A Grand View.
Observation Point offers a tremendous view from high on the east canyon rim. From here, Zion can be seen as a vast, dissected plateau. The view is not as intimate as from Angels Landing and the effort substantially more, so there tend to be many fewer people, making for a quieter experience.
The trail from Weeping Rock up through Echo Canyon follows an old Paiute Indian trail, which was expanded by pioneer John Winder in 1896 to handle pack horses and cattle. When Stephen S. Johnson christened Observation Point and Mt. Baldy in 1922, Zion visitors had to hike 18 miles to reach the viewpoint. The current Observation Point Trail was constructed during the trail-building frenzy of the late 1920's, reducing the route length by a third.
VARIATION: You can also hike to Observation Point from the East Mesa Trail, located on the East Side of the park, about an hour drive from Springdale. This variation is about the same distance but saves you 2000 feet of elevation gain, since it starts on top of the plateau.
Non-technical, moderately strenuous hike
4 to 7 hours
Spring through Fall
3.25 miles (5.2 km) each way
2270 feet (700 m)
Starts and finishes at Weeping Rock Trailhead; shuttle access April-October.
Most of the hike is in the full sun, except the lower section in the morning.
Sturdy hiking shoes, ample water and food for a hike.
No water available at trailhead; fill up before you start.
FLASH FLOOD RISK
Do not enter or cross Echo Canyon in floods or heavy rain.
Some cliff exposure, steep trail
Spring - A great time to hike; look for flowers and new plants along the drainage.
Summer - Can be HOT! Bring plenty of water.
Fall - Generally a good time to hike this trail.
Winter - Ice and snowpack can gather on the trail. Yaktrax or some sort of extra shoe traction may be helpful.
The Observation Point Trail starts at the Weeping Rock shuttle stop, in the Main Canyon. Bathrooms are available, but no drinking water.
Ascend the East Rim Trail via the painfully obvious switchbacks for 2/3 mile (1 km), gaining 600 feet (180 m). The signed Hidden Canyon Trail branches right. Continue up the East Rim Trail, passing under the impressive, smooth face of Cable Mountain and into Echo Canyon. The trail soon exits the canyon bottom and climbs moderately for a mile or so to another trail intersection. The East Rim/Observation Point Trail is the main trail, while the Echo Canyon Trail branches right and descends into Echo Canyon. Follow the trail up a series of steep, airy switchbacks to the rim of the canyon. Traverse left to intersect with the East Mesa Trail, then continue along the rim another .4 mile (.6 km).
Start of Trail
Hidden Canyon Trail
Echo Canyon Trail
East Mesa Trail
Return to Weeping Rock
0.0 mile 0.0 km
0.5 mile 0.9km
1.7 mile 1.7 km
2.9 mile 4.7 km
3.3 mile 5.2 km
6.6 mile 10.4 km
0 ft 0 m
600 ft 180 m
1240 ft 380 m
2140 ft 655 m
2270 ft 690 m
The view at Observation Point is tremendous, sweeping around almost 360 degrees. To the east is the deep cleft of Observation Point Canyon, and expanses of slickrock leading over to Echo Canyon. Across Echo Canyon is the sheer, 1200-foot (400 m) rock face of Cable Mountain, and to its right, first Hidden Canyon then The Great White Throne. Across the river and far below is Angels Landing, a red mountain in front of the great white ramparts of Cathedral Mountain. Almost due west is the famous rock climb Moonlight Buttress. Turning north, one has a bird's eye view of the great Zion canyon coming together to form The Narrows.
Enjoy the view, then return the way you came.