Hike the Hop Valley Trail, Zion NP

6.5 miles 1000 ft gain  - Point-to-Point Trail

Added by Mike Quine

Another piece to the epic Trans-Zion Trek or a noteworthy standalone trail in its own right. Massive red cliff faces give an almost guarded sensation to those hiking through the Hop Valley. A 6.5 mile (one-way trek) and access route to the Kolob Arch Trail. Don't drink the water! 

This 6.5 mile (one-way) trek is a multi-functional trail. The trail can serve as standalone trail allowing hikers to get in either a solid in-and-out day hike or as a leg to a much bigger and epic Trans-Zion Trek. For those interested in the later, the Hop Valley Trail is the leg of the journey that either preceeds or follows (depending on which side of the park you started) the La Verkin Creek Trail. For purposes of this adventure, lets focus on the specifics required for this 6.5 mile trail.

Starting at the Hop Valley Trail head, the trail proceeds northwest, in a more or less straight shot (as the bird flys) to the La Verkin trail backcountry area and the popular Kolob Arch. Keep in mind, if you are planning this as a day hike to the arch and back, your journey will amass to upwards of 12+ miles.

The trail starts on a relatively flat field that is consumed by off-green sage bushes and is accented by the hard-to-miss rock formations on the horizon. These formations are massive and seem to appear out of nowhere. Within the first two miles you will approach a fenced in area that demarcates private farm land. While you may enter this area, please understand that it is private and should be treated with the same respect you would treat our public areas. The trail, while sandy, can become somewhat obscured by the possibility of tilled farm land. In the near distance, you should be able to see where the farm field ends and the trail picks back up.

The next leg of the trail starts with the descent into the Hop Valley but not before showing off a little. What a view! Those red and sheer valley cliff faces…no words. All the way down to the valley floor you can expect a steep descent but the pay off is worth the strain. Once on the valley floor you will see the creek that helped carve this unique valley. What you will not find is a clearly defined trail. At first it can be a bit disorienting, not having a trail, but rest assured, you can only wander so far off in the wrong direction before running into an impassable cliff face. So keep your bearing north and you will eventually reach a point along the valley that forces you back onto a traditional trail.

*Once in the valley, it is highly probable that you will encounter cows…potentially many of them. Keep your distance and be respectful. A bear is one thing, but you don’t want to tell people you were injured by a cow.  On the same vein, its probably best to avoid drinking from this stream…even with a proper filter. The cows don’t take kindly to sharing…at least on a biological level.

Once back on the trail, and you’ve bid farewell to the sheer cliff walls, you will start a brief ascent. The ascent is not too long or staggering but will eventually reach a point before having to once again descend…this time into the La Verkin Creek. Once hugging the creek to the north, you will follow the trail until you either reach several backcountry campsites and/or the Kolob Arch Trail. For day hikers, the Kolob Arch is a great side trail (pending your energy is reserved enough to guarantee a full return hike to where you started the day). For those backpacking, this is of course a place to hang your hat. Otherwise, this is the end of the Hop Valley Trail, and the beginning of the La Verkin Trail (for those interested in backpacking onward).

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Tags

Fitness
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Overall rating: 

No shortage of foul water

This was one of the most beautiful sections of the Trans-Zion trek, and also one of the most frustrating. We encountered no fewer than a dozen stream crossings with haphazard rocks and sticks strewn across - to no avail, still came out feet soaking wet. This being said, none of these streams have drinkable water and hikers need to wait until they reach Beatty Spring, which runs along the valley floor to the Kolob Arch. If you're headed the opposite direction, you will have to wait 17 miles to Sawmill Spring... pack accordingly!

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Virgin, Utah

Under Canvas Zion

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