JOE’S GUIDE TO ZION NATIONAL PARKCitrusMilo.com
POVERTY TRAIL

Trail Description Photos

Poverty Trail to the BarracksOverview:
Poverty Trail is a starting point that allows you to do the East Fork as a long painful day hike. "Poverty Trail" was originally an old cattle route, but now it's a 4x4 dirt road from Route 9 south into BLM land. A high-clearance vehicle can drive the first few miles of this route but should go no further than the edge of the White Cliffs. The final two miles are quite rugged with deep sand and ATV's seem to rule the land here. This is the quickest, but admittedly the least interesting route into The Barracks.

Detailed Description:
Roughly 2.8 miles east of the Zion National Park border along Route 9, Poverty Trail is a meandering dirt road that heads south into the White Cliffs above Parunuweap Canyon. In the 2000s, a fence was erected along Route 9, so please be sure to close the gate behind you as you pass. It is roughly 7.5 miles to the bottom of Parunuweap Canyon, but less than 1.5 miles from Route 9, the Poverty Wash crossover will challenge most cars. High-clearance 4WD vehicles can make it to the edge of the White Cliffs, but beyond the White Cliffs, the deep sand will stop all but ATVs and hikers. Take care with your vehicle; this remote road/trail would be a horrible place to get stranded. (Along the plateau to mile 3, there are several places to pull over and turn around.)

If traveling by foot, it would take an average hiker (like me) roughly three hours to get to the bottom of Parunuweap. If hiking out, allow much more time as the deep sand of the lower few miles makes for very slow going. There are, however, no climbing or scrambling obstacles along this route. Aside from being an alternate start to hiking Parunuweap from Mt. Carmel Junction, this route should be kept in mind as a possible emergency escape route should you need to abort a hike through Parunuweap or find a dependable way out of the canyon. For more information on hiking this area, please see my descriptions of The Barracks and Mineral Gulch.

Poverty Trail Map #1: Route 9 to the White Cliffs
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Poverty Trail Map #2: White Cliffs to Parunuweap
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Random Notes:
1) Roughly a mile from the river, a spur trail leads northwest and heads over Poverty Wash to the East Fork of Misery Canyon. 2) The 1988 edition of "Exploring the Backcountry of Zion National Park" (Brereton/Dunaway) offers a scrambling route from Poverty Trail east into the lower slots of Mineral Gulch. This would be an interesting possibility, but after scoping it out, I would consider this to be fairly treacherous for the average hiker.

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