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East Rim Trail (Weeping Rock to Stave Spring)

Zion National Park

Zion National Park Links:

May 18th, 1998

6.0 miles
2250 vertical feet
Total Time: 4:35

Rating: 8/10

Directions:   View Driving Map

Jay, Weihaw, and I hiked the East Rim Trail, from the Weeping Rock parking area to Stave Spring, at Zion National Park.

The temperature climbed into the low 90's as we started our hike at 3:45pm. We immediately started climbing up switchbacks, seemingly toward nowhere, while we had views of the main area of the park below. Day hikers passed us in the opposite direction.

Then, suddenly, the trailed turn in toward the mountain and we were going through this Narrows-like canyon. Cool! Literally, too. The shade was a welcome relief from the hot sun. I think it must have been on this part of the trip or the next day when I slightly sunburned the top of my head. Yes, right through my hair. Next time I'm wearing a hat!

Canyon on the way up the East Rim Trail

After going through the canyon area, we seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. We passed one pair of hikers coming the opposite direction, and then saw no one else for the next 16 hours. At the 2-mile mark we saw the trail for Observation Point -- that would be our destination the next day. We continued on the trail toward Cable Mountain and Stave Spring.

At some point we started hearing loud noises emanating from the top of a plateau near where we were hiking. We weren't quite sure what it was, but Weihaw suggested it might be rattlesnakes. We proceeded cautiously, following the trail into a rocky bowl which I felt was the perfect place for an ambush. Eventually, the trail headed away from the noises, and our fears abated.

The trail deteriorated into a series of rock stacks which marked the "trail" along the rocks. Then the climbing started again. More switchbacks, including some along a precarious drop. Until we finally reached the top, some 2000 feet higher and 4 miles later, a little over 3 hours into our hike. There are no designated campsites on the East Rim, so we stopped at the first promising site -- a flat, dirt area amongst trees, which happened to be about 20 feet from the edge of a cliff. We didn't think we'd find anything better, so we dropped our packs there and started to set up camp. A rabbit stopped nearby briefly before it disappeared just as Weihaw reached for his camera.

Weihaw and I continued on the trail toward Stave Spring to get water. A mile later, slightly uphill, we found it. The skies were darkening with clouds and a setting sun, and as we sat there filtering about a gallon and a half of water, mosquitoes constantly attacked us, pestered us, threatened to overwhelm us. But eventually we got our water and raced back down to camp.

Return to Zion/Bryce/Grand Canyon trip report.

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