Hop Valley Trail
Kolob Terrace Wilderness Area
The Hop Valley Trail is located in the Kolob Terrace wilderness area of Zion National Park. This is not a classic trail like those found in Zion Canyon. It’s a primitive route that connects the upper Kolob Terrace section with La Verkin Creek trail in lower section of Kolob Canyons. Once you reach La Verkin Creek you can continue on by following the trail to Kolob Arch. The distance from the trailhead to LaVerkin Creek is approximately 6.5 miles, we logged just over 14 miles round-trip with added wandering.
We chose a day with ideal temperature and mostly clear sky, although I consider my ideal conditions for hiking this trail a day after hard rain to help pack down the deep sandy sections of the trail. There’s not much shade on the trail so be prepared for plenty of exposure to sun light.
The first section of the trail meanders through open fields and meadows that are surrounded by red buttes and sandstone ridge tops. As you near Hop Valley, the trail begins its descent. The valley floor of Hop Valley is breathtaking with its flat sandy bottom and vertical walls rising on both sides. The trail is very sandy and well worn. There are campsites at the far end of the valley before the steep descent into La Verkin Creek. This best time of the year to hike this trail is in the spring, summer and fall as the snow can get deep at this higher elevation during the winter.
*Camping is permitted in designated sites only.
Difficulty: Moderate, non-technical
Distance & elevation gain: 13 miles round-trip (out & back to La Verkin Creek), 1000 feet elevation gain.
Trail type: Singletrack dirt trail with several shallow creek crossings
Multi-use: Hiking and trail running
Dogs: Not allowed on Zion National Park trails
Permits: Backcountry permit is required for multi-day backpacking
Camping: Camping in designated campsites only, reservations and permits may be required
Seasonality: Spring, Summer, Fall; bring water, none available on the trail
Bathroom: Vault toilet at the trailhead
* Bring plenty of water and snacks. There are no services in this section of the park.
Watch Your Step!
Not long in to the hike we came across this little fella sunning himself on the trail. We heard him before we saw him. He was right off the side of the trail and wanted nothing to do with us. Rattlers generally have no interest in striking unless provoked. Keep an eye out for these guys especially in the back country. Keep your distance, and don’t harass them. Rattlesnakes are fully protected by Utah law; it’s illegal to harass or kill one. My hiking buddy, @outsidescapes, aka, snake charmer, spotted him first, which is a good thing.