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East Mesa to Observation Point via Stave Spring Trail

hard(41)
Zion National Park

East Mesa to Observation Point via Stave Spring Trail is a 11.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Springdale, Utah that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

Distance: 11.2 miles Elevation Gain: 2,306 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no shade

no dogs

This trail is a great alternative now that East Rim / East Mesa via Observation point is closed due to rock fall. This hike bypasses the first few miles of East Rim Trailhead so that it is able to be accomplished in one day.

hiking
8 days ago

Please, please download the SW Utah map on maps.me or have some other downloaded, easy-to-follow map to find this trailhead. Minimal reception with AT&T and Verizon made finding the trailhead very difficult and dangerous. We have an SUV with AWD, and nearly got trapped in the snow and mud trying to find our way to it. Otherwise, a great trail.

1 month ago

This hike is a great alternative to Angels Landing. it doesn't have the crowds or the danger and it had even better views than Angels

Awesome, highly recommend but have 4wd to get to the trailhead this time of year.

hiking
4 months ago

I hiked on a sunny day in November. I started out at 8:30 and finished up at 2:30. I spent about 45 minutes at the lookout and took plenty of photo breaks along the way. Following cairns is required when hiking through the smooth rock portion of the trail. Take alltrails and you’ll be fine. This hike is difficult as you lose elevation and then gain elevation to reach observation point. Then of course as you retrace your steps you have to go down and then up again to get to the TH. There was a parking spot suitable for my rental car but it wasn’t perfect. I took 2.5L and used nearly all of it. I also hiked Cable Mountain from the same TH and in comparison that hike is super easy. I loved the solitude on both trails. It was simply amazing to come across deer and not people. I was alone the entire East rim trail and only saw a couple people at observation point.

hiking
4 months ago

loved it but really kicked my butt

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome hike. Did it last month and there were some great fall colors. Didn’t see anybody else the entire way to Observation Point until I got about a half mile away as everybody else had come from the other trailhead. The sign/map at the Stave trailhead says East Rim is closed, but it’s AFTER you make the turn up the canyon to Observation Point, so no worries about access. As mentioned before, just some careful route-finding once you’re down in Echo canyon following cairns, but otherwise pretty straight forward.

hiking
no shade
6 months ago

Great hike to escape the crowds of the park but still want to stay within the bounds of Zion. Recommend starting early in the day and bring plenty of water because after about 10am the trail is very exposed.

hiking
off trail
6 months ago

Given the choice between the two west-bound trails (East Rim and East Mesa) to Observation Point, this one is the harder, more strenuous, but more exhilarating trail to take. You climb down and across Echo(?) canyon and then back up the East Mesa Trail to the point. Crossing Echo Canyon is super cool, but be sure to follow the standing stones as they're your only guide across. We were also the only ones on the trail when we went, as everyone seems to take the easier route. But who likes crowds anyways.

hiking
off trail
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Perfect hike, very strenuous

hiking
8 months ago

There is a National Parks sign at the start of Stave Spring Trail, where this begins, that says the East Rim Trail is closed due to rockfall. Based on the map posted here on All Trails, the trail is on East Rim Trail. So we bailed and went just North of there to East Mesa Trail, which is a much shorter hike (about 7 miles vs 11.5), and I don't think as scenic....but still ends at Observation Point. I think would give 5 stars had we been able to do East Rim Trail. Either way, Observation Point is Spectacular!

hiking
8 months ago

My GPS calculated it closes to 10.5 miles. I did the trail in the middle of the day and only saw 3 other groups of people the entire time. It took me just over 6hrs including enjoying the view at the top for a bit. The trail starts off flat, then goes downhill and then back up. That means coming back you have a good uphill stretch at the end which was a killer. Recommend shoes with good traction as some of the rocks have sand on them and were slippery. Also make sure you have plenty of water/gatoraid. I had about 85 oz with me and it was not enough at all!! There is a little market at the Panderosa campsite just before the trailhead that has water and poweraid if you need more once you get off the trail. When you’re following the GPS to the trailhead, if you follow the signs to “Observation Point” instead of following the GPS it’s only about a 7 mile hike instead of 10.5. There is a part in the middle of the trail where it gets a little confusing, but just download the map from alltrails and between that and the rock stack markers you can find your way easily enough. The view at the top is beautiful!!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
8 months ago

strenous but a great hike. The second pass was a killer for me, but great views and only saw one other group. It was a peaceful hike if you want to get away from the crowds. The Cairns can be a bit tricky, best to bring all trails. GPS in the canyon can be buggy too.

hiking
9 months ago

Started here as the East Mesa Trail to Observation point was closed at the time. Didn’t run into a soul on the descent and ascent of the canyon. Had fun following the cairns. Beautiful views the whole way. Soles of my boots fell off 3/4 of the way to Observation Point

Beautiful views!! Hiked this today. My recording is a little off cause my phone died after we got to observation point. But hiking out took us 3h and there was little to no shade the entire day. Spent an hour at the top and took 2.5 to get back to our car. This hike was strenuous so come prepared with extra water, snacks, and sunscreen on cloudless days like today. So worth it for the views and way less traffic than from East Mesa if you want the trails and views to yourself for a while :)

hiking
9 months ago

Did this trail the other day and because of the closures ran into absolutely not one person until I was on my way out. East rim trail has amazing views the entire way, easy drop into the back of echo canyon. Trail will go through the rocks at bottom but follow the rock cairns and you’ll be fine. Again, bc of closure I walked the entire switchback up and not a person, was at observation point from 830 to 930 not a person there either. One thing I did notice, if you don’t feel like dropping back down into echo and climbing out you can walk out the east Mesa trail and walk a couple dirt roads back to the stave spring lot. Save you the elevation and the canyon heat!! Honestly this was the most beautiful hike I’ve ever been on.

hiking
10 months ago

Observation Point - MUST SEE I found this route because the trail from Wheeping Rock was closed due to rockfall. The trailhead doesn’t have much by way of parking, but there are some places right off the dirt roads near the trailhead. Watch for Cairns, they are very frequent, and very helpful for locating the trail at times. 3/4 of the way to Observation Point there is a good 1/2 mile of relatively narrow switchbacks with incredible views at each turn. For anyone a bit scared of heights, this part may be a bit nerve racking, but once you pass the switchbacks you’re almost there! If you’re not looking for much of a challenge there’s another trailhead, East Mesa Trail to Observation point is a good alternative. No real views prior to Observation Point, but no steep switchbacks or major elevation change. Both are good alternatives to see Observation Point, which in my opinion is a must see in Zion.

hiking
10 months ago

Very good option for hiking to Observation point when hidden canyon trail is closed. Observation point and the East Rim provide great views of the park. The hike is slightly strenuous but should be easy for experienced hikers. Parking is sparse.

hiking
10 months ago

Hardest hike I have completed yet! We did it in 4hrs 45mins and damn was it a workout. A lot of searching for cairns to keep us on track. It was definitely the hardest hike I’ve done when it comes to no trail being laid out most of the way and uphill switchbacks that sometimes never seemed to end. Rewarding is the least I can say on how I feel after completing this hike.

The entrance to this trail is Stave Spring. The hike is hard but worth every minute. Follow the cairns once you get to the bottom of the creek bed. The views can’t be topped!

hiking
11 months ago

Less people traffic than Angels Landing. Incredible view.

hiking
11 months ago

This is an excellent way to still hike Observation Point given the trail closures. We encountered next to no one during the six hours it took to complete. It is a difficult trail- a lot of elevation change and you need to go down into the canyon and back up just to get to Observation Point, but it was well worth it. Especially if you happen to be staying on the East side of Zion, this is an great way to avoid a nearly 4 hour round trip drive to get to the main Zion canyon given the UT-9 road closure. Note there is not much of a parking lot at the trailhead and it is a bit sloppy getting back there.

hiking
Tue Mar 26 2019

Hike this trail yesterday in 6 hours. Still plenty of snow on the trail. Great views of Angels Landing and beyond.

hiking
snow
Mon Mar 25 2019

This trail is a great alternative now that East Rim / East Mesa via Observation point is closed due to rock fall. This hike bypasses the first few miles of East Rim Trailhead so that it is able to be accomplished in one day.

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