Hiking Information View Photos

a lovely section of Clear Creek away from Route 9 (Zion National Park) -- © 2006 Joe Braun Photography

Explore the Belly of the East Canyon:

There aren't too many official trails in the upper East Canyon, but who says you can't wander around and do your own exploring? Clear Creek is the main dry streambed that follows Route 9 throughout the East Canyon. If you can ignore the occasional sounds of motorcycles and RV's coming from above, this is really quite a beautiful canyon to explore. Many sections actually do loop away from the road, so you can get that sense of being away from it all in only a few minutes.

Hiking in Clear Creek:

This is one of the few hikes that I have written about that doesn't have a real starting point or a destination to reach. Clear Creek runs throughout the upper East Canyon alongside the Route 9 road; it is hikable from the Canyon Overlook Trail parking lot all the way to the east entrance of the park, although the most interesting part of this canyon is probably the stretch between the two tunnels.

a dark section of Clear Creek (Zion National Park) -- © 2006 Joe Braun Photography

There are several easy entry points into Clear Creek at just about every pull-off along Route 9. Find a spot that looks interesting (and reasonable as an entry point) and start hiking! (There are more spots east of the second tunnel that allow very easy access.) The hiking in Clear Creek is usually dry and relatively easy with sections of sand alternating sections of rocks. Many side washes provide opportunity for further exploration as well. Always make note of your entry point so you can easily find your way back to your car.

One good spot to start is just to the west of the second little tunnel. Hike down the hill and through a little side wash to join up with Clear Creek. Hike either up or down the wash as you wish. Another possible starting point is the Canyon Overlook Trail parking lot. If you can manage to find a parking spot in or close to the parking lot, walk to the bridge in front of the tunnel and hike/scramble down the cement ramp down into the wash and hike upstream. Just upstream is the most striking dark slot section of Clear Creek, but unfortunately, there are often unpleasant stagnant pools here that may block access. Warning: Do not hike downstream from this parking lot as this is the start of the Pine Creek technical canyoneering route and is not suitable for hikers. (Note: This part of the drainage is officially known as Pine Creek.)

IMPORTANT! On any approach down to Clear Creek, please stay on the well-worn trails or slickrock to avoid trampling plant life or cryptobiotic soil. Please respect any "do not hike here" signposts and minimize your impact on the area. Also note that Clear Creek is the catch basin for the entire Upper East Canyon, so in the event of a rainstorm, get out of the drainage and seek high ground.

Joe's Spin:

Clear Creek is the perfect opportunity for anybody to take a little stroll that is as short or as long as you wish. It's quite easy for many non-hikers to experience the joy of canyon hiking without wandering too far from the car.

VIEW THE PHOTOGRAPHS! Return to the Upper East Canyon

Clear Creek Topo Map

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