This is the shortest way (distance-wise) to reach Cable Mountain without a high-clearance vehicle or climbing the mountain's sheer face from Zion Canyon. It is also the most technically difficult of the four routes described on the peak's main page. Anyone using this route must be prepared for Class 4 conditions and bushwhacking. Furthermore, anyone using this route as both an ascent and descent route will need good navigational skills or will need to leave a trail of cairns along one portion of the route (please dismantle on your return trip), for a careless climber could easily pick the wrong descent route and wind up in trouble.
In no way is this page meant to upstage Nader's existing page
on the canyon itself; for precise information about the canyon's features, please use that page. But whereas the other page covers the canyon until it narrows and becomes quite brushy, this page takes you beyond that point, to the plateau above, and then to the summit of Cable Mountain.
This route also serves as a shorter way to reach the summit of Deertrap Mountain
than the established hiking trails to it. Some details for that can be found in the route description section on this page.
Copied with permission from Nader
Please note that there are no signs on the road for this hike. It is obviously very important that you identify and enter the correct valley. Study your map carefully. The GPS coordinates below may also be helpful.
From the town of Springdale, drive east on Route 9. Go through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel (the long tunnel) and continue east. You will soon reach the small tunnel. Continue east 0.8 miles on the east side of the eastern entrance of the small tunnel until you see a pull-out on the right (south side) of the road. Park here and hike east on Route 9 for 500 ft until you reach the Many Pools Valley.
GPS Coordinates for the entrance into the Many Pools Valley from Route 9 are:
37 degree, 13.397 minute North
112 degree, 54.878 minute West
Hike up the scenic valley. About a mile in, you will find a decent-sized dryfall. Beyond this point, the canyon gets narrower and also becomes somewhat brushy, though it never gets too bad.
Continue up the canyon. Usually, following the stream bed is easiest, but there are occasionally use trails that skirt obstacles. Just go with the path of least resistance. Near the head of the canyon, things steepen considerably, and it is then that one gets into a short but sustained section of Class 3/4 climbing. Above those difficulties, the route becomes its brushiest, and finally you reach the plateau above. From the road, it has been about 2.5 miles and 1300' of elevation gain, well more than half of it in the last mile, to this point.
Now is where you will need to have navigational skills, note landmarks, possibly set cairns, etc., for you must angle slightly northeast through a burn area until you come across a trail. This is the Deertrap Mountain Trail. Heading left on it will take you to the summit of that peak (the trail ends in about 2.5 miles, but the summit is before that and not actually along the trail). To reach Cable Mountain, you want to go right.
In less than a quarter-mile, you will reach an intersection with the Cable Mountain Trail, and you go left and hike 1.8 mi to the overlook of Zion Canyon. Note, though, that you only have to hike about a quarter-mile to reach the crest of the trail and then head left off-trail a short distance to find the highpoint of the broad plateau that is the summit of Cable Mountain.
Thus, you are looking at about 4.5-5 miles to reach the overlook, 3-3.25 to reach the summit (one-way distances). Elevation gain to the summit will total about 1400'; you will need to add 500' if you are going to the overlook and back. Near the summit, there are limited views of the surrounding country.
If you have a vehicle shuttle arranged or don't mind a three-mile road hike, you can use maintained trails to get to the trailhead at the east entrance of the park. From the Deertrap-Cable junction, hike east and then north for 1.1 mi to the East Rim Trail. Turn right and then hike for 5.7 mi to the trailhead. The last couple of miles, which skirt Jolley Gulch and then go through the canyon of Clear Creek, are very scenic. Most of this return route is downhill, and the few uphill sections are short and gentle.