Observation Point in Zion National Park is one of the most common hikes in the park due to the incredible views, as well as the unique trail that zig zags up the canyon’s walls with incredible views for almost 100% of the hike. This makes our list of one of the best hikes in Zion.
Elevation: 6,507 feet (1983.3 meters)
Distance: 8 miles round trip (12.9 km)
Elevation Gain: 2,100 feet (640.1 meters)
Hike Time: 4-6 hours
Weeping Rock – Zion Shuttle Stop 7
Hikers begin at the weeping rock trailhead, which ascends quickly with a series of switchbacks. From the trailhead you can explore the weeping rock area with a short detour. Only a short distance into the trail, you will also have the option to explore hidden canyon, which is a great detour for the way down. The trail to the canyon is very uniquely carved into the canyon walls, and steep drops.
After about 1,000 feet of elevation gain, hikers will find themselves entering echo canyon. The trail meanders through the canyon, with cliff walls rising on either side of you. You can also pear downwards into the deep cracks of the canyon. This piece of the hike already makes the steep trails worth the trip, and also provides a brief break from the non-stop switchbacks. Shortly after exiting echo canyon, you will pass the East Rim Trail and begin zig zagging your way up the rest of observation point.
After ascending above echo canyon, you will have consistent views of Zion as you ascend what appears to be a trail carved directly into completely vertical cliffs. It truly is one of the most incredible traila in the park.
The views on the trail are incredible, but still aren’t quite as good as what you experience at Observation Point. Though not quite a 360 degree view of Zion, you will see the park from a unique vantage point.
Observation Point Vs. Angel’s Landing
If one had a choice, it would be to do both Angel’s Landing and Observation Point as they are both spectacular, offer unique perspectives of Zion National Park, and can even give you a solid workout. Of course, some may have to make a choice of hiking one or the other, and if this is the case, you likely should choose Angel’s Landing.
Both feature incredible views at the summit, and on the trails, but Angel’s Landing simply beats Observation point. The 360 degree view from the center of the canyon cannot be topped. Not to mention, the views from the trail are just as stunning. With this being said, the views from Observation Point are almost just as good. You also get incredible views of echo canyon and Zion Canyon as you ascend.
This comparison is so difficult, but yet again, Angel’s Landing can’t be topped. It is one of the most recognizable and unforgettable trails in the world for a very good reason. If Angel’s Landing didn’t exist…Observation Point would probably rank just as high as Angel’s Landing. The zig zags up the massive white cliffs are incredible, the narrow hiking through echo canyon are unique to your eyes, and to your ears. Even with the spectacular trail heading up Observation Point, the drop-offs and chain lined trails of Angel’s Landing are too spectacular to pass up.
With an 8 mile round trip and 2,100 feet of elevation gain, Observation Point is just a bit more difficult than Angel’s Landing. Angel’s Landing features 1,500 feet elevation gain and a 4.8 mile round trip.
Click here if you would like to read about Hiking Angel’s Landing
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Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, 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. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about