Valley of Sand.
Not only is Hop Valley a great IPA from Zion Canyon Brewery, it's ALSO a scenic trail connecting the Kolob Canyons and Kolob Terrace areas in Zion National Park. While the Hop Valley trail is more of a connector route than a destination hike, its remote and unpopular nature can make for a nice, quiet exploration of a beautiful desert valley. Hop Valley can also teach a great lesson in desert ecology, as active cattle ranching in the middle section of the trail has decimated native plant populations, replacing them with cowpies.
The Hop Valley Trail is typically hiked one-way (west to east) as a connector route for the Trans-Zion Trek, the 47-mile route crossing the entire Park. Trekkers reach Kolob Arch via the La Verkin Creek Trail, then cut through Hop Valley to get to the Wildcat Canyon Trail on the Kolob Terrace. If you aren't hiking the Trans-Zion, you can still explore Hop Valley in its own right by day-hiking via the Hop Valley trailhead off the Kolob Terrace Road.
Moderately strenuous hike
5 to 10 hours
Spring or fall
6.5 miles (10.5 km) from La Verkin Creek to Hop Valley Trailhead, or 15 miles (24.1 km) roundtrip from Hop Valley Trailhead to Kolob Arch
1000 feet (300 m)
Starts and finishes at Hop Valley Trailhead, on the Kolob Terrace Road, unless using the trail to backpack through the Trans Zion hike.
Most of the hike is in the full sun.
Sturdy hiking shoes, ample water, and food for a full-day hike
Water is available to purify, but it is CERTAINLY contaminated by cow feces. Better to bring your own.
Only if backpacking. There are 3 designated campsites along the Hop Vally Trail.
Spring - Snowpack affects conditions for the hike, so check the current conditions with the wilderness desk. During a drier spring, hiking is really good here, but wet springs bring lots of mud and deeper creek crossings.
Summer - HOT! Please be cautious of the heat. Despite the higher elevation, expect 90-100 degree temperatures with little shade. Not really "fun."
Fall - The best season to hike Hop Valley. Colorful leaves, dry ground, and perfect temperatures.
From La Verkin Creek: The La Verkin Creek Trailhead is located in the Kolob Canyons section of the Park, about an hour's drive north on I-15 from Springdale. Once in La Verkin, take a right at the stoplight to Toquerville to get to I-15 North. From there, take Exit 40 for the Kolob Canyons. La Verkin Creek trail starts at Lee Pass. Paid shuttle service is available for one-way travelers who don't have access to two vehicles.
Hop Valley Trailhead: Drive west 13.5 miles on Highway 9 from Springdale into Virgin. As you enter town, turn right onto the Kolob Terrace Road (the sign says, "Kolob Reservoir"). The paved road climbs steeply up, crossing into and out of the Park. At 13 miles, find the Hop Valley Trailhead on the left side of the road.
La Verkin Creek to Hop Valley: 6.9 miles on the La Verkin Creek Trail leads to the the Hop Valley Trail. Once the hike leaves the Kolob Arch, it climbs steeply up switchbacks to the Hop Valley drainage. Follow the switchbacks to the Hop Valley drainage, usually a dry or semi-dry, sandy wash bordered by nice slickrock walls. Follow the NPS trail markers to cross the dry or (or not) creek bed many times on your way across the sagebrush plateau. There are three designated campsites, located in the first two miles of the Hop Valley Trail. Check out the Wilderness Desk for further details on the campsites.
Hop Valley to Kolob Arch: Find the trail on the west side of the parking lot. Deep sand and sagebrush are the predominant vegetation on the plateau. The trail crosses the creek often; look for NPS trail markers if you feel unsure about the trail direction. After about 3 miles, you descend into Hop Valley, which drains northwest into La Verkin Creek. Sandy terrain continues through Hop Valley, about 3 miles in length. About 5 miles into the hike, cross the NPS Boundary gate, signifying the end of cattle grazing and also the location of the designated campsites. Downhill switchbacks connect you to the La Verkin Creek Trail. To get to the Arch Viewpoint, cross the creek and continue on the La Verkin Creek trail to the 0.6 mile spur trail that leads to the lookout.
Return the way you came.