Kolob Canyon Road
One hour from Zion Canyon, Zion National Park's most popular place to visit, lies one of the park's best-kept secrets: the Kolob Canyons section of the park. Off the beaten path, it gets nowhere near the crowds its sister area does to the south. If you are looking for striking beauty and solitude, put the Kolob Canyons area on your itinerary.
It is located at Exit 40 on Interstate 15, 40 miles north of Zion Canyon and 17 miles south of Cedar City. A five-mile scenic drive along the Kolob Canyons Road allows visitors to view the crimson canyons and gain access to various trails and scenic viewpoints.
Here in the northwest corner of the park, narrow parallel box canyons are cut into the western edge of the Colorado Plateau, forming majestic peaks and 2,000 foot cliff walls.
All guests are required to stop at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center to show an Interagency Park Pass or pay the Zion National Park entrance fee. After the Visitor Center, the drive climbs 1,000 feet in the 5-miles to the Kolob Canyon Viewpoint. This is one of the least visited sections of the park accessible by car.
Kolob Terrace Road
Running up steep inclines and switchbacks, this relatively untraveled road begins in Virgin, outside of park boundaries, and rises to elevations of 8,000 feet at Lava Point within the narrow neck of the park. For a longer trip, continue on north to Kolob Reservoir.
Kolob Terrace in Winter
The upper ends of the road are unplowed in winter and often covered with snow. Below 6,000 feet, the surface is typically snow free. The park service plows the road up to the base of Maloney Hill, just past the Hop Valley Trailhead, leaving large berms of snow that will prevent cars from traveling further. Snowmobiles may go beyond, but the trekking isn't ideal, with large bare patches and dirty berms.
The road through Black Canyon and Lava Point often has more snow. Even during the best of times, June through October, this stretch is best considered a backcountry road suited for high clearance vehicles. For those who can make it, however, the open vistas and relative isolation of the area make this a favorite for many, as it leads to Lava Point, the highest elevation in the park, where one can view the Cedar Breaks area, the Pink Cliffs and the Zion Narrows.