Zion National Park is known for its incredible beauty. Those looking for great hikes never miss out on the most popular hikes, Angel’s Landing, and Observation Point, but Zion has more to offer. If you are looking for a slightly more difficult trek, and to avoid the crowds, Cable Mountain could be a great choice. Pictures of this gorgeous hike are available at the very bottom of this article. This hike has made our list of The Best Hikes in Zion National Park.
Distance: 15 Miles Round Trip (24.14 Km)
Elevation: 6,496 Feet
Elevation Gain: 2,400 Feet
Duration: 7-12 hours
Weeping Rock Trailhead – 15 miles round trip – 2,400 feet of elevation gain
This is the most common route to Cable Mountain. Hikers can take the Zion Shuttle to the weeping rock stop, and begin ascending Zion Canyon just like hikers would for Observation Point.
East Entrance – 18 miles round trip – 1,000 feet of elevation gain
This trail is a bit longer in distance but considered easier due to the elevation gain.
If you are looking for trail maps of Zion, they are surprisingly hard to come by on the internet. You can purchase some great ones on Amazon here. They are also at welcome centers for the park. Below is a map of Zion Canyon which shows the Cable Mountain Trail.
Hike Description from Weeping Rock
Hikers quickly ascend via a heavily switchbacked into the stunning echo canyon. From the trailhead, you experience the towering walls of Zion Canyon and a view backwards to the trailhead and Angel’s Landing. You will continue through Echo Canyon and along the same path hikers take to ascend Observation Point.
Hikers will eventually reach the point where the east rim trail breaks off from the observation point trail. Here you will certainly be leaving the crowds as you traverse across slick rock, and a far less defined path. Here the trail is often marked by small cairns, and can be a little difficult to follow at times. The views here are fantastic, and you come across many astounding white rock formations. This portion of the trail begins relatively flat, but then quickly ascends to the next level upwards above canyon walls.
Once this ascent is complete, your trek to the summit and viewpoint is flat and likely filled with mule deer.
Hike Description from East Entrance
This trek is less strenuous, but also less stunning. Hikers will need to be dropped off, or park a car at the East Entrance Trailhead. Hikers gradually ascend around 1,000 feet towards deertrap mountain and cable mountain. The hike is pleasant, though does not have any stunning cliff views until the very end.
Dogs are not allowed for this hike.
History of Cable Mountain
The cable structure was erected in 1901 to transport lumber down into the canyon from the plateau above. By 1930, the lumber transport was stopped, but the frame of the structure still stand.
This is a longer mileage hike, and many hikers choose to spend the night, turning this into a multi-day trek. This is highly recommended as both the sunset, and sunrise on Cable Mountain is stunning. When camping, you will need to obtain a Wilderness Permit.
Wilderness Camping permits can be obtained at the Zion National Park Visitor Center. There are very specific areas in which camping is allowed. A hike up Cable Mountain gives hikers tons of options, and speaking with rangers at the visitor center will make finding a spot for your trip very easy. You can also obtain maps pointing to all the legal camping places once you obtain a permit.
$15 for 1-2 people
$20 for 3-7 people
$25 for 8-12 people
Hiking in Winter
At its coldest, monthly average high temperatures for a day are in the low 40s, making this a hike that can be completed year round in most conditions. Occasionally there will be ice build up on the trails in which extreme caution should be taken. Simply prepare with the proper equipment and understand the expected weather for your winter excursion to Cable Mountain.
To Weeping Rock Trailhead:
To East Entrance Trailhead:
A slight chance of snow between 11am and 2pm, then a chance of rain and snow. Partly sunny. High near 43, with temperatures falling to around 39 in the afternoon. Southwest wind 6 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
A chance of snow before 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22. West northwest wind 6 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Mostly sunny. High near 37, with temperatures falling to around 35 in the afternoon. North northwest wind 7 to 16 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 18. North wind 6 to 16 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 43. North northwest wind around 6 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 23.
Sunny, with a high near 47.
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about