A Subterranean Wonderland. Echo is a large canyon complex that drops into the main Zion canyon at Weeping Rock. The middle part of Echo ("Middle Echo") offers an amazing canyoneering adventure. A couple of short rappels and some very chilly swims access a long section of narrows deep underground. Due to its large watershed, the pools are often full of water, and they maintain their coldness long into the summer. At times, the pools fill with decaying vegetable matter and smell like poo. Canyoneers sometimes wonder if they will pass out from the smell before making it through the pools.
Echo collects a lot of snow and ice over the winter, and should be avoided through the spring. It often stays impassable into June, and the snow blockage occurs after the rappels! In the last couple of years, groups have been rescued so the Park often closes the canyon in the spring until the melt out has completed. Check with the Wilderness Desk for current conditions.
One can assure passage in Middle Echo by hiking up from the bottom to the bottom of the last rappel, finding out if such a hike is possible. BEFORE the meltout, it can be possible to climb over the frozen snow and ice, but once flow starts it tends to carve out underneath, creating a hazard way too dangerous for rational human passage.
The Echo Canyon Trail is the oldest trail out of Zion Canyon. In the late 1890's, Utah pioneer John Winder reworked the existing Paiute foot trail to drive cattle up to the rim. The trail was improved and the Observation Point Trail cut into the side of the mountain in 1925.