Ponderosa pines along Northgate Peaks Trail. Photo: National Park Service
Pines and Peaks.The Northgate Peaks Trail is a fun, easy hiking path high in the heart of Zion. For many, Northgate Peaks is a place to get away from the crowds and simply relax in the cooler, higher climes of the Park, surrounded by a very different kind of landscape from Zion Canyon. The trail weaves through tall Ponderosa pine groves throughout its length, and tall, white, monolithic peaks are scattered throughout this region of the Kolob Terrace. The trail ends on a craggy knob of volcanic rock, with views of slickrock, sandstone towers, and big sky all around. It takes about an hour to get here from Springdale, but it's always worth the drive.
This hike is located in Zion's Kolob Terrace Road area. From Springdale, drive south 13.5 miles on Highway 9 toward Virgin. The Kolob Terrace Road is on the right side as you enter Virgin, and has a brown recreation sign with "Kolob Reservoir" listed. As you climb up the steep, paved road, you'll find great views of Smith Mesa, Cave Valley and the Pine Valley Mountains. You'll cross in and out of the park several times (the road changes colors when you do so).
The road makes a hairpin right turn at the bottom of Maloney Hill. (Note: This is the end of plowed roadway in winter.) At the top of the hill, you'll find the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead, 15.5 miles up the Kolob Terrace Road. Pit toilets are available in the parking lot.The peak directly in front of the overlook looks like a huge dragon's head.
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