A Kolob Classic.
Orange walls soaring into a blue sky. Waterfalls tumbling along a bubbling brook. Tall ponderosa pines and an old pioneer homestead. Middle Taylor Creek offers a wonderful walk up one of Zion's Kolob Finger Canyons, ending at the rather scenic and popular Double Arch Alcove. Grab a camera or pack a picnic and spend half a day exploring here.
Natural beauty aside, this hike offers two distinct advantages: more solitude on the trail and lower summer temperatures. The Kolob Canyons section is about an hour's drive Northwest of the Main Canyon and Springdale, making it MUCH less visited than trails in Zion Canyon. On the same July day, you could see 250 people on the Emerald Pools trail in AM, and maybe 10 along Taylor Creek in the afternoon.
Like Kolob Terrace, Kolob Canyons is higher in elevation than Zion Canyon, providing 10 - 15 degrees of relief from swelting summer temperatures. As a bonus, the Middle Fork trail is in the shade for most of the day (especially in the AM), providing even more beat-the-heat charm.
Easy to moderate hiking
3.2 miles (5.1 km) each way
2 to 4 hours
Spring, summer, or fall
1050 feet (320 meters)
The beginning is in the sun, but the deep canyon is in the shade most of the time.
No. Overnight camping is not allowed along this trail.
Bring sturdy hiking shoes, ample water, and food for a full day hike. Since Kolob Canyons has a higher elevation than the Main Canyon (and thus is about 10-15 degrees cooler), a jacket is recommended in Spring and Fall.
There is no water at the trailhead. You could filter water from the creek, but it's probably easiest to bring what you need.
Starts and finishes at a signed pullout in Kolob Canyons section of Zion.
Unmarked route, off-trail navigation required. Map recommended.
Spring - Ice, snow and mud may be present, especially in shady areas and in early spring during snowmelt. Look for beautiful spring flowers along creek beds.
Summer - Zion can be hot. Leave early to avoid the heat, rest during the heat of the day, and have plenty of water for the day.
Fall - Generally a great time to hike the trail. Great fall photography along the creek beds.
Winter - Possible snowpack and ice, and possible closed access to trailhead. Very cold in the winter. Use caution and check current conditions at the Zion Backcountry Desk.
Taylor Creek is located in the Kolob Canyons section of Zion; the drive from Springdale is about one hour. From Springdale, drive 19 miles south and west on Route 9 to LaVerkin. Turn right, and proceed 6 miles north on Highway 17, through Toquerville, to Interstate 15. Head north on I-15 13 miles to the Kolob Canyons exit (Exit 40). Stop and show your entrance pass at the Visitor Center, then drive 2 miles to the marked parking area. The Middle Fork of Taylor Creek and the North Fork of Taylor Creek share the same trailhead.
Drop down into and across the stream and pick up the trail heading north on the other side. Take note of where the trail crosses the stream and ascends to the trailhead, for the return hike.
Follow the trail east beside the stream for 1.1 miles (1.8 km) to the Larsen Cabin, built in 1929. The Middle Fork Trail continues east, into the dramatic canyon between Tucupit Point to the north and Paria Point to the south. There is a less-well-defined trail up the North Fork.
Entering the canyon of the Middle Fork, as the trail becomes rougher, the route is dictated by the terrain. Watch for the beaten path as you travel upstream; try to stay on the main route. Too much off-trail hiking will give this canyon a worn appearance. There are several waterfalls, and the canyon is deeply shaded much of the day.
Follow the canyon upstream as the soaring walls close in. Two miles (3.2 km) past the Larsen Cabin, the trail ends at the Double Arch Alcove. An alcove and blind arch at ground level is carpeted with the most amazing orange sand. Five hundred feet above, a similar blind arch above a ledge creates a stunning counterpoint. The canyon walls are close together here, the canyon filled with a dense forest. Wild turkeys live in the area.
What is a "blind" arch? While we usually think of an arch as being separate from the rock, air all around, but a blind arch is different. The term is used for an arch-like formation that is not fully separated from the rock near it. Another example in Zion is The Great Arch at the head of Pine Creek Canyon.
A steep landslide blocks travel further upcanyon. The more adventurous can climb the steep dirt and continue a few minutes, but most will enjoy the alcove as a fitting end to a wonderful stroll. Return the way you came.