OverviewThis is the longest but easiest way, as in the least strenuous, to reach Cable Mountain. Of the three routes I have used (this one, Echo Canyon from Weeping Rock, and Many Pools), this is also the least scenic, but it does have its moments.
Probably, this route does not warrant its own page, but since I have already posted two others to this page, it makes more sense to keep that pattern of organization, I think. And since I didn't hike this with a route page in mind, I have no useful pictures of the route or the scenery. The only pictures I have from the hike at all are the ones below, and you get a slightly blurry map as well.
Anyway, one benefit to this route is that you operate in and from the eastern side of the park, which is far less crowded than Zion Canyon. Also, you don't have to use the shuttle system in the canyon if that's not to your liking.
Recommended, however, is to use a vehicle shuttle and/or the shuttle bus system to pair this route with one of the other two.
Getting ThereJust inside the eastern entrance to Zion (or just before it if you are already in the park), turn north onto a road that climbs a very short distance to a parking area. This is the trailhead.
Hike for 5.7 mi along the East Rim Trail, passing Stave Spring (good area for backcountry camping) and descending to a marked junction in a stream bottom. The steepest part is near the beginning as you climb out of the wash of Clear Creek to cross Jolley Gulch, gaining about 500' as you do so. This is also the most scenic section of the hike aside from the overlook on Cable Mountain.
Looking at a map, you might get the idea to cut some distance by heading straight up Jolley Gulch. Do not; you will wind up at sheer cliffs.
At the junction, head left. You will be on either the Deertrap Mountain Trail or the Cable Mountain Trail (I forget how it's marked). Hike 1.1 mi to another junction and bear right on the Cable Mountain Trail.
The summit of Cable Mountain is only about a quarter-mile away at this point, but the views are very limited there. To get to the overlook of Zion Canyon, you have to hike another 1.8 mi from the last junction, losing about 500' from the summit to the overlook.
So in all, you're looking at 17.2 mi round-trip, with a total elevation gain of around 2000'.
If you pair this with the Many Pools route, which is also accessed from the east side, there are three road miles between the trailheads, so it's not out of the question to do a loop day hike if you don't have a vehicle shuttle.