OverviewObservation Point lives up to its name as perhaps the best trail-accessible viewpoint of Zion Canyon in Zion National Park in southern Utah. It is frequently summited via a Class 1 trail which climbs approximately 2,150 feet in an 8-mile round-trip route from the Weeping Rock shuttle stop on the Canyon floor.
Getting ThereZion National Park is surprisingly close to Interstate 15. Just north of St. George, Utah, take the Highway 9 east exit, which will take you directly to the park. If you have an extra few days, visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon, which is only a few hours to the south and gives a different perspective of the big ditch.
Zion National Park has implemented a mandatory shuttle system. You park at the Visitor's Center at the south end of the Canyon and catch one of the shuttle buses. You will get off the shuttle at the Weeping Rock stop.
Current shuttle details should be verified at the Zion National Park website: Zion National Park homepage
Red TapeAn entry fee is charged by the National Park Service to enter Zion National Park. Current fees and restrictions should be verified at the Zion National Park website: Zion National Park homepage
When To ClimbZion National Park is a Class 1 hike but has some areas where the trail is only 8'-10' wide with a vertical drop off making hiking in inclement weather potentially deadly. Fortunately, Zion National Park receives little moisture and little snow. Weather conditions can be verified at the Ranger's Desk at the Visitor's Center, which you will have to park by to access the park shuttle.
Be aware that from late spring to early fall, this hike can be brutal with temperatures at or above 100 degrees. Carry plenty of water and sunscreen and remember your hat!
CampingThere are pay campgrounds located in Zion National Park and backcountry permits for backpack camping are available. Detailed information can be found at the Zion National Park website: Zion National Park homepage
Mountain ConditionsCheck local weather at: Zion National Park weather
About Zion National ParkZion National Park is a 229 square-mile park in southwest Utah. The park claims to have the world's largest natural arch, Kolob Arch, located in the park's northern section. Elevations in the park range from 3,666 feet to 8,726 feet.
Zion National Park has a human history dating back to the Anasazi people about 2,000 years ago. There is evidence that the Paiutes were here approximately 800 years ago. The Mormons, who gave the area the name Zion for its beauty, arrived here in the 1860's.
Zion was first incorporated as a national monument in 1918 and became a national park on November 19, 1919. In 1920 there were a reported 3,692 visitors to the park. Today an average year sees approximately 2.5 million visitors.
This information was excerpted from Park brochures.