2 Kolob Canyon Scenic Drives in Zion National Park
Stop by the Visitor Center before climbing 1,000 feet in the 5-miles to the Kolob Canyon Viewpoint. Or drive from Virgin, Utah all the way to the reservoir.
Kolob Canyons, located 40 miles north of the main area of Zion National Park, Zion Canyon, is a beautiful and remote section of the park many visitors miss. It features amazing day hike and backpacking opportunities, a five mile scenic drive with many scenic pullouts and a visitor center.
Here, you’ll also find Kolob Arch, one of the longest natural arches in the world, as well as the Kolob Finger Canyons. Desert streams and gorgeous waterfalls can be found throughout the area. Narrow box canyons cut stunning Navajo sandstone peaks and rock walls, making it a beautiful spot to spend the day or start a multi-day adventure.
This area of the park is designated as a Wilderness, which means the Kolob Canyons are protected and preserved for their pristine and primitive nature. You’ll find endless solitude and beauty in this area of the park’s 20 miles of hiking trails.
Where is Kolob Canyons?
To reach Kolob Canyons from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, head approximately one hour (42 miles) west on Hwy-9 to La Verkin, then north on Hwy-17, to I-15, exit 40. The Kolob Canyons Visitor Center is located just east of Exit 40. A valid park pass is required to enter this section of the park and can be purchased at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center.
Kolob Canyons Road
This five-mile scenic drive along 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.
Need a map? Download an official Zion National Park map for basic road and attraction locations. Want a detailed topographical map of trails in the park? Buy the NatGeo Trails Illustrated Map for Zion National Park at REI.com. The map includes trails, trailheads, points of interest, campgrounds, lakes and much more. Or get the complete Utah National Parks Map Pack with five topographic maps. All of the NatGeo maps are printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material.
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