|LOWER PINE CREEK|
|ROUTE INFORMATION||VIEW PHOTOS!|
Just past the Canyon Junction on Route 9 is the impressive canyon of Lower Pine Creek, marked by the Great Arch in the distance. Although you can't see it too easily from the road, Lower Pine Creek does have a fair amount of flowing water. A pair of short hikes from the first and second switchbacks can take you to a cute little waterfall and also several fun swimming holes.
Lower Pine Creek Falls:
Driving east past the Canyon Junction on Route 9, you can pull over at the first switchback that the road makes (on its way up to the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel), right by the bridge over the creek. (Or if you are without car, walk the quarter mile from the shuttle stop.) Follow a well-worn trail east and wander into lower Pine Creek for about half a mile. With a bit of wading and boulder-scrambling, the short route ends at the beautiful little Lower Pine Creek Falls -- a 10-foot tall waterfall with a knee to waist-deep pool below it.
Pine Creek Swimming Holes:
Parking at the second switchback, look east over the guard wall and follow a well-maintained path down to the streambed. The path down is steep but not too difficult. The Pine Creek watercourse is strewn with many large boulders which have created many little alcoves, waterfalls, and pools -- fun for hanging out in the water.
As a more strenuous option, you can hike up Lower Pine Creek well past the Great Arch. Less than a mile up the canyon, you will reach "the grotto" -- an alcove that marks the end of the slot canyon section. (You won't be able to go into the slot as it is far above.) Hiking up to this part of the canyon involves a lot of rock-scrambling and navigation around all of the large boulders; this part of the canyon isn't family-friendly like the Lower Pine Creek Falls section.
IMPORTANT! When approaching either section of this canyon, please stay on the well-worn trails to avoid trampling plant life and causing more erosion. In 2005, the National Park Service did a cleanup of the second switchback to eliminate the spaghetti mess of multiple trails-of-use. Please respect any "do not hike here" signposts and minimize your impact on the area.
Lower Pine Creek is a great place to venture on a hot sunny afternoon. Most people may prefer the more accessible Virgin River as their watering hole, but if you're willing to do a bit of hiking and exploring, wandering through Lower Pine Creek is a joy!