Julie United States 12 Comments

The hike to Hidden Canyon blew away our expectations. This hike is tons of fun, with trails that cling to the side of a cliff and a scenic canyon to explore.

Sections of this hike are similar to Angels Landing, with vertigo-inducing trails that come with chains to help you keep your balance. This trail does not climb as high or have the views like Angels Landing, but Hidden Canyon also gets fewer visitors, which makes for pleasant, less crowded experience.

Tim and I almost skipped this hike because it seemed to be lacking the views that many other trails in Zion have. We added it at the last minute, and I am so glad we did. Hidden Canyon is unexpectedly amazing.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Hidden Canyon trail is currently closed due to damage from a rockfall. Get updates on trail status on the Zion National Park website. This post was originally written in 2017 (before the rockfall) and it is updated on a regular basis. 

Hiking Stats

Distance: 2.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 940 ft
Difficulty: moderate
Length of Time: 2 to 3 hours
When to go: Year round as long as the trail is free of snow and ice. The best seasons are Spring and Fall.
Trailhead: Weeping Rock (stop #7 on the Zion Shuttle)
Important Note: There are long drop-offs as you hike along the face of a cliff. If you have a fear of heights, you may want to skip this hike.

Hidden Canyon Elevation Profile

Hidden Canyon elevation profile

Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, minimize campfire impacts, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

Hiking to Hidden Canyon

The hike starts at the Weeping Rock Trailhead. Almost immediately, the trail to Weeping Rock breaks off to the left. Continue straight, following the signs for Hidden Canyon, Observation Point, and the East Rim Trail.

The first part of the hike involves a long, somewhat strenuous climb on long switchbacks. At ¾ of a mile, the trail splits. Go right to continue on to Hidden Canyon. If you turn left, you will hike to Observation Point. This is another awesome hike and you have the option to do both of these hikes on the same day. We hiked Hidden Canyon first and then continued up the mountain to Observation Point.

East Rim Trail

This is the split on the trail. Tim is walking up towards Hidden Canyon. If you continue off the left side of the photo, the trail takes you to Observation Point.


View of the Trail

Here is another view of the trail (photo taken on the hike to Observation Point). The series of short switchbacks leads to Hidden Canyon. If you look closely, you can see the narrow trail cut out of the cliff just above the last switchback.

Once you turn right, the switchbacks become steeper and shorter. This part doesn’t last long.

The trail briefly heads into a small tree-filled canyon. After climbing up a stone staircase, the real fun begins.

Julie Hiking

Hidden Canyon Stairs


For us, the highlight of the Hidden Canyon hike was scaling the narrow trail on the edge of the cliff. It’s thrilling and the views from here are amazing.

Tim on the Trail

Hike Hidden Canyon

Tim Rivenbark

Hidden Canyon Chains

Inside Hidden Canyon

After the vertiginous cliff trail you will enter Hidden Canyon. This section of the hike stretches into the canyon for about a mile. You can hike as far as you like and then turn around.

On the steps

Hiking through Hidden Canyon

Hidden Canyon

Hike Hidden Canyon

There are several spots where rock scrambling is necessary. Trees have fallen across the trail, creating obstacles. We kind of felt like kids again, exploring this shady, quiet canyon, climbing over and under huge trees and rocks. What made our experience even better was that we had the canyon to ourselves. Tim and I were on the first shuttle of the day and we wasted no time hiking to Hidden Canyon.

In Hidden Canyon

Hidden Canyon Obstacle


Venture back into Hidden Canyon as far as you want. The trail does eventually come to an end at a large rock wall. To continue on, you will need canyoneering and rock climbing experience.

Return back the same way you came. You have the option to continue on to Observation Point, another brilliant hike in Zion.

How to Have the Best Experience

Take the First Shuttle of the Day

To avoid the crowds and the midday heat, you should start this hike early. If you can get on the first shuttle of the day, you may have this trail all to yourself, at least for a little bit.

Consider Adding the Hike to Observation Point

Observation Point is a classic Zion hike, ending at a viewpoint high above the valley. From this spot, you can look out over Zion National Park, with a view down to Angels Landing. It’s a gorgeous hike and offers one of the best views of the park.

Observation Point

Hidden Canyon and Observation Point share the same trail for ¾ of a mile (and 500 feet of climbing). If you continue on to Observation Point, you have just 3.25 miles of hiking until you reach the final viewpoint. It’s a strenuous hike but it rewards you for your efforts.

Hidden Canyon Observation Point

Elevation profile of Hidden Canyon and Observation Point

Consider the Hike to Weeping Rock

Weeping Rock is a large, sandstone rock that drips water and is surrounded by a lush garden. This short, fast hike also starts at the Weeping Rock shuttle stop.

What to Bring on the Hike

Hiking Shoes. Hiking shoes are preferable, however, running shoes with good support and good traction are sufficient.

Water. Bring plenty of water, especially if you will be hiking midday or during the warmer months.

Sunscreen. There is very little shade on the trail.

Hiking poles (optional). Hiking poles are my new favorite hiking gadget and I highly recommend them. They take about 30% of the weight off of your legs as you descend, easing knee pain and other symptoms. I use Black Diamond Distance Z poles and love them. They easily collapse down to fit in your luggage and hiking backpack, plus they are extremely lightweight. The poles come in several sizes, so make sure you pick the right length based on your height.

If you are new to hiking or are curious about what you should bring on a hike, check out our Hiking Gear Guide. Find out what we carry in our day packs and what we wear on the trails.

If you have any questions about hiking to Hidden Canyon, or if you want to share your experience, comment below.

More Information about Zion:

United States Travel Guide

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Hidden Canyon Zion National Park


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Comments 12

  1. Avatar for Kathi
  2. Avatar for Randy Nail
    Randy Nail

    Randy N. 05/26/21. For those who have not had the opportunity to hike Hidden Canyon Trail, I’m sorry for you inability. Great hike wonderful photo ops. Stay in touch with Zion Rangers to learn of improvements. But don’t miss the Observation Point Trail, definitely worth the effort.

    1. Avatar for Steve Woodford
      Steve Woodford

      Trail been closed for over a year because of massive rockslide. Observation Point Trail is accessible only from the East entrance trail or from the Ponderosa Ranch trail.

  3. Avatar for Troy

    This trail is toast and will likely never be reopened. Zion is making no efforts to reclaim the trail at the moment and if you saw the landslide you’d know why.

    Closest equivalent to this hike now is Stave springs to Observation point. It uses the old ccc trail up the mesa and comes in just above the hidden canyon trail ascent. If you’re not an avid hiker, probably avoid.

  4. Avatar for Bill
    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      I wrote this post years before the canyon closed. In the meantime, I am keeping this post updated, in hopes that it will be reopening soon. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Rendall Miner Seely
        Rendall Miner Seely

        The Hidden Canyon trail is not opening anytime soon. I spoke with a ranger in the park and they said that it could be several years before the trail reopens. When the Middle Emerald Pools trail closed due to a landslide in 2010, it took the park ten years to raise the money and compete the assessments needed to open the trail.

        1. Avatar for Julie Post
      2. Avatar for Flint

        Doesn’t look like this trail will be open for years. According to the geologist that works in the park he told me there are two huge boulders hanging over the ledge that they cannot get down. I replied to him why not dynamite and he told me that is the last option. They want nature to take its course which could take thousands of years.

    2. Avatar for Flint
  5. Avatar for Trevor Price
    Trevor Price

    Hi- Did you hike Hidden Canyon on June 2 2020 or thereabouts? I thought it was closed but has it reopened?


    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Trevor. Hidden Canyon is closed long term due to a rockfall and it is not anticipated that it will reopen anytime soon. Cheers, Julie

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