It might never cross your mind to go to Zion National Park in the winter, and that’s ok—even normal. Most people don’t think of winter as a great hiking season. I have a confession to make, I’m hoping to change your mind about winter hiking and put Observation Point on your radar. Two weeks ago, I took to the trail, and here are the details a first-time winter hiker might like to know.
Observation Point is one of the more challenging hikes in Zion National Park. You gain a hardy 2,100 feet in four miles, making for a slow ascent in this 8 mile round trip hike. Depending on your fitness level and the pace you like to keep when hiking, you should finish the hike somewhere between 4 to 6 hours.
When it comes to a view, few can hold a candle to Observation Point. Located on the opposite side of the canyon as Angels Landing, these two hikes do offer similar vantage points, but Observation wins thanks to being quite a bit higher in elevation.
The first ⅓ of the hike feels like the hardest part. But once you’re able to power through that section, the rest is relatively easy. If you approach this hike aggressively, it’s a substantial cardio workout, which means you need to hydrate! Even if it’s only 25 degrees, you should drink up or you could run the risk of bonking. Trail snacks would also be a wise choice.
As a quick side note, I want to mention apparel. I only wore a light jacket and t-shirt. That served me really well when I was on the move but left me out in the cold while eating and admiring the view at the top. I would recommend bringing an extra layer for the top if you plan on spending more than 5 minutes up there.
From the top of the trail, the entire canyon stretches out before you all the way to Springdale. You can even pick out Zion’s Lodge and the top of Angels Landing. It’s a challenging climb but extremely rewarding.
This comes from someone who cares about photography, so take it with a grain of salt, but if you have a good camera, bring it! You may also want to bring along various lenses and a tripod. Is it a pain to haul all that stuff? Yes. But the way I see it, if you’re going to work that hard to get up there, you might as well have something awesome to take home besides the memories.
Now that you’re in the know, lace up your hiking boots, grab a camera, and make some memories with Observation Point.
Written by: Mike Carr – Online Marketing Mike is all things digital for the Tourism Office’s marketing. So if you have a question about the website look to him. When you don’t find him at his computer you’ll most likely find him on his bike or hiking up a trail in Zion.our own text