A Remote Vista.
In 1899, Zion pioneer David Flanigan began constructing his teenage dream: a cableworks to transport timber from the plateau above Zion Canyon to the valley below. The timber tram began working in 1901, providing most of the quality lumber used to build acccommodations in Zion National Park and the ranches further down canyon. When the Park Service removed the 3,300-foot cable in 1930, they left the cableworks structure in place atop the mountain, and it remains there today for our entertainment.
Cable Mountain looms high above the Weeping Rock trailhead, and tourists can see the historic cableworks structure from the Scenic drive. Visiting the actual cableworks, and the stellar viewpoint where it sits, can be a fun, remote hiking adventure for anyone looking for solitude in Zion. There are three distinct ways to hike to Cable Mountain:
- Hike up from Weeping Rock
- Hike from the East Rim Trailhead/East Entrance
- Hike from the Cable Mountain Trailhead on Zion Ponderosa Ranch
Each approach varies in distance and accessibility. You may also hike Cable Mountain as a backpack trip from these trailheads, perhaps exploring Deertrap Mountain and Observation Point along the way.
Moderately strenuous to strenuous
5 hours to 2-3 day backpack, depending on route
Spring, summer, or fall
From Weeping Rock: 15.5 miles
From the East Entrance: 17.5 miles
From Zion Ponderosa: 7.5 miles
From Weeping Rock: 2,100 feet
From East Entrance: 1,000 feet on trail, loses 2,000 feet total
From Zion Ponderosa: 300 feet
Multiple routes. Weeping Rock start does not require a car spot, but routes starting on the east side of the Park require a car spot or shuttle service.
Most of the hike is in the full sun
Only if camping overnight
Sturdy hiking shoes, ample water, and food for a full-day hike.
Water is sometimes available to purify at Stave Spring, but the water source is not always reliable. Check at the Wilderness Desk for recent reports.
The trail from the East Rim Trailhead to Echo Canyon is mostly "open camping." There are no established campsites, but please practice Leave No Trace and follow Zion wilderness regulations when choosing a site. A permit IS required if camping along the East Rim.
Long trail with elevation loss. If hiking from Weeping Rock, the route is VERY strenuous.
SPRING: Some snow and icepack can stick around on the trail and in shady canyons until late spring. Flowers are very beautiful along this trail in spring.
SUMMER: HOT! Leave early to avoid the heat and be aware the hike is in full sun.
FALL: Generally a great time to hike this trail. Great fall photography and temperatures.
WINTER: Possible snowpack and ice make the trail hard to access and hard to follow. Use caution and check current conditions at the Zion Wilderness Desk.
TO THE EAST RIM TRAILHEAD:
From Springdale, drive East on Hwy 9 through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Continue heading east after the tunnel. Just before the East Entrance Station, turn left onto a narrow road to a dirt parking lot and trailhead. You can spot a car here, or use a local shuttle service to drop you off for a one-way hike.
TO THE ZION PONDEROSA CABLE MOUNTAIN TRAILHEAD:
Head out the East Entrance and take a left turn on the North Fork Road. There will be signs for "Zion Ponderosa." At the Zion Ponderosa Resort, take a left into the main entrance, then stay straight, along a road that bypasses the main buildings. You will see signs directing you toward the Cable Mountain Trailhead. Follow these while observing the Resort speed limits along the way. NOTE: The end of this road is sometimes rough and requires high-clearance. Also, if roads are snowy or wet, the trailhead is probably inaccessible. From Springdale, drive east on Hwy 9 and through the Tunnel.
From Weeping Rock Trailhead:
Start heading up! The trail steeply climbs and switchbacks up the side of the main canyon. At the trail junction above Echo Canyon, choose the East Rim Trail, which forks to the east (right) toward Cable Mountain, Deertrap Mountai, and the East Entrance. The first leg of the trail after the junction is a bit rugged and ill-defined. Follow cairns over the slickrock sections and a series of sandy switchbacks. Once atop of the plateau, the trail is more defined and flatter, heading toward Cable Mountain. Take the Cable Mountain spur trail (marked with a metal sign) off the East Rim trail to Cable Mountain.
From the East Entrance/East Rim Trailhead:
This is much more moderate hiking option, with less elevation gain. From the trailhead, head across the sandy, well-defined trail. After about 6 miles of hiking, you will reach the spur trail to Cable and Deertrap Mountains. The Cable Mountain trails spurs off this trail.
From the Zion Ponderosa Cable Mountain Trailhead:
This hike begins in the high Ponderosa forest and follows a double track trail that connects with the East Rim Trail. Take a left to follow the East Rim to the spur trail (marked with metal signs) to the Cable Mountain Trail.