Although not in the National Park, the Eagle Crags dominate the desert landscape south of Zion and Rockville. The craggy southern spires are located in the BLM land adjacent to the park, a rock peninsula extending north from the large Canaan Mountain complex. Difficult to access and unknown to the tourist crowd, Eagle Crags is great destination to escape the Park crowds and see gains some unique views into Zion.
Since the Eagle Crags area falls under BLM jurisdiction, it's legal to hike here with a canine friend or two. In addition, you do not need a permit to backpack into this area for an overnight, so this can be a good opportunity for anyone shut out by the Park's permit system. Enjoy these freedoms, but keep in mind this trail is primarly used by locals, who expect you to look after you dog and camp in appropriate areas well off the trail.
Full sun exposure makes the hike less enjoyable in summer, so pick a spring or fall day to explore this hike, and bring lots of water!
Moderately strenuous hike
Spring, fall, and drier winters
5 miles (8.5 km) roundtrip
900 feet (270 m)
Starts and finishes at a backcountry trailhead south of Rockville. The access road is rough, and washes out during big storms
Most of the hike is in the full sun.
No. This is BLM land, so backpacking and/or dogs are allowed.
Sturdy hiking shoes, ample water and food for a half-day hike.
None available, bring plenty
Unmarked roads make the trailhead tricky to find.
SPRING & FALL: Best seasons for this hike.
SUMMER: HOT! Get an early start and bring plenty of water.
WINTER: The north-facing slope can hold snow and mud into early spring, but dry winters should be OK.
A high clearance vehicle is helpful to access the trailhead, as the road often has large rocks, ruts, and other obstacles. If the road is wet, it will be impassable for all but the largest tires/trucks because the clay dirt turns into butter.
From Springdale, drive south to Rockville and take left onto Bridge Road (the second street on the left). Once on Bridge Road, reset your trip odometer. 1.25 miles later, a three-way intersection appears; take the straight, unpaved road past the dumpsters and up the steep grade. Once on top of the mesa, there's another junction: take a left, crossing over a wash. At 1.9 miles, a small pullout on the right provides a parking area. Sometimes a BLM sign on the southeast side of the lot marks the beginning of the trail, but don't count on it.
Once you've found the trail, the path is fairly clear. The trail gradually climbs across the a juniper-covered ridge, toward the craggy towers rising to the south. As you follow the trail eastward and upward, fantastic views of Parunaweap Canyon, the East Fork of the Virgin River, and enormous Trees Ranch appear. Trees Ranch Reservoir, a veritable oasis in the desert, sits at the bottom of South Creek, beckoning hot hikers. This is private property, however, and both Trees Ranch and Parunaweap Canyon are off-limits to hikers. This trail is about the closest you can get to this inaccessible part of Zion.
The end of the Eagle Crags hike is indistinct. Some people climb to the top of the ridge, near the Crags, while others hike to the base of the largest crags.If you're a climber, there is a fun technical route up the largest tower, Mrs. Buttersworth.
NOTE: Those seeking the obscure route to Lower Mountain and Hilldale/Coloardo City will continue south along the flanks of Lower Mountain, using thin trails and occasional cairns to piece together their way. Research and preparation recommended.
Return the way you came. The hike back provides incredible views on Zion, especially the Kinesava Ridge and West Temple. For some reason, the hike back on this particular trail always seems much longer than the hike in.