After we had left behind the slot canyon of the lower Observation Point trail, we came a short ways down the huge rock face that the trail cuts across, then we came to the junction with the Hidden Canyon trail, and began heading straight back up a steeper and tighter series of switchbacks. At the end of the switchabcks, the trail begins hugging a series of crags along narrow ledges protected by chains like the Angels Landing trail. After rounding a couple of these crags, we came to the opening to another slot canyon – Hidden Valley. I had been told about this trail by some fellow campers in the campground, and so Charles and I had decided to add it to the end of our Observation Point hike

Sandstone pockets in Hidden Valley

The entrance to the ‘valley’ (it is really more of a canyon or gorge) is protected by a short scramble up a small boulder. There are several such steps in the valley, each overcome by easy but exposed scrambling up or around the blockage. The bottom of this slot canyon is mostly sand, with occasional protruding steps of sandstone.

We looked up and around us in awe, sometime the canyon would narrow to less than twenty feet, but the walls can be hundreds of feet high. One wall was particularly perfect, dead-on vertical and absolutely smooth. Yet this narrow valley was not devoid of life, there were numerous stands of trees, mostly cottonwood, plus man varieties of herbaceous shrubs. Plus cactus, of course, there was always cactus.

After hiking for about twenty minutes, Charles pointed out an amazing little arch that I had walked past without seeing it.

The Hidden Arch

We continued on, the canyon cut a perfectly straight path through the Mesas on either side. After climbing past three or four obstacles, we could see that we had come to where the canyon widened and began heading back up, and we decided that we had essentially come to the end of the valley.

We turned around and hiked our way back out, glad to have added this additional challenge to an already challenging day. We returned to the Weeping Rock trailhead, caught the shuttle back to the lodge and spent the rest of the day between the lodge, our campsite and the swimming hole a few hundred yards away. We had one more day left in Zion, and the challenge that lay ahead would be my toughest test yet.

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