The Connector Trail is a 4-mile stretch of trail that connects the Hop Valley Trail with the Wildcat Canyon Trail. This overgrown trail is probably the least hiked stretch of trail in Zion National Park. As the bland name would indicate, this is not a "destination hike" for day hikers, but it is useful for backpackers who are doing the Trans-Zion Trek through the park. The scenery, however, is actually quite sublime.
The "Connector Trail" is a more recently added trail that helps backpackers avoid hiking the Kolob Terrace Road between the Hop Valley Trailhead and the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead. Starting at the Hop Valley Trailhead, the mostly-level trail heads east and crosses the road to wander through the golden fields of Lee Valley. This area offers a great view of Pine Valley Peak and the West Temple far in the distance. (Note: Much of Lee Valley is a private inset of land within the park, so stick to the trail for this section.)
Soon enough, the trail starts ascending out of the valley through some interesting slickrock formations. The trail then heads past the northeastern base of Pine Valley Peak and through a beautiful dark pine forest before it finally joins up with the Wildcat Canyon Trail. Total elevation gain between the Hop Valley Trailhead and the Wildcat Canyon Trail: 500 feet. (When looking at a map, the Connector Trail appears to come close to the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead, but there is a significant elevation difference.)
NOTE ON NAVIGATION: Since this trail gets such little action, many sections of trail are quite overgrown and it is quite possible to lose the trail, especially when ascending or descending the slickrock formations near Pine Valley Peak. Rest assured that in an emergency, it would be an easy task to find an off-trail way to the Kolob Terrace Road and just hike the road to the next trailhead.
NOTE ON CAMPING: Although the Connector Trail is used primarily by backpackers, camping is not permitted along this trail or anywhere in Lee Valley.
|The Connector Trail Map.
Note: While viewing the map, click on the map to return to this page.
To get to either the Hop Valley Trailhead or the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead from Springdale, drive west to the town of Virgin, then turn north on the Kolob Terrace Road. It is roughly a 12.5-mile drive up the Kolob Terrace Road to the Hop Valley Trailhead and 3.5 miles more (16 miles total) to the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead (located after a sharp switchback in the road and a steep uphill). If planning your trip for early Spring, check conditions at the Backcountry Desk as the Kolob Terrace Road often gets closed for Winter due to snow.
Just like the Wildcat Canyon Trail, this is not a destination hike and there there is no majestic viewpoint or goal to the hike, but the scenery is still sublime. Backpackers make use of this stretch of trail, but I wouldn't really recommend it to those looking for a spectacular dayhike.