Hiking the Observation Point Trail, the most beautiful viewpoint in Zion National Park

Hiking the Observation Point Trail in Zion National Park

The Observation Point Trail is one of the best hikes in Zion National Park. How to reach this epic viewpoint? Read all about it in this article.

About the Observation Point Trail

The Observation Point Trail is one of the most iconic hiking trails in Zion National Park. The trail gets its name from the beautiful viewpoint at the end of the trail, where you are rewarded with a spectacular panorama of Zion Canyon. In fact, Observation Point is located at an altitude of 6.507 feet (1.983 meters).

From Observation Point, you have a great view from here of the famous Angels Landing, which is “only” 5.790 feet (1765 meters). Because of the big climb, the hike to Observation Point is quite tough, but definitely worth it because of the beautiful reward at the end.

Overview Observation Point Trail

  • Length: 8 miles (12.9 kilometers)
  • Duration: It took us about six hours (with an hour break at the summit), but probably would have been faster if there had been no more snow on the first switchbacks.
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Elevation change: 2.148 feet (655 meters)
  • Starting point: Shuttle stop 7 (Weeping Rock) Currently you cannot reach Observation Point from this point. Go to the East Mesa Trailhead for an alternate route (which is easier because you don’t have to climb as much).

I would recommend doing this hike in spring or fall when there is no snow and it is not so hot. Leaving early in the morning is a must, as you will walk the first (and toughest) stretch in the shade. Plus, you’ll have more time to enjoy the trail.

Observation Point update: is it open or closed?

Due to a major storm and an avalanche of rocks, the Observation Point Trail as I did it has been closed for several years. But since 2023, you can hike to this epic viewpoint again.

You can reach Observation Point via the East Mesa Trailhead, which is located on the east side of the park. This trailhead can only be reached by car and is about an hour’s drive from Springdale (check the map here). The final stretch to the parking lot is via a dirt road. Because this is not such a well-known trailhead, there are few parking spaces. Get there early! Once on the trail, the route is self-explanatory.

The route via the East Mesa Trailhead is a lot easier than the one via Weeping Rock. You only have to climb 90 meters (300 feet). The hike to Observation Point via this route is 11 kilometers (6.8 miles).

On this page, you can find a map and explanation of the hike to Observation Point via the East Mesa Trail.

Exit to the East Mesa Trailhead
The East Mesa Trail connecting to the trail to Observation Point.

Report Observation Point Trail

I hiked the Observation Point Trail in March 2018, before the avalanche and the trail’s year-long closure. Still, I choose to share my hike below because it allows you to see how beautiful it is to hike in Zion National Park. And even with the alternate route, you can see the incredible view of Zion Canyon from Observation Point!

To the starting point

In the spring of 2018, I’m going on a road trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park with my cousin. Hiking to Observation Point is at the top of our bucket list and today is the day! From our hotel, we walk to the park entrance, and at the visitor center, we take the shuttle bus.

The route through Zion Canyon is beautiful and we even see some bighorn sheep walking on the rocks. At the Weeping Rock stop, we get off the shuttle bus, this is where the trail begins!

Start Observation Point

Fast uphill via switchbacks

After a short hike, we arrive at the first set of switchbacks. It’s not too hot, which makes it easier to climb. It goes pretty fast at the beginning! However, in some spots, there’s still some snow and ice on the trail. We have to be really careful.

Slippery trails on the road to Observation Point

We wonder if it’s smart to go on this hike so early in March. But along the way we meet more and more people, so we decide to keep on moving. Slow and steady!

Echo canyon

After quite a bit of climbing, we find this sandy trail. No more ice and it’s easier to follow. No steep climbs for a bit and we find ourselves walking between the rocks. It is so beautiful here!

Hiking among the rocks in Zion National Park

At some point, we pass Echo Canyon, a hidden slot canyon, and this is a pleasant surprise. It is a magnificent sight! A wonderful place to rest and take lots of pictures.

Then we climb out of the canyon on the other side and fully enjoy the beautiful views. Although it is quite tough at times because of the many climbs, I have a big smile on my face. I absolutely love hiking in this extraordinary landscape!

The landscape keeps on changing

We slowly climb further up. This section of the trail is more doable than the first section with the switchbacks. The landscape seems different with every turn we take, the colors of the rocks keep on changing. The higher we get, the more sunshine we get. And that is very pleasant. It feels like spring is coming, but it’s still quite chilly at this altitude.

The final stretch to the summit

On the last stretch, we walk along the edge of the mountain taking picture after picture, what a view!

We arrive at the summit, where we feel like we are in a whole other world. Suddenly the trail is flat and surrounded by bushes and trees. It’s so different!

Over the top of the mountain to Observation Point

Observation Point: what a view!

After a final turn, we suddenly find ourselves at Observation Point. Tears shoot into my eyes, this is absolutely stunning. Below us we can see Zion Canyon and Angels Landing is also very clearly visible. It felt so high when I walked there a few years ago and now it seems so small. What a sight!

Observation Point Trail - Zion National Park

We eat our lunch on the rocks with this amazing view. We are besieged by squirrels, but we don’t care because we are on top of the world. I don’t think I’ve ever had lunch with a more epic view. There are a few other people relaxing at Observation Point and we take a lot of pictures of each other.

Enjoying the beautiful view from Observation Point

After an hour of enjoying the view, we headed back by the same route. The ice at the switchbacks is mostly gone, so the hike back is really a breeze. What a top-notch route! It was well worth driving all the way to Zion for this hike.

What to pack for a hike in Zion National Park?

Would you love to do this hike or one of the other amazing hikes in Southwest USA? Make sure to prepare well!

  • Bring plenty of water: it’s hot and dry, so always bring something to drink. Preferably water, and for longer hikes, energy drinks are also recommended.
  • Wear good shoes: the trails are very rocky and steep, so put on your best hiking shoes or trail runners. Flip-flops are not recommended, it’s very easy to slip.
  • A cap or hat: there is little shade, so it is wise to cover your head.
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit: it is always smart to carry a small first aid kit with bandaids.
  • Snacks: Make sure to bring some snacks. We had packed a lunch for the Observation Point Trail. I have never had lunch with such a beautiful view.
  • Sit pad: not mandatory, but it’s nice to sit on something comfortable. There are no benches at the viewpoint.

Read more: What to pack for a day hike

Book a trip to Southwest USA

Would you like to go hiking in Southwest USA? A road trip in Southwest USA is always a good idea! These are useful websites for booking your trip:

✈️ Plane tickets – For an epic Southwest USA road trip, you can fly to Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles, among other destinations. Check WayAway to find the best deals and cashback on plane tickets.

🛏️ Where to stay – When I’m not camping, I book almost all my overnight stays via Booking.com. Because I often book there, I usually get a discount, and you can often cancel for free.

These are some great places to stay near Zion National Park.

  • Flanigan`s Resort and Spa is the place where I slept myself when I did the hike to Observation Point and this is highly recommended! The rooms are really spacious, there is a swimming pool and a hot tub. It is only a short walk to the entrance of Zion National Park.
  • Bumbleberry Inn is also a nice place to spend the night. I slept here on my first visit to Zion. It is located in the middle of the village of Springdale and has a refreshing outdoor pool. A shuttle bus stops in front of the door and takes you to the entrance of the park.
  • Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort is the perfect place if you always wanted to sleep on a ranch. There are several nicely decorated common areas and there’s a hot tub. From here, it’s just a 15-minute drive (or a 1-hour walk) to the East Mesa Trailhead.

🚘 Rental Car – The best way to see Southwest USA is by going on a road trip! Check out Rental Cars to find good deals on car rental. Do you prefer to travel by RV? Check RV Share for the best deals.

🎡 Tours & Activities – Would you like to do something special during your stay in Zion National Park? Check out the amazing activities on Get Your Guide. In Zion, for example, you can go horseback riding during sunset or join an adventurous off-road jeep tour.

Read more about Southwest USA

The American Southwest is a wonderful destination to visit. To get the most out of your trip, it is wise to prepare well. These guides are full of tips and great itineraries:

Lonely Planet Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks

Fodor’s Utah: with Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands National Parks

I myself went on several road trips in Southwest USA, so you can read a lot about traveling to the USA on my website. These articles are also fun to read:

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This article was published in June 2018. Last update with more information and tips: July 2023.

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Hiking the Observation Point Trail - the best view in Zion National Park

As a girl from a small town in the Netherlands, I always dreamed of traveling. I thought it would always be a dream, but nowadays, I travel 6 to 8 months a year and I hike thousands of miles on the most beautiful hiking trails. On this website you can read all about my favorite destinations.

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