East Rim Trail

  • Difficulty
  • 9.7km
  • 178m
  • 1.25-1.5h

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Exploring the rolling hills east of the main canyon, the East Rim Trail yields stunning views at a low physical cost. Continue along the trail as long as you like and bask in the sandstones domes, cliffs, and canyons.

Getting there

From Springdale enter the park and continue along Utah 9 East. Do not turn left into Zion Canyon. You will go through the famous Zion – Mount Carmel Tunnel, the longest vehicle tunnel in the park system. Follow this road until just before you reach the East Entrance, turning left towards the ambiguous “trailhead” sign. If you coming from the East Entrance, enter the park and almost immediately turn right towards the ambiguous “trailhead” sign. Follow this road past “Private Residence” signs and find the small dirt parking lot at its end.


Total Gain: 178m


Type of Hike Out and Back
Crowd Levels Low to Moderate
Route Signage Excellent
Toilets At East Entrance near trailhead
Family Friendly Yes
Backcountry Campgrounds Yes, see visitors centre
When to Do Spring and Fall, avoid summer heat

 Detailed Description

Start along the wide, mostly flat trail as it begins from the far side of the parking lot. You will start to slowly gain elevation as the trail winds along the width of the wide canyon. Soon the trail will start to veer right slightly and the grade will increase.

As you enter the canyon you will distance yourself from Clear Creek running bellow you. Ponderosa Pine’s litter most of your surroundings you continue along the trail. Just over halfway through the hike you will switchback to the left and continue to climb. Next you will crest a small ridge, contour around and start to descend slightly.

Seemingly out of nowhere you will find yourself beside a gurgling creek. If you proceed to the edge of the cliff you will see the impressive Jolly Gulch. This extremely steep, deep and narrow canyon drops away from your feet and there is no handrail guarding you from going right up to the edge. The Jolly Gulch Creek runs right off the edge, creating a seasonal waterfall!

For most, the Gulch is a fantastic turnaround point, however you can continue along the trail for as long as you wish. From the vantage point at the end of the hike you’ll be able to see all the way across the valley towards Chalkboard Mesa, as well as the plethora of other unnamed mountains and domes. The grey and red slick rock is truly stunning, and the ambiance of the large trees is calming and secluded.

Insider Hints

  • Another great turnaround point is Stave Springs, 5 miles from the beginning of the trail. This would be a grade 3 hike.