Kolob Arch, Lee Pass Trailhead, Zion National Park, Utah
Kolob Arch - 14.5 miles
Lee Pass Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||14.5 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||6,050' - 5,268' (6,050' max elevation : 5,035' lowest elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||-782' net elevation loss (+1,498' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Kolob Arch - 14.5 Miles Round-Trip
Kolob Arch is located 7.25 miles from Lee Pass Trailhead in Zion National Park. At 287.4' across it's considered the world's second longest freestanding rock span, just behind Landscape Arch (290.1') in Arches National Park. Kolob is a word from the Book of Mormon used to describe the star nearest the Throne of God, signifying a high and exalted place.
While Kolob Arch is geologically noteworthy, the hike along rare perennial desert streams, towering promontories and crimson cliffs is compelling in itself.
Higher elevations, natural shade and running water make this an ideal peak-summer hike when others in Zion Canyon are prohibitively hot:
The trail heads south down a high, narrow ridge between Timber Creek and the red walls of Beatty Point (7,780'), Nagunt Mesa (7,785') and Timber Top Mountain (8,055'). Pinyon-juniper stands line the way but provide little shade. Note numerous side canyons to the west on this descent.
The trail reaches Timber Creek and levels in a wooded plateau (1.0 mile : 5,603'). Though Timber Creek is not perennial, pockets generally linger year round. You may filter stagnant pools, but better off waiting for the flowing waters of La Verkin Creek.
Intervals of cottonwood, oak, and maple form a partial canopy and modicum of shade on the southward trek down canyon. Anticipate many wash-stream crossings on this section.
The gentle down-slope turns uphill and away from the creek past Backcountry Campsite #2 (3.1 miles : 5,350'), cresting on a ridge over Backcountry Campsite #3 (3.65 miles : 5,425') with good views of the Timber and La Verkin Creek gorges.
The trail bends east around Gregory Butte while dropping in spurts through juniper plots to La Verkin Creek (4.75 miles : 5,035'). Here it bends east beside the creek for 2.4 miles to the spur for Kolob Arch.
La Verkin Creek supports cottonwood, oak, maple, pinyon, juniper, manzanita, and a variety of cacti and grasses. Look for deer, turkey, coyote, skunk and ringtail in its lux banks and side canyons. The trail passes a cascade and pool near Campsite #6 (5.6 miles : 5,048'), and negotiates tangled vegetation from Campsite #8 (6.35 miles : 5,108') to Campsite #10 (6.45 miles : 5,165').
A natural spring that seeps across the trail near #10 is a good water source should La Verkin Creek run dry or heavy with sediment. The trail edges back to the creek and Backcountry Campsites #11, 12 and 13 (6.55 miles : 5,137'); a few steps away is the Kolob Arch Trail (6.6 miles : 5,150'), which turns north up a small stream into a side canyon.
The spur trail - intermittently rugged and obscured by runoff, terrain and overgrowth - follows the stream to the base of Kolob Arch. The trail generally favors the creek's west side, but makes several unmarked crossings. An intuitive heading with little room for deviation ensure you stay on track.
The trail ends on a steep knoll at Kolob Arch Overlook (7.25 miles : 5,268') - with a partial look at the formidable canyon head and Kolob Arch .4 miles away.
Limited views from this distance belie Kolob Arch's true size and scale; while hikers are discouraged from traveling further, risking injury and disturbing vegetation, it's possible to follow the ravine up-canyon to a better vantage. Do not attempt travel up canyon walls; it's quite possible to become 'cliffed out', and descents can be more perilous than the climb.
Interactive GPS Topo MapKey GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84
- N37 27.131 W113 11.476 — 0.0 miles : Lee Pass Trailhead
- N37 26.352 W113 11.478 — 1.0 miles : Reach Timber Creek
- N37 26.040 W113 11.527 — 1.4 miles : Travel along Timber Creek
- N37 25.731 W113 11.701 — 1.85 miles : Travel along Timber Creek
- N37 25.352 W113 11.740 — 2.45 miles : Campsite #1
- N37 24.859 W113 11.636 — 3.1 miles : Campsite #2
- N37 24.443 W113 11.799 — 3.65 miles : Campsite #3 - begin descent to La Verkin Cr
- N37 24.387 W113 11.197 — 4.25 miles : On descent to La Verkin Creek
- N37 24.375 W113 10.727 — 4.75 miles : Trail levels beside La Verkin Creek
- N37 24.623 W113 10.191 — 5.35 miles : Campsite #5
- N37 24.673 W113 10.038 — 5.6 miles : Campsite #6 and falls
- N37 24.841 W113 09.379 — 6.35 miles : Campsite #8
- N37 24.921 W113 09.290 — 6.45 miles : Campsite #10
- N37 24.911 W113 09.123 — 6.55 miles : Camspites #11, 12 & 13
- N37 24.952 W113 09.066 — 6.6 miles : Turn left on Kolob Arch Spur Trail
- N37 25.315 W113 09.102 — 7.15 miles : Travel on Kolob Arch Spur Trail
- N37 25.369 W113 09.145 — 7.25 miles : Kolob Arch Overlook
- Remember that you'll climb over 1100' on the return to Lee Pass, and that your final leg is steep and exposed. Plan travel to avoid peak afternoon heat and thunder storms.
- The span of Landscape Arch in Arches National Park (290.1') exceeds Kolob Arch (287.4') by only 2.7'. This lead is tenuous, however, as Landscape Arch nears the end of its geological life cycle.
- Enjoy easy access to La Verkin Creek, but respect the privacy of the 10 backcountry campsites along the way.
- The La Verkin Creek Trail continues 4.3 miles northeast past the Kolob Arch spur to the Park Boundary.
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
Kolob Arch is accessed by the La Verkin Creek Trail from Lee Pass Trailhead in the Kolob Canyons District of Zion National Park.
Travel 3.6 miles east of the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center on Kolob Canyons Road to the Lee Pass parking area on the left. The trailhead and backcountry board is located 100' northeast of the parking area.
Zion Canyon Visitor Center
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.
Kolob Canyon Visitor Center
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.