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Zion Traverse: Lee Pass to East Rim Trailhead

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(27)
Zion National Park

Zion Traverse: Lee Pass to East Rim Trailhead is a 49.6 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Kanarraville, Utah that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and backpacking and is best used from April until September.

Length 49.6 mi Elevation gain 10,232 ft Route type Point to Point

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Snowshoeing

Forest

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

Snow

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (11)

Please consult the current conditions in the park's website before visiting. 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.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (27)
Photos (90)
Recordings (16)
Completed (56)
Joshua Selling
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2019
HikingNo shade

hiked in mid august from lee pass to the grotto. 46 miles total over 4 days. water was limited and carefully planned. very hot, lots of sections with little to no shade. amazing trip and my favorite thru hike I've ever done!

Alek Silver
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 23, 2019
Hiking

Hiked this early May 2019, right after the snow melt. Southern Utah had received 150% of its yearly rainfall in just 4 months that year, so this trail was super green by Zion standards. First part of Hop Valley was lush and green, with streams flowing abundantly. Drinking the forbidden waters of Hop Valley definitely tasted like livestock manure, even after filtering it, so don't drink it, and for Pete's sake, boil the Hop Valley water if you do decide to give it a go. Connector Trail was more scenic than I was expecting out to be. It is like it's own hike, and not just a connecting trail. Camping along the Wildcat Canyon trail we had the pleasure of sharing our campsite with two wild turkeys who kept wandering around and gobble-gobbling into the the night, and then early the next morning. I was awaken by the sound of a humongous bird swooshing over my tent..... twice, and when I looked out of the tent to get a glimpse, instead of seeing a California Condor, like I was hoping, I saw a couple of elk crossing the stream a few hundred feet away, and one of the turkeys had all his colourful tail feathers spread out in all their glory. Gobble, gobble. We were fortunate enough to get a rainstorm the night before we hiked down West Rim, which provided broken clouds blowing throughout the canyons as we hiked down early in the morning, which combined with the rest of the hike, made this possibly the most beautiful and scenic hike I've ever been on. Angels will be crowded when you reach that point. It literally looks like an anthill, as you approach it from the West Rim, with all the people crawling around in it, so plan 2-3 hours for that crowded little side-hike.... or you could wake up before the sun rises, pack up, and get there right as the sun is coming up, and have Angels all to yourself for a tiny bit. We didn't hike up to the East Rim because there was a rockslide blocking that part of the trail, so we bugged out at Grotto, taking the hike to a total of 38 miles on one GPS, or 42 miles on two pace counters.

Greg Peay
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2019
Hiking

Ok so we are wimps and only went from Lee pass to the grotto in main canyon. Still those 42 miles or so was epic. We started at noon Memorial Day weekend from Lee pass and got to wildcat canyon valley that night around 9. Threw a tarp and bags down and slept. Got up early the next morning and made it to the grotto by 3pm. We went pretty quick. 20 miles each day. Super worth it. There was plenty of running water the whole way to filter. Breathtaking vistas on west rim. My favorite place was actually hop valley for some reason.

Jon Bartelt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 1, 2019
Backpacking

An overall pretty epic backpacking trip that takes you through many of the highlights of Zion National Park. You only really miss out on The Narrows and Subway areas. Make sure to only do this route in the spring or fall or you will roast in the heat and have to worry about water availability! Here is a trip report I wrote describing the Zion Traverse route with a lot of pictures of the trail: https://backpackers-review.com/trip-reports/zion-traverse-backpacking/

C Burrup
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 8, 2019
RunningMuddySnow

Set out to run this place, but ran into snow beginning st mile 15 all the way thru wildcat canyon up to waist deep in spots, west rim was magnificent but also with snow and followed GPS as scattered tracks across mountainside. Would wait another month before attempting this. But beauty beyond measure.

Tim Tinnel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2018
Backpacking

Did this backpacking trip with my daughter a few years ago. We backpacked it late spring, which I recommend due to the lower heat and availability of water. I carried way too much water to make sure we wouldn’t run out and had a 60+ lb pack. Wasn’t necessary as late spring had all water sources running well. We did learn to hate sand and I lost my favorite pair of Oakley XX ‘s, but it was a great trail. Loved coming down from Angel’s Landing in full pack toward the Grotto to get stares and whispers of, “He, how far is it to Angel’s Landing...” from those heading up. So, keep it light. LOTS of water. Stop and enjoy the views!

Christa Darlington
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Backpacking

April 2018

Nicole Eisler
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Backpacking

Did this in June 2011 in +40C. Most exhausting hike ive ever done solely because of the heat. Plan your days to hike out of the sun and heat; hiking early mornings, 2hr breaks in the shade near water if possible at noon, resume in the evening and hike later in the day. Not a lot water sources. Be familiar with symptoms of heat exhaustion and treat early. Otherwise a magnificent and and challenging hike.

Dr Steve Watts
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 1, 2018
Hiking

I came to Kolob Canyons today to hike several of the trails and found that the park is current closed and will be so from 1 May to 1 December 2018. See https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2018/03/15/kolob-canyons-to-close-for-7-months/#.WxG_jWenpI4 It's a beautiful place and I look forward to getting to these trails.

Lisa Palumbo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 15, 2017

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.

Tom Pace
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2017
Hiking

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

Catherine Patton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2017
Backpacking

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!

Brian Pavloff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2017
Backpacking

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!

matt hulliung
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 20, 2017
Running
First to Review

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

michelle s.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 1, 2019
Hiking
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Michelle R.
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Hiking
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Brian O'Bannon
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Hiking
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Stacy Shands
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Hiking
Alexis Resendez
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Hiking
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Alexis Resendez
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Hiking
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Hannah Young
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Hiking
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Patrick Sigrist
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Hiking
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Patrick Sigrist
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Hiking
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Kirk D
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Running
Evol Choi
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Stephen Capalbo
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Hiking
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JD Tanner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 29, 2013
Hiking
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