Zion Traverse: Lee Pass to East Rim Trailhead

HARD 13 reviews
#40 of 84 trails in

Zion Traverse: Lee Pass to East Rim Trailhead is a 50.7 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Kanarraville, Utah that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September.

DISTANCE
50.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
10134 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

Lee Pass to Zion Canyon uses a network of trails in Zion National Park to traverse the park. La Verkin Creek Trail to Hop Valley Trail to Wildcat Canyon Trail to the West Rim Trail down into the canyon. Connect to the the East Rim Trail in the canyon to complete the full traverse.

4 months ago

The first 11 mikes or so are in sand. Got blisters because of that. So cover your shoes if you can. It was beautiful in October and enjoyed the fall colors.
Camped 2 nights and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the Canyons. Variety of scenery and was continually amazed at the views throughout the hike. Had camp site #5 the second night and was blown away by the views! Sunrise and sunset were amazing! We only did 30 miles and ended the hike at the Lodge in Zion. Very enjoyable after not backpacking for 20 years and just getting back into it.

hiking
4 months ago

Beyond words. Just do it. But be prepared. It’s can be dangerous if you’re not an experienced biker

4 months ago

Hiked the entire thing last year and I’m doing it again in two days. It’s amazing

backpacking
7 months ago

To add on to Brian's awesome review: just did this as a 4 night, 5 day trip in mid-July. This is a stunning trip! Some notes regarding the summer heat: At this time of summer you definitely want to start day 2 well before 6am! We started around 6 and had about 3 hours in the grueling afternoon sun across the connector trail and coming onto Wildcat Canyon before we got to Northgate Peaks trail where we spent night 2. You'll thank yourself for every bit earlier you start. We stashed water at the Hop Valley trailhead, which I would very much recommend doing this time of year. We each drank about 3L of water before getting to the Hop Valley trailhead which we were then able to refill there. Day 3: watch out for stinging nettle in front of Wildcat Spring when you're collecting water! Won't kill you but you'll save yourself a rash. Day 4: definitely take the West Rim trail (where it splits and you have the Telephone Canyon option as well). The extra ~1.4 miles is well worth it for the stunning rim views! We did Telephone Canyon down to site 2 where we were staying that night and then took daypacks back up the west rim side so we saw both :)
Day 5 is down down and more down off the rim with incredible views. We stashed our packs at Scouts Lookout to do Angel's Landing around 8am before the big crowds got there.

Know your water sources, plan accordingly, bring lots of electrolyte sources, and start early each day for an amazing trip!

backpacking
7 months ago

Excellent way to see the variety Zion has to offer. I completed this hike in mid April and totally lucked out on the weather. April can be frigid and snowy on the west rim, and also offer intense heat at lower elevations. I imagine that the summer time would be a particularly tough time to complete this trek- spring is recommended. I completed this as a solo adventure and it was totally worth it. Half of the campsites are available for online reservation, but are gone fast- like 10 minutes after becoming available. Sites become available two months before the dates you are looking for at 10am. I sat by my computer and starting reserving as fast as I could and still missed one campsite I wanted. All the other campsites are first come first served, and permits are picked up at the ranger station near Springdale (Main Canyon Entrance) or the northern entrance by Kolob Canyons. I would suggest leaving a car in Springdale and using one of the outfitters in town to provide you a shuttle to your starting point at Lee Pass trailhead. The trail begins with a pleasant descent, views of the canyons to the east provide a welcoming sight to the beginning of your journey. After descending for a while, the trail flattens out and heads east. There are a few campsites along La Verkin creek that make a good stopping point for day one- making it an easy first day. There are a few tributaries leading into La Verkin that provide clear water. I would recommended pumping out of these because La Verkin was a bit cloudy with sediment and gave my pump some clogging issues, although I was able to get water fairly easily. Make sure to pump here because there won't be water for a while. There's a short hump up to the intersections with Hop Valley Trail. Make sure to take your time on this one and enjoy it. Hop valley is flat, wide and lovely. As everything you read will tell you do not pump the water in hop valley. Cows graze nearby and leave the water contaminated. Even with purification, it isn't recommended. The trail can become fuzzy at times but there's no route finding to consider, just keep following the valley south, crossing the creek as needed and the trail will reveal itself. Sometimes, there are a few trail options. There's a bit of a climb out of Hop Valley that may leave you huffin and puffin. Make sure you have plenty of water before beginning this day. As you approach the connector trail, you will have to go through some gates as parts of this trek cross private property. Make sure to close the gates as to not let livestock escape into the park. The connector trail begins on the other side of the road. Some people will cache water at this junction and its not a bad idea, although clear water isn't far away at this point. The connector trail offers some teaser view of Wildcat canyon to the southeast and eventually leads to the Wildcat trail. There is at large camping along the wildcat, and I would recommended this for a day two campsite. The Northgate peaks trail is a great side trip and makes for a nice morning walk. Short, easy and offers some opportunities to scramble up to a high point for some 360 views. Wildcat trail then takes you all the way to the west rim trail. Wildcat is forested and nice, although there was some thick mud due to snowmelt, so be mindful of that. There's a final hump up to the West Rim trail but not too bad. I would recommended making this a short day and trying to camp at the northern campsites on the west rim. Get up early the next day and enjoy a leisurely walk down the west rim. Views are spectacular. I encountered a muddy descent as the trail winds its way along, so be prepared for some slip. There's one more short uphill through some trees before the trail opens up again to great views. Once again, make sure you pump water before beginning this day, its a day with a lot of sun and no water on the rim. The trail eventually descends the rim heading for the valley. There are some campsites at the southern end of the west rim that make for good spots. A spring is marked on the map but may not be a good source. I was banking on it and instead discovered a swampy pool that was not possible for drinking water. Luckily, I had plenty in tow. The path from here down is easy. There's a steep descent along a rock face that is great. The trail is wide and easy going but impressive none the less. The trail connects with Angels landing and you can follow that all the way to the Grotto and ride the shuttle back to Springdale. One last thing: make sure to ask the rangers about water sources before beginning. They change rapidly and you want to stay hydrated. Enjoy!

trail running
10 months ago

This run should be at the top of all ultra-runners to do list. You will not get bored on this route.

2 months ago

2 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
Friday, March 29, 2013