins to narrow and becomes steep on both sides. Soon you will be faced with a steep descent, three prominent Hoodoos and a view of the road. This is another beautiful place to sit under a pine tree and watch traffic making its way slowly along the twisting Hwy-9. Do the people, craning their necks to look up,... More

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12. Cockeye Falls and Clear Creek

Follow the beautiful wash downstream toward Clear Creek. There is a dryfall that is easily negotiated by staying far to the right and working a fault line aiming to return to the creek bed below. Soon you will reach Cockeye Falls. Standing at the top of Cockeye Falls don't be surprised to hear motorists honk at you from the road, some using the... More

13. Return along Clear Creek

Now hiking downstream in Clear Creek, return past the small wash and large Ponderosa Pine of Hidden Gardens. Turn right up the small wash, and climb up the slope to your parking spot. Smile, what a great hike!