We have been talking about hiking the Hop Valley Trail on the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park for a couple of years now.
However, we’re both busy people – as I’m sure most of you are too – and it has just not been prioritized.
I spent the majority of my childhood on Kolob Mountain since my dad owns a construction and excavation company that was based primarily there while I was growing up. Because of this, and because I have lived in Virgin my whole life (minus a year when I did an internship in northern Utah), I have driven by this trailhead on more occasions than I can remember.
Anyway, we finally put on our Keens, prepped our backpacks, and headed out. It was a gorgeous [nearly] 60 degree day and perfect hiking weather!
The Hop Valley Trail is part of the Trans-Zion, which is a multi-day backpacking route which requires a backcountry permit from the National Park Service. The Hop Valley Trail, however, is 6.5 miles one-way and does not require a permit for the day hike.
Since we didn’t get an early enough start in the day, we were only able to make it a few miles in before we decided to head back out to avoid hiking after dark. The Zion wilderness is home to mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, snakes (though they typically hibernate in the winter), and more. I personally do not want to take my chances encountering a mountain lion at night!
Nonetheless, it was a nice hike. It may not be the most breathtaking hike you could take in Zion National Park, but it’s nice for what it is. It’s a great workout as you’re walking through loose sand and the views are pretty incredible even still.
Some things to be aware of if you plan to try this hike (which again, I don’t know it well and we did not hike the entire route, so you may want to reference another guide source before you get started), are:
- If you’re hiking in the winter months, plan to leave early enough in the morning that you won’t run out of daylight. The sun sets at around 5:25pm in late December
- Even in winter, take plenty of water
- Watch for wildlife. If you choose to hike this in any season other than winter (and even then, use caution), watch for rattlesnakes!
- Part of this hike is on private property. Be courteous of the landowner. There is a gate as you enter on to their property that you need to be sure to close behind you to prevent their cattle from escaping
- After you enter the gate, go to the right. We made the mistake of following the majority of the footsteps, which take you to the left along the fence line – this is not the way to stay on the Hop Valley Trail. Go diagonal across the field to the right and you’ll meet back up with the trail
Don’t go to the left, go across this field to the right