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Hike of the week: Hidden Canyon
Directions » Hidden Canyon is a great afternoon hike in Zion National Park, climbing up an east-northeast-facing wall that's cooled by moist, hanging gardens before finding shelter in a narrow, shaded canyon. The hike isn't super easy, but its setting does provide some respite on a hot day.
From the Weeping Rock trailhead, hike south. Do not turn left onto the Weeping Rock Trail, but continue on the East Mesa Trail, which climbs the canyon wall with broad switchbacks. Enjoy the hanging gardens of lush, high-water flora like Cardinal-flower, Monkeyflower and Columbine.
At about 0.6 miles, the trail departs from the main East Mesa Trail and veers southwest up a series of tight switchbacks. After the switchbacks, the trail goes south into a mini-canyon, downhill for a couple of switchbacks and then up a neat flight of stone stairs. It then follows a cliffside north again, offering great views of the Weeping Rock area (but perhaps upsetting those with a fear of heights). Just before the 1-mile point, the trail bends south again into Hidden Canyon.
From here, you'll follow the canyon floor south and upward. The difficulty depends on what the rainwashes have deposited in the narrow canyon. There were places I had to scramble over boulders and logs.
There is an arch tucked away in the shadows of the west wall about 1.4 miles from the trailhead. Not far ahead we reached a pool of water, where we turned back. The canyon continues another mile or so to the plateau above Zion Canyon.
Getting there » Angels Landing is in Zion National Park. The gate is northeast of Springdale on State Road 9. Admission is $12 per person or $25 per car. Take the free Zion Canyon Shuttle from the Visitors Center to the Weeping Rock bus stop. From November to March you can drive private vehicles in Zion Canyon, but the shuttle also is available and drops you off where you need to be. The trailhead is on the south side of the parking cul de sac just east of the bus stop.
— Erin Alberty