East Rim Trail, East Entrance Station and Trailhead, Zion National Park, Utah
East Rim Trail - 10.55 miles
East Entrance Station and Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||10.55 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||5,721' - 4,360' (6,725' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||-1,361' net elevation loss (+1,720' approximate total one-way elevation gain)|
East Rim Trail - 10.55 Miles Round-Trip
The East Rim Trail runs 10.6 miles from the East Entrance Station to Weeping Rock Trailhead in Zion National Park. It's the southernmost section of the Trans-Zion Trekking Route, which runs 47 miles from the East Entrance Station (south) to Lee Pass Trailhead in the Kolob Canyons district (northwest). The East Rim Trail passes through a colorful span of canyons and high mesa tops.
The trail is accessible from the East Entrance Station off Highway 9, and Weeping Rock Trailhead in Zion Canyon. See directions below for transportation options. The following description begins at the East Entrance Trailhead and runs north into Zion Canyon:
The East Rim Trail begins on an old logging road that parallels oft-dry Clear Creek. It heads N-NE up mild grades and intermittently deep sand through stands of pinyon, ponderosa, and oak.
The trail gains only 260' over the first 1.7 miles, then curls sharply on switchbacks up the canyon's west wall. Views back south of the White Cliffs and Checkerboard Mesa are quite good as you progress.
Grades moderate past the official Park boundary (2.8 miles : 6,130') to Jolley Gulch (2.9 miles : 6,125'). Follow signs to Stave Springs and avoid false spurs that branch off in this area.
The trail winds up the mesa's forested contours (5.0 miles : 6,684'). Though recent fires (natural and prescribed) have compromised some of the aesthetic, grasses and flowers have reclaimed open space, and mature ponderosa are darkened but unaffected.
The trail finally crests on the mesa top (5.5 miles : 6,702') and dips to Stave Spring (5.8 miles : 6,495') and connections for Deertrap Mountain and Cable Mountain (5.95 miles : 6,465').
The mesa top's open meadows and diverse vegetation attract deer, rabbit, coyote, fox and mountain lion. Travel eases on the mesa, which is part of the greater Markagunt Plateau complex - an 800 square mile plateau in southwest Utah. The name is derived from a Piute word meaning 'Highland of Trees'.
The landscape expands through fragrant sage fields to the Echo Canyon Trail split (6.3 miles : 6,385'). This is merely a continuation of the East Rim Trail, but worth noting because an unmarked spur bears right and leads away to the Park's east boundary.
Veer left on the Echo Canyon Trail with emerging views of colorful canyons to the northwest.
At about 6.6 miles the wide mesa top is cut by a deep gorge that connects perpendicularly with Echo Canyon not far ahead. The trail hugs the wooded gorge rim with many good viewpoints along the way. Keep a safe distance from these unstable edges.
At 7.25 miles (6,363') the trail begins a steep drop into the canyon along rugged, narrow and tightly-wound switchbacks. Views are great, but be mindful of steep drop-offs.
Pay close attention to cairns, which provide critical guidance through intervals of washes and open rock (8.0 - 8.6 miles : 5,635' - 5,525').
A steep push over open rock (8.55 miles) marks the final approach to the Observation Point Trail split (8.85 miles : 5,605'). Follows signs for Weeping Rock on a markedly clearer path. The final 1.7 miles descend sharply and almost exclusively on rough-pour with terrific views of Zion Canyon, Cathedral Mountain (6,930'), Angels Landing, The Organ and Observation Point (6,508').
The trail ends at the Weeping Rock Trailhead on the Zion Canyon floor (10.55 miles : 4,360'), where free shuttles will take you back to the visitor center and into Springdale.
- N37 14.069 W112 52.644 — East Rim Trailhead
- N37 14.455 W112 52.588 — .5 miles : Travel up sandy canyon bottom
- N37 14.799 W112 51.987 — 1.3 miles : Continue up canyon
- N37 14.757 W112 52.301 — 2.25 miles : Winding climb up canyon-mesa walls
- N37 15.109 W112 52.632 — 2.85 miles : Jolly Gulch
- N37 14.958 W112 52.802 — 3.75 : Methodical climb to mesa top
- N37 15.038 W112 53.417 — 4.5 miles : Reach forested terrace beneath mesa top
- N37 15.355 W112 53.803 — 5.25 miles : Rolling travel over mesa
- N37 15.673 W112 54.277 — 5.9 miles : Stave Spring
- N37 15.722 W112 54.377 — 6.0 miles : Deertrap - Cable Mountain junction
- N37 15.962 W112 54.468 — 6.3 miles : East Boundary spur
- N37 16.445 W112 54.951 — 7.25 miles : Begin descent into Echo Canyon
- N37 16.564 W112 55.246 — 7.85 miles : Trail moderates along canyon floor
- N37 16.685 W112 55.230 — 8.05 miles : Cross cairn-marked wash
- N37 16.544 W112 55.493 — 8.55 miles : Travel over cairn-marked slickrock
- N37 16.457 W112 55.700 — 8.85 miles : Observation Point Trail junction
- N37 16.349 W112 55.934 — 9.05 miles : Enter Echo Canyon Slot
- N37 16.135 W112 56.197 — 10.0 miles : Hidden Canyon Trail junction
- N37 16.255 W112 56.308 — 10.55 miles : Weeping Rock Trailhead
- The East Rim Trail is accessible from the Weeping Rock Trailhead within Zion Canyon, a shorter and more convenient starting point for seeing the most scenic portions of the trail.
- Cairns mark the undulating trail between miles 7 and 9. Stay alert for markings along this indistinguishable segment.
- Keep a safe distance from cliff edges, especially over Jolley Gulch and Echo Canyon. Edges are unstable, particularly after rain and snow.
- Stave Spring is the main natural water source on the East Rim, Deertrap Mountain, and Cable Mountain trails. Call ahead for reliability, especially in hotter months and dry periods.
- The trail's higher elevations can harbor snow and ice throughout the winter and early spring. Call ahead for conditions, November - May.
- The East Rim Trail follows an old Paiute route to the top of a high mesa. The path was further developed by John Winder, a Mormon rancher who sought to link Zion Canyon to the east. in 1923, Winder led surveyors to where the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel was built.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips in Zion National Park. Permits are available at both Visitor Centers the day of or day before your trip. Permits are limited.
- $15: 1-2 people
- $20: 3-7 people
- $25: 8-12 people
Permits may also be reserved up to 3 months in advance through the online reservation system. A $5 non-refundable fee + an additional fee determined by the size of your group is required when using the online reservation system. Click here to reserve.
- Camp only in designated sites.
- Fires are not permitted at backcountry campsites or within the backcountry in Zion National Park.
- Desert water sources are scarce and fragile. Do not bathe or wash dishes in creeks or pools.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $30 fee per vehicle to enter Zion National Park (defined as private passenger cars with 15 people or less). Passes are good for 7 consecutive days.
- $25 per motorcycle.
- $15 per person (walk or bike).
- Dogs are not permitted on trails in Zion National Park.
Directions to Trailhead
The East Rim Trail begins at the East Entrance Station on Highway 9, and ends at the Weeping Rock Trailhead in Zion Canyon. Thru-hikers will either need two cars, or have to pay for shuttle service to the East Entrance Station. Free shuttle service will take you from Zion Canyon back into Springdale.
The East Entrance Station is 25 minutes from Springdale on Highway 9, located just beyond the Mt Carmel Tunnel.
Zion Canyon Visitor Center
Closed: December 25
Spring: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Summer: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Fall: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Winter: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Backcountry Info, Camping & Permits Desk (including camping in the Narrows)
Zion Adventure Company (for transportation)