Coal Pits Wash to Scoggins Wash Confluence, Coal Pits Wash Trailhead, Zion National Park, Utah

Coal Pits Wash to Scoggins Wash Confluence - 9.0 miles

Coal Pits Wash Trailhead

Coal Pits Wash

Coal Pits Wash

Round-Trip Length: 9.0 miles (travel continues in wash to Chinle Trail)
Start-End Elevation: 3,650' - 4,160' (4,160' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +510' net elevation gain (+578' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Coal Pits Wash to Scoggins Wash Confluence - 9.0 Miles Round-Trip

Coal Pits wash leads deep into a warren of shallow canyons adjacent to Zion Canyon. It's named for black basaltic rock piles found early in the hike that resemble coal deposits. This lightly used hiking route features desert-riparian vegetation and a colorful landscape. 

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Though fairly intuitive, markings are limited and visitors should have basic navigation skills for extended travel in the Zion backcountry:

Pass through the Park Boundary turnstile into an open sage field. To find the trail first identify the wash, which is lined by cottonwood trees. The trail runs along the east bank of the wash - follow footsteps into the sage field until you pick it up.

Alternatively you may drop into the wash for several tenths of a mile, then exit to your right up the east bank - in short time you should run right into a well-defined path. The trail runs north, paralleling the wash from a distance while threading a thick sage field. A few shallow ravines nterrupt an otherwise mild walk.

Basaltic lava rock piles on adjacent slopes are remnants of volcanic activity and fault leaks in the nearby Crater Hill area. Recent fire damage in the lower canyon is difficult to ignore, however this aesthetic loss is offset by the verdant riparian corridor of Coalpits Wash.

The trail edges drops into the wash at 1.8 miles; a few steps past this entry point is a major fork in the wash (1.85 miles : 3,798') - Keep Right.

Canyon walls gradually narrow, twist and rise while the trail negotiates irregular intervals in, along and above the wash bed. Exit and entry points are sparingly marked, though travel is intuitive, especially on the return. When in doubt, remain in the wash.

Conditions are relatively mild no matter what path you take; only when flowing briskly need you mind the trail carefully. Vigilance is a must when scrambling about as rattlesnakes inhabit this area. Vegetation in the upper canyon - unaffected by fire - thickens and diversifies as you progress.

Successive obstacles in the wash (4.1 miles : 4,035') lead to a steep dry-fall that's circumvented by a short scramble over the hill to your left (4.4 miles : 4,130').

A few steps ahead is the unmarked Coalpits Wash - Scoggins Wash confluence (4.45 miles : 4,160'). Here the canyon suddenly widens with tall wooded knolls offering useful perspective.

Zion Canyon landmarks such as the Altar of Sacrifice (7,505'), Sundial (7,590'), West Temple (7,800') and Mount Kinesava (7,285') can be seen from various positions.

Travel up either wash fork continues with relative ease, and both join the Chinle Trail approximately 7 miles from the trailhead. Coalpits holds a more reliable water source, and is recommended should this be vital to your plans.

Experienced hikers can use a short section of the Chinle Trail to connect Coalpits and Scoggins washes in the upper canyon to form a loop that will return you to the confluence.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N37 10.277 W113 04.903 — 0.0 miles : Coal Pits Wash Trailhead
  • N37 10.661 W113 04.819 — .5 miles : Travel in wash
  • N37 11.045 W113 04.801 — 1.0 mile mark in wash
  • N37 11.614 W113 04.594 — 1.85 miles : Fork in wash - bear right
  • N37 11.672 W113 04.506 — Travel in narrowing wash
  • N37 11.827 W113 04.155 — 2.5 mile mark
  • N37 12.099 W113 03.901 — 3.0 mile mark
  • N37 12.326 W113 03.730 — 3.5 mile mark
  • N37 12.478 W113 03.483 — 4.0 miles : Begin minor scrambling
  • N37 12.634 W113 03.037 — 4.5 miles : Coal Pits Wash - Scoggins Wash confluence

Worth Noting

  • The trail follows the wash for a short distance to the first fork (described above), after which the route alternates in and out of the wash. Exit and entries are not marked, though travel is intuitive, especially on the return. When in doubt, remain in the wash.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips in Zion National Park. Permits are available at both Visitor Centers the day of or day before your trip. Permits are limited.

  • $15: 1-2 people
  • $20: 3-7 people
  • $25: 8-12 people

Permits may also be reserved up to 3 months in advance through the online reservation system. A $5 non-refundable fee + an additional fee determined by the size of your group is required when using the online reservation system. Click here to reserve

  • Camp only in designated sites.
  • Fires are not permitted at backcountry campsites or within the backcountry in Zion National Park.
  • Desert water sources are scarce and fragile. Do not bathe or wash dishes in creeks or pools. 

Rules and Regulations

  • There's a $30 fee per vehicle to enter Zion National Park (defined as private passenger cars with 15 people or less). Passes are good for 7 consecutive days.
  • $25 per motorcycle.
  • $15 per person (walk or bike).
  • Dogs are not permitted on trails in Zion National Park.

Directions to Trailhead

The Coalpits Wash Trail is accessed from the Coalpits Wash Trailhead, located off of Highway 9, 3.9 miles south of Springdale, Utah.

The trailhead and parking area are located on the north side of Highway 9. The parking area is an unmaintained dirt area that can be temporarily washed out after heavy rains.

Contact Information

Zion Canyon Visitor Center
Open: Daily
Closed: December 25
Spring: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Summer: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Fall: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Winter: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Backcountry Info, Camping & Permits Desk (including camping in the Narrows)

Kolob Canyon Visitor Center
Open: Daily
Closed: December 25
Spring: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Summer: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fall: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Winter: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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