Wildcat Canyon – A Secret Gem of Zion National Park

The Wildcat Canyon Trail is a breath of fresh air!

Every year Zion National Park sees more and more visitors.

It’s gotten to the point where there are long lines just to get on a shuttle to go to your hike in the main canyon!

In 2017, Zion saw a whopping 4.5 million visitors 😮, and that was apparent to anyone who hoped to enjoy the serenity and tranquility that seems synonymous with the name “Zion”.

I for one am not a fan of hiking in single-file lines with a bunch of strangers who lack common courtesy.

I much prefer to hike the back country of Zion where you can get the experience of Zion National Park, without all the crowds.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to advertise these back country hikes so much as I am trying to educate people about their existence.

There are some pretty spectacular scenes that are missed because these hikes lack the convenience of the main canyon.

For those who want to try something a little different and are willing to deal with the coordination efforts involved, the Wildcat Canyon Trail on the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park, is a great change of pace.

We went this past Mother’s Day weekend. The weather was in the low 40 degree Fahrenheit range – and it felt COLD!

It even rained on us a bit. But the beauty of it was that we saw only 4 other ‘groups’ of hikers during the 5 miles that preceded the intersection of the Subway top-down trail & the Northgate Peaks trail.

It was very peaceful and was like taking a hike in the ‘woods’.

The tricky part was coordinating the pickup and drop off part of the trip.

Luckily for me, I live here, so I just had my dad pick us up from the Wildcat Canyon trail head and drop us off at the West Rim Trail trail head.

From there we hiked the 6 miles, one-way, back to our car at the Wildcat Canyon trail head.

For those who don’t have it so easy, you could schedule a shuttle service to drop you off at one of the trail heads and leave your car at the other.

If you’re feeling up for it, you could drop your car off at one of the trail heads and hike in and then back out again.

This is a moderate hike, and I would feel comfortable taking kids along.

There are no dogs allowed on this trail, however.

I would recommend in the summer months to be cautious of rattlesnakes 🐍 (but I feel that way about any of the hikes in our area).

Also be aware of your surroundings and watch for other wildlife. 🦃 🐿 🦌 🐆 (let’s assume that last emoji is a mountain lion)

Enjoy this gorgeous hike, where you can see incredible canyon views, smell the clean mountain air, see mountain springs and wildflowers 🌸🌼, and enjoy some of the actual peace and serenity that one should be able to experience in Zion National Park.