Zion National Park has two major sections. The northern section is built around Kolob Canyon. It is about 20 miles north of the main entrance of the park. It is located right off the interstate and very accessible. Despite its ease of access, it is not heavily visited. This was a key attraction for us, to visit without all the crowds of Zion. It is also a very beautiful and expansive canyon with some highly rated hikes and views.
We visited twice. Once while staying at Hurricane as a day trip to explore and a second time while staying at Cedar Breaks to hike. Both times it was magnificent and cemented our thoughts on how spectacular the red rock can be. This section is basically a 5-mile road into the canyon with many trailheads and scenic turn outs.
Our first visit was a drive down the only road and walking the Timber Creek Overlook Trail. As you round a corner, suddenly the red walls of the canyon are right in front of you. It is a wow moment! We stopped at quite a few viewpoints on the drive in and checked out a trailhead for our planned hike on our second visit. The Timber Creek Overlook Trail is at the end of the road. It is about a 1-mile round trip out-and-back to a great undeveloped viewpoint.
Kolob Canyon is at a higher elevation than the main part of Zion and it was apparent at the leaves were starting to change and the color was coming on.
We capped the day off with a great wood-fired pizza in Cedar City at El Centro
We came back a second day for a specific hike. The Taylor Creek trail runs along the middle fork of Taylor creek back into a canyon with a double arch alcove. We started early on an overcast, cold (46 degrees) morning. It is about 2.7 miles to the arches. After hiking down a long series of steps we reached the creek bed and started out.
It is a wonderful trail. The creek was lined with trees all brimming with the colors of fall. The trail crosses the creek at least 45 times, if I counted it right, and stays relatively flat.
The terminus of the trail is the Double Arch Alcove. Picturesque but so large it was hard to take it in. We found a nice place to sit and have a snack and relish the quiet and beauty. There were only a few people there. Our goal at all times!
It was a special visit over two days to Kolob Canyon and all we had hoped for; quiet, few people, beautiful views and very enjoyable hikes.