In contention with Angels Landing as the best view in Zion (and much less daunting for those with vertigo) is the 8-mile (round-trip) trek to 6,508-foot Observation Point. It’ll take you all the way to the top of Zion’s east rim for an exceptionally rewarding view. But first, get ready for 2,150 feet of climbing—nearly 4 miles of up, and up, and up. Make it an early start (the trail is exposed in parts and afternoon heat can make it unpleasant). A nice bonus is you’ll find far fewer people on this trail than other popular ones (ahem, Angels Landing), plus there’s a slot canyon to explore. You’ll be in the refreshing shade for the first part of the hike, zigzagging for a mile up the canyon via long switchbacks. Then you’ll enter massive Echo Canyon, a stunning side canyon that rises 1,000 feet. Enjoy the cooler clime here, as the shade becomes sparse on the latter part of the trail. It’s a steady ascent through the white and orange cliffs to the mesa top. The trail is mostly flat for the final half-mile, weaving through a piñon and juniper forest to Observation Point. Whoa—what a vista! From up here, you’ll not only be looking down on Angels Landing, you’ll also be gaining a wide-open perspective of Zion, sprawled out in front of you like an undiscovered kingdom of untamed—and utterly breathtaking—wilderness.
STAY & EAT: Zion Lodge is the only in-park accommodation. It’s pure rustic flirtation, with a café and restaurant (al fresco dining on the patio here is beautiful), historic cabins, and regular rooms with private porches, several of which offer gorgeous views of red-rock cliffs. Camping is also available. Watchman Campground books up fast in summer: reservations (877) 444-6777. South Campground is first-come, first served. Call Visitor Information for more details: (435) 772-3256. Immediately outside the park is charming Springdale, offering a wealth of options for hotels, motels, B&Bs, and meals. Book ahead!
The trailhead for Observation Point is at the Weeping Rock shuttle stop. Follow the 4-mile trail up and return the way you came. No dogs.