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East Temple Saddle - Zion National Park

The East Temple Saddle route is a backcountry extension turning the Canyon Overlook trail into a loop.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 3.1 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours

Overview :  One of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park is the Canyon Overlook Trail. This well designed and well protected trail allows ... 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

Heading east on Hwy-9 toward Mt. Carmel Junction upon exiting the long 1.1 mile Zion Tunnel; immediately on your right is the Canyon Overlook Parking, trailhead, and restrooms. The parking is limited, but an overflow parking can be found a few hundred feet further down the road on your left. Park and hike back to the trailhead.

2. Canyon Overlook Trail

One of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park is the Canyon Overlook Trail. This well designed and well protected trail allows even young children the chance to witness dizzying heights more common on the difficult trails in the park. If you hear voices (odds are) their not in your head, but from explorers in the depths of Pine Creek Slot... More

3. Canyon Overlook End

At the end of the Canyon Overlook trail is an impressive panorama view of the south end of Zion National Park. Bridge Mountain, West Temple can all be seen from this vantage point. Looking down, you will see the pools of Pine Creek and perhaps hikers exploring the regions under foot.

4. Slickrock Scramble

From the viewpoint of Canyon Overlook, look north toward the East Temple towering overhead. As you view the massive, steep, slickrock slab locate the white hoodoos near the end of the slab. This is your direction of travel. Backtrack along the Canyon Overlook Trail 25 - 50 feet and head north following the faint trail through the underbrush.

5. No Easy Picnic

This slickrock scramble is no easy picnic trail. Pick your line with care and make sure you "see" your direction of travel BEFORE you move. Use a zigzag path to follow the line of least resistance. There is plenty of weakness and good ledge systems to exploit. Avoid getting to far west as this area is extremely steep and dangerous. I found a ... More

6. East Temple Saddle

Continue to aim toward the right of the Hoodoos and soon the saddle is obtained. This is a great location to take a break and enjoy the views. Across canyon is Destination Peak. The massive valley of Hepworth Canyon can be seen above the first window of the tunnel. Bridge Mountain, G2, West Temple and all the peaks surrounding the visitors... More

7. Descend backside of Saddle

Continuing to head north, work your way off the backside of the saddle. Locate the slickrock bowl filled with Ponderosa Pine trees and a wash that is running east. I found the slickrock ledges on the eastern side of the decent to be easy to negotiate with firm footing. Passing the cliff band walls with ease. When you reach the "sliced" walls... More

8. Eastern Wash

Once in the tree covered bowl, locate the wash that is headed in a generally eastern direction. Follow the wash until it empties into a deep slot canyon. Looking south along this giant slash in the earth is an amazing sight.

9. Shelf Canyon

At the end of the Eastern Wash and at the edge of Shelf Canyon, look north and you will be able to locate the head of Shelf Canyon. Walk north along the canyon, arriving at the head, where you will be able to locate a faint trail that skirts behind a pine tree and allows you to cross to the ridge line on the opposite side.

10. Descend toward Upper Pine Creek

Descend along the ridge line backbone until it is easy to drop down to lower ground (east). The walls of Upper Pine Creek are easy to identify to the east. Progeny Peak is an impressive view from this angle. Stay high and to your left as you work north toward the head of Upper Pine Creek. Travel to far right and you will be held up with cliff ... More

11. Descend into Upper Pine Creek

Carins begin to mark the spot of the dryfall into Upper Pine Creek. This is a popular line of travel for people headed to Spry Canyon and Mountain of the Sun and the route is well marked.

12. Upper Pine Creek

Enjoy the hike along Upper Pine Creek as you make your way back to Hwy-9. Upper Pine Creek is a wide, sandy wash filled with reminders of rock slides and flash floods. At the end is a beautiful culvert made of rock built in the 1930's.

13. Hwy-9

Use caution hiking back the few 100 yards along the road to your car.