Follow the Creek.
Coalpits Wash offers solitude, riverside hiking, and great natural history opportunities for off-season visitors. Like the Chinle Trail, Coalpits Wash is NOT a popular summertime hike, since temperatures along this trail are typically 85 - 115 degrees from 9 AM to 8 PM. Instead, enjoy Coalpits October thru April, taking advantage of its sunny exposure when other parts of Zion are chilly.
Spring blooms earliest at lower elevations, making this Lowland Desert area prime territory for wildflowers in March, April, and May. Since the trail roughly follows the creekbed, you'll find lots of flowers taking advantage of the (relatively) abundant water supply. After the summer scorches things here, October brings milder, enjoyable temperatures, along with yellowing cottonwoods along the creek. While winter rains often bring mud to Coalpits Wash, the mud makes for great animal tracking, allowing an indirect glimpse of the coyote, deer, ringtail cats, and mountain lions that winter in this quiet region of the Park.
Easy to moderate
1.5 to 10 hours, depending on how far you want to explore
October through April
2.8 miles (4.6 km), roundtrip to the Chinle Trail Junction, 16 miles (25.7 km) roundtrip to the head of Coalpits Wash and back
500-1000 feet (160-320 m); the trail is steadily uphill
Coalpits Wash Trailhead, located between Rockville and Virgin
Most of the hike is in the full sun
Only if camping overnight
Sturdy hiking shoes, ample water, and food for a full day of hiking.
Water is available at Coalpits Spring, which is 0.2 miles past the Coalpits Trail Junction. If day hiking, bring plenty of water.
There are no designated campsites along the Chinle or Coalpits Wash trails, so camping is open. Please follow Leave No Trace practices and stay well way from the trail.
Long trail can be a big time commitment, especially during the HOT summer season. Watch out for rattlesnakes along the trail.
SPRING - Generally a great time to hike this trail. Great vistas of the surrounding desert and fantastic wildflowers if you visit when the blooms explode. Can be really muddy, depending on winter snow and recent precipitation.
SUMMER - HOT! Hike is in full sun and not recommended in hot weather. If hiking the trail, leave early (5 AM is reasonable) to avoid the heat of the day.
FALL - Another great time to hike this trail, with nice fall color and great solitude.
WINTER - Possible snowpack and ice, or mud from recent rains. The mud is great for animal tracking!
From the trailhead, follow the trail carefully through the neighborhoods. Please stay on the trail to preserve relationships with private property owners. The trail winds through the subdivision and eventually ends up at the gated Park Boundary. A hikers gate provides entry and now you are within the National Park.
The trail weaves through some low forest and gives stunning views of surrounding desert and cliffs and towers in Zion's southern end. The desert lowlands are particularly rich in cryptobiotic soil, so please stick to the well-worn trail to protect the fragile living soil. There used to be great quanities of petrified wood in this part of the Park, but rampant theft has made is less common. Please enjoy any petrified wood you find, but leave it where you find it for others to discover and appreciate.
Huber Wash Day Hike
After about 3.2 miles, the trail reaches Huber Wash, which flows south toward the Virgin River. If day hiking, this is a great turn-around point.
Closer to 5 miles from the trailhead, Scoggins Wash is seen next to the trail. The trail rounds the head (beginning) of the wash. About a 1.25 miles after first seeing Scoggins Wash, an old stock trail steeply descends into the Wash. At the intersection, take the trail right, leading to Coalpits Wash. Continue down the wash 1.3 miles to the Coalpits Trail Junction with the Chinle.
The Chinle Trail ends at Coalpits Wash. Campsites are located about 50 yards from the junction. There is often water running through the wash, which can be filtered for drinking water. The Coalpits Spring is located about 0.2 miles from the Junction, on the right backside.
Hiking down Coalpits is very enjoyable and sticks to the wash. The Coalpits trailhead is only about 3.2 miles from the junction with the Chinle. Because of the short hike out, it's often interesting to explore UP the Coalpits Wash before packing up camp and heading out to the trailhead.