JOE’S GUIDE TO ZION NATIONAL PARKCitrusMilo.com
HIKES IN THE DESERT LOWLANDS

Southwest of Springdale and north of Route 9 is the hottest, driest section of Zion National Park and is overlooked by most visitors as they drive to and from the main canyon. At a lower elevation than any other part of the park, the desert section's beauty is more subtle and is pleasant only in the cooler months, but several washes are worthy of exploration up into this lonely area of the park. Beyond Zion National Park proper and south of Rockville in BLM land, routes to the Eagle Crags formations and Canaan Mountain offer wonderfully isolated hiking and backpacking possibilities.

CHINLE TRAILChinle Trail, Zion National Park
Rating: fairly strenuous dayhike or backpacking. backpacking route

While there are many hiking possibilities in the "desert section" of Zion National Park, the Chinle Trail is the one official trail of the area. Starting in the "Anasazi Plateau" residential development, the trail heads northwest up onto the Rockville Bench and into national park lands. The trail continues for roughly seven miles, crossing over a petrified forest and several washes of the area: Huber Wash, Scoggins Wash, and Coalpits Wash. The trail can be brutally hot during the summer and the scenery is less exhilarating than most other parts of Zion, but this trail is an opportunity to get away from the crowds.
Trail Information  Photos

HUBER WASHHuber Wash
Rating: moderately strenuous day hike.

Huber Wash is one of the major drainages in Zion's southern desert section. This wash is usually dry and at roughly two miles in length between Route 9 and the Chinle Trail, it makes for a fairly easy half-day hike. As with all hikes in the desert section, it could be brutally hot during the summer and should be saved for the cooler months. For those with a little scrambling experience, Huber Wash can be used as an alternate start to the Chinle Trail.
Route Information  Photos

COALPITS WASHCoalpits Wash
Rating: moderately strenuous backpacking. backpacking route

Coalpits Wash is the major drainage in the southern desert section of Zion National Park. As you drive Route 9 from La Verkin to Springdale, you may pass right over the drainage and not give it a second thought. From the road, Coalpits Wash may appear to be a barren and uninteresting drainage, but if you're looking for a long day hike or a mild backpacking adventure, you can hike up Coalpits Wash for roughly nine miles of sublime and lonely scenery to surround yourself with the great Zion formations.
Route Information  Photos

SCOGGINS WASHScoggins Wash, Zion National Park
Rating: moderately strenuous day hike.

Scoggins Wash is a short tributary of the larger Coalpits Wash and provides extra territory to explore for those hiking the Chinle Trail. There is usually a small flow of water in the upper sections of this barren-looking wash and while this isn't a destination hike, many will find a hike through this drainage to be an interesting experience. Combine this with the Chinle Trail or Coalpits Wash to make a good day hike.
Route Information  Photos

CRATER HILL to COALPITS WASHCrater Hill to Coalpits Wash
Rating: moderately strenuous day hike.

Yet another alternative start to exploring the desert section is via the high-clearance Dalton Wash Road west of Coalpits Wash. The trailhead is located at the western park boundary just north of Crater Hill and provides somewhat easier access to Upper Coalpits Wash. As the landscape is hot and desolate, this option would not be appealing during the hotter months. The faint trail heads east and joins up with Coalpits Wash at the official end of the Chinle Trail.
Route Information  Photos

JOE'S BEST OF THE DESERT HIKEJoe's Best of the Desert Hike
Rating: fairly strenuous dayhike.

Have you ever wanted to hike the Chinle Trail, Huber Wash, Scoggins Wash, and Coalpits Wash all in one day but you didn't think it was possible? Don't you wish you could do a loop hike that doesn't involve backtracking over scenery that you have already seen? Are you tired of dishwasher spots on your glasses? Well, your problems have just been solved because this narcissistically named hiking route is just what you have been looking for!
Route Information  Photos

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Hiking symbols used for descriptions:
a Zion classic ZION CLASSIC: a must-do hike if you want to see the best of Zion!
family-friendly FAMILY-FRIENDLY: a good choice for those with children who like to hike.
backpacking route BACKPACKING: a route enjoyable as a multi-day hike.
technical canyoneering or climbing route TECHNICAL: canyoneering or scrambling route requiring technical gear and climbing and/or rappelling experience. Not suitable for casual hikers.
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