This steep and strenuous route takes runners from ~4,000' all the way to 6,500' in the short span of 3 miles. Though difficult, this run culminates at one of the best viewpoints in Zion - Observation Point
Be prepared for very steep grades, especially on East Rim Trail
and the first section of East Mesa Trail
. So, essentially the entire way!
Best in late spring and fall, the Observation Point
route typically has deep snow in the winter that can remain until late spring. During the summer months this run can get very hot and dry. Be sure to bring water and sunscreen, regardless of time of year.
This run is very exposed to the sun and occasional large drop-offs - be sure to bring water and a steady stride.
Starting from the Weeping Rock Trailhead take Weeping Rock Trail
heading south, then make a right to join East Rim Trail
. From here, East Rim heads straight up a slot in Zion Canyon, directly across from Angel's Landing, so the views are spectacular.
Continue up the canyon, past Hidden Canyon Trail
on your right, and all the way to an intersection with East Mesa Trail
. All the while ascending some incredibly steep switchbacks with little to no respite from the sun.
Once at the intersection with East Mesa Trail
, turn left. Starting from East Rim Trail
, East Mesa climbs very steeply, switchbacking multiple times until it eventually contours south of a small mesa. Once the trail levels off, all of the hard stuff is done.
After contouring along this smaller mesa, head left onto Observation Point Trail
. The trail works its way out to the edge of the canyon rim and offers absolutely astounding panoramic views of the canyon. You'll have clear views of Angel's Landing to the southwest, while the Great White Throne will be in sight due south.
The wet riparian communities give way to the pinyon-juniper community, a desert forest full of life. These slow growing evergreens are both cold and drought tolerant, supporting a diversity of wildlife to rival the riparian areas. Juniper trees, being more drought tolerant, dominate the transition zone between the lowland communities and the pinyon-juniper forests.