This hike feels like a bit of a hidden gem in the Zion National Park trail network. It’s an idyllic trip through some beautiful wooded areas along a cute creek area. And even more so there’s some extra fun things you can discover as well.
Taylor Creek trail is something fun, learn about the hike, the landmarks, and some extra fun things to explore too.
Note: Currently the Taylor Creek trail is the only accessible trailhead due to a collapsed road. No access is available beyond this point (even by foot).
About the Hike
Distance: 5+ miles | Type: Out & Back | Avg. Time: 3 hours | Difficulty: Moderate | Dog Friendly: No
The Taylor Creek Trail is one of the main day hikes in the Kolob Canyon Section of Zion National Park. The trail is one of the easier trails both in the area and in the park and takes you meandering through some beautiful forested areas.
One of the most interesting parts of Kolob Canyon is how far removed it feels from the rest of Zion National Park. Not only is the landscape very different (with the forests), but it has a very different vibe as well. You’ll notice far fewer people than you’ll see anywhere else in the park.
The creek trail is something special in that it follows along a branch of Taylor Creek. The main hike tends to follow the middle branch, however there are opportunities to explore other branches (some as unofficial trails though).
The hike takes you back and forth along the creek many times, you’ll continuously be crossing the creek as you go along. There are two main landmarks which are old 1930 cabins along the trail. The trail officially ends at the double arch at the end. However, for those intrepid explorers there is opportunity to go a bit further and see some other interesting sites.
This hike is generally pretty moderate. You can go pretty quickly along the trail I found and generally can turn around however you choose. The trail in my opinion is particularly special during the fall with some gorgeous colors.
Taylor Creek Trail Trailhead & Parking
The Taylor Creek Hike is located in the Kolob Canyon section of Zion National Park. This area is not connected to the main area that most folks visit, the Zion Canyon area.
Kolob Canyons visitor center as a landmark is located about 45 minutes from the Zion National Park visitor center in Springdale. The exit for Kolob Canyon is located off I-15N (exit 40).
From the visitor center, continue on Kolob Canyon Road for about 2 miles until you reach the parking area for Taylor Creek Trail.
Note: Currently this is the only accessible trail. The road ends about another mile down the road at the South Fork Picnic Area. No other trailheads are currently accessible and you cannot travel on the road after the collapse via any means.
The parking area for Taylor Creek Trailhead is fairly small, so we recommend arriving early. We arrived here about 9am and there was still parking. One of the best aspects of Kolob Canyon is it receives far fewer visitors.
Best Time to Do the Hike
Unlike much of the rest of Zion National Park, Kolob Canyon has a completely different feel. The forested section of the park feels very far away from the desert scrub and brush of the main canyon area.
For this reason, Fall is the best season to explore this part of the park and this trail in particular. The fall colors in Kolob Canyon really pop along the area of Taylor Creek. You’ll see some great colors in the trees, and the water of the creek and areas around it also seem to bring out more colors with the leaves on the ground as well.
If you can’t come during the fall, late spring to summer are pretty good too. You’ll still get some great tree views albeit more green than colorful. Weather will also be pretty good as well. One thing that’s good about the hike is the forest does provide some cover as well which helps with the heat in the area.
The Taylor Creek Trail Hike
The trail starts from the parking area. You’ll see the trailhead sign for the taylor creek trail and there’s a set of stairs descending quickly from here that lead you to the main area of the trail.
There’s actually quite a few stairs in this first part of the trail. You’ll be heading towards the creek which crossing back and forth will make up the bulk of your hike.
After about 0.2 miles you’ll cross the creek and right after this you’ll see a sign stating that you are entering the Zion Wilderness. It’s about to get really wild people! Or at least I hope so ;). But jokes aside, it’s an important designation that prevents “further” human development.
The trail here is mostly red dirt and muddy at points. You’ll be crossing back and forth across the creek a lot. I took many photos of the crossings but I think actually putting them in this guide won’t be so beneficial. Just note that it’s actually surprisingly frequent.
But for the most part you’ll be on one or the other bank of the creek. The trail will follow the creek for the entirety of the main hike.
After about 1 mile you’ll reach the first major landmark, the Larson Cabin , which predates this area becoming part of Zion National Park. The cabin was built by two Southern Utah State College (now Southern Utah University) professors and is in pretty good shape considering its age. If you look closely though you can see activities for stabilization and restoration.
From here the trail basically continues along in the same way. You’ll follow the creek and go back and forth. Mostly it’s pretty well marked, and if you find areas that seem less marked just keep the creek in your sights.
After about 1 more mile (2 miles ish total) you’ll reach the 2nd cabin on your right. The fife cabin is the 2nd major landmark on the trail you’ll hit before the end. This cabin was built by Arthur Fife, a geology professor at Branch Academy in 1930. He would come out here during his time off and even raised goats here.
From here you’ll continue on the trail for another about .4 or .5 miles until you reach what is considered the official end of the trail. The double arch. You can even walk into the arch area to get a closer look at the area, it’s rocky, mossy, and a bit green from dripping water.
The area is called a double arch and if you like me you may not notice the 2nd arch right away. If you look at it from further away you’ll see the “second arch” above this lower arch.
So here is the official end of the trail. However, we were lucky that we met a few other folks and realized there is an un-official trail as well. If you head away from the arch, you’ll see a small trail leading into the canyon there.
You can follow this trail for about another ¼ of a mile and you’ll come to a small alcove with a waterfall. I’m told that it’s often dry so we were pretty lucky that it had water in it.
It’s also possible to climb up along the side to get on top of this canyon area. It is a bit of a climb more than a hike (and you still need to get back down), so if you are not up for it, honestly you are not missing much.
And from that point we ended up turning around. However, we met another couple who was planning on going further. They texted us later that they hike nearly 2 additional hours before they hit a cliff and needed to turn around.
Regardless of what you decide to do, the trail back is the same one you hiked here. I found it pretty fast in terms of returning.
Tips & FAQs
- Wear good shoes. You may even consider something water-resistant as you’ll be crossing a lot of streams. While it’s generally easy to avoid the water, you may still get wet.
- Go as far as you want! It’s an out and back trail and it changes from time to time but it’s pretty similar. The landmarks and the arch are nice to see but nothing probably you haven’t seen elsewhere.
- Recommend snacks and at least 2 liters of water. Depending on the season you may drink more or less, but I think this was a fair amount for the hike. But always you know yourself and how much you drink on any hike (and the weather).
- If you can, visit in the fall. It’s really stunning with fall colors here. More so than other parts of Zion. It was the favorite hike of one of my friends.
- Leave no Trace. Pack out everything you brought in.