East Rim Trail

Zion National Park, Utah 84767

Elevation Gain4,151ft
Trailhead Elevation4,365ft
Elevation Min/Max4365/6456ft
Elevation Start/End4365/4365ft

East Rim Trail

East Rim Trail is a hiking and horse trail in Washington County, Utah. It is within Zion National Park. It is 4.3 miles long and begins at 4,365 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,151 feet. Near the trailhead there are a meadow, restrooms, parking, and a wood. Weeping Rock and another meadow can be seen along the trail. There are also a wetland and cliffs along the trail. This trail connects with the following: East Mesa Trail, Stave Spring Trail, Weeping Rock and Hidden Canyon.

East Rim Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks (Falcon Guides)
Erik Molvar & Tamara Martin
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"A day hike or short backpack from Zion’s East Entrance over a high plateau to intersect the Observation Point Trail. Hikers can complete the East Rim Trail in a long day, or undertake it as a backpack with an overnight stay atop the plateau or in the upper reaches of Echo Canyon. The trail starts in the arid slickrock country near the East Entrance and then climbs atop a wooded plateau for some excellent views before wandering away from the rim. Spectacular scenery accompanies the trail during its descent through Echo Canyon."
Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails (Rincon Publishing)
David Day
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"Zion National Park is probably the best all around hiking area in the state of Utah. The trails here are very popular, so if it is solitude you are looking for this is the wrong place. But you will certainly find plenty of breathtaking scenery and interesting geological formations. The East Rim Trail, especially when walked in the direction suggested here, is a very pleasant way to sample what Zion has to offer. Very little climbing is required, the temperatures are not extreme, and the scenery just keeps getting better and better all the way to the end."

East Rim Trail Trip Reports

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This trail, without any sidetrips, is exactly 11.38 miles from the East Rim Parking area to Weeping Rock and the bus stop.

The hike has a little elevation gain, but nothing extremely strenuous. The first part follows an old road bed that is now mostly sand. The footing is slow for about a mile and a half before it solidifies.

You experience great interior canyon views, but after about five miles, the trail nears the edge of a gorge which is spectacular. It then follows Echo Canyon, which also has spectacular views. It then drops into Echo Canyon. The initial descent is very steep, and it's mostly downhill the rest of the way before hitting the junction to Observation Point.

Shortly after the turnoff to Observation point, the trail descends along a steep slot canyon. Eventually you'll come to the base of it and can turn left and enter the canyon for a short ways. It is Spectacular! Definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
(see photo)

The remainder of the trip is downhill on a paved but steep path. A long hike, but other than the distance, not particularly challenging. Great views throughout with quite a bit of diversity.
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The first few miles of the hike are on an old wagon road which offers views of checkerboard mesa as you wind your way up. This is nice but what follows on this trail is way better. If you are looking for a longer hike than spelled out by the trail guide, then take the side trip to Cable Mountain, an extra 6 miles round trip. Going out to cable mountain first allows you to see some sections of the hike that are to come but distance obscures what you will actually experience when you get to the later parts of the trail. From cable mountain, you are literally looking down on the famous Angels Landing. It's a great stop. The final miles of the trail are lots of fun and the diversity of what you see is great. As with the West Rim trail, your final mile or so is on a heavily used tourist "trail." If you can handle it, I recommend you do the West Rim Trail the day before you do the East Rim Trail and that will give you a great idea of what it is like to approach Zion Canyon from either direction. October might be one of the best times to hike these trails because temperatures and sun can ne manageable.

These are point to point hikes so if you don't have 2 cars, arrange for a private shuttle to take you to the trailhead and then take the national park bus from the end of the trail back to the visitor center where you can easily jump on the free Springdale shuttle to get back to your hotel or car. We have used Zion Adventure Company for the shuttle and they were great. We met the van at Zion Adventure Company in Springdale (leaving our car in front of the place). Later in the day the Sprindale bus dropped us a block away from the place.
I recommend taking the 6:30AM van to the trail heads. You will be the only people or part of only a few who are out on these trails that early and if its a hot day, you can avoid some of the heat.
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This is a very interesting hike thata covers most of the different topographies of southern Utah. The trail begins just a few yards west of the east portal to Zion National Park. This first mile or so is along an old mining/forest trail. The trail then follows a creek bed and slowly climbs to the top of the plateau that is above the Zion canyon area. The first 6-7 miles of the hike is pretty easy going with mostly level pine tree alpine or open meadow area. Then the going gets extremely rough for the next 1-2 miles until you join the Observation Point trail. The trail is all downhill from here, through Echo Canyon and down the switchbacks to the Observation Point/Weeping Wall trailhead.
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The Hidden Canyon Trail was fantastic. It is not for anyone affraid of heights. The views are sensational. There are some parts of the trail that have narrow passages and chains are provided to hold on to in order for avoid falls. I would like to return to Utah some day.

East Rim Trail Photos

Trail Information

Zion National Park
Nearby City
Zion National Park
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Zion National Park
Local Contacts
Temple of Sinawava (USGS), Clear Creek Mountain (USGS), Springdale East (USGS), The Barracks (USGS)
Local Maps

Trail Log