Developing 11.29 Miles of New Trail
Fifteen world-famous trails are packed into a six-mile stretch of Zion Canyon. With a 66% increase in visitation in the last eight years, the strain on popular hiking trails such as the Narrows, Angels Landing, and Emerald Pools has dramatically increased. Looking for a solution to this growing concern, a visionary collective of stakeholders including Forever Project Partners, Zion Mountain Ranch, Kane County, the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, and the Kanab BLM Field Office are joining forces with Zion National Park to develop a new trail network on Zion’s east side.
With 11.29 miles of trail planned in a three-year phased approach, these new trails will increase access to non-remote hiking experiences and disperse recreation on the east side of the park.
The 3.81 mile Big Loop Trail will provide a full-day, challenging climb to the top of a mesa offering views of the protected Virgin River-East Fork canyon network. Park Overlook Trail will be an easy two-mile hike to a natural overlook, offering opportunities for families with young children or guests with physical limitations to experience natural beauty. With a memory-making view of Zion’s expansive sandstone, the Checkerboard Mesa Overlook will meander 1.57 miles and share a panoramic convergence of two desert canyons. And an exciting 4.1 mile Mountain Bike trail network will be constructed; a resource long-hoped for in East Zion.
“The multi-use non-motorized trails provide an alternative for visitors to experience Zion without additional strain on the park service,” explains Kane County Commissioner Brent Chamberlain.
The creation of a new recreational opportunity was foundationally supported by a grant from the Utah Office of Recreation, with match support from Kane County, Zion Mountain Ranch, and the Zion Forever Project. With Phase I funding secured, construction of the Trailhead and first mile of Park Overlook will begin in Fall 2019.