Sep 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm #1307207
Heading out to Zion NP in early October. A friend and I are planning to do the Zion Traverse from North to South. He has already made the reservations.
Day 1: Lee Pass TH to La Verkin Creek near Kolob Arch Trail
Day 2: Hop Valley Trail to somewhere on the Wildcat Canyon Trail
Day 3: Wildcat Canyon Trail to West Rim Trail, camping near Potato Hollow
Day 4: West Rim Trail to the heart of Zion Canyon
Not being familiar with Zion, I am very concerned about water sources. The NPS website shows some seasonal water sources in those sections. Much of this depends on how much it rains up there. Being we will be doing ~12-15mi days, about how much water should we plan on carrying? 2l? 4l?
Just for fun: my gearlist for this trip is on my profile.
Any thoughts or experiences regarding water and this trip in general would be much appreciated. Due to a variety of factors, this trip will be my only big adventure this year so hopefully it is worth it.Sep 2, 2013 at 2:22 pm #2021013
W I S N E R !BPL Member
I plan on running it solo in a day in late October.
Andrew Skurka's databook is ver helpful and includes water sources. Download it here:Sep 2, 2013 at 2:36 pm #2021015
A lot of variables.
How much water you need to carry will depend on the weather (hot, cold, overcast, etc.) and your personal physiology.
As far as seasonal water sources you will need to wait until the time is near. If possible, you need to verify from a reliable source who has recently been there.Sep 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm #2021030
Ryan, I did this traverse in April of this year and water was very scarce. La Verkin was fine but that was at the beginning of the trip. Generally, and given the heat, I would lean toward 4L. There is no water sources at the campsites (apart from La Verkin) so take that into consideration.
When you get your passes from the ranger office, they will point out where there will be water. Certainly, the water situation may have changed given the few months in advance.
The other water sources were not much more than a trickle so be prepared to wait a bit, certainly if your group is large.
The views on the West Rim are breathtaking…I am envious that you are going. Let me know if there is a crazy grouse in Potato Valley. He had been terrorizing hikers for a few months. LOL. Have a great trip.Sep 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm #2021069
@davecLocale: The West Slope
The recent popularity of this route remains a mystery.
Call the backcountry desk a week out. They'll have decent beta. Plan on hauling at least four liters at times, perhaps six if it is hot.Sep 2, 2013 at 5:29 pm #2021079
"The recent popularity of this route remains a mystery."
For Northerners, this trek was different and fun. A change of pace from the normal Rocky Mountain granite. Some of us work for a living so require a pre-planned route from a timing perspective.Sep 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm #2021084
"The recent popularity of this route remains a mystery."
Trip reports and trail guides are sure fire ways to ruin a route. Been watching this happen for decades. Thus my last significant mileage on the JMT was in 1971. Last trip to Zion was 1977. I have also quit going to most areas of the Grand Canyon. Most of my great trips, which include a trip report do not provide directions or trail names, should they exist.Sep 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm #2021086
Nick, in April we only saw one solo trekker. Of course, the Grotto was jammed with people but that experience was brief as we made our way to the East Rim. We saw no one on the East Rim.Sep 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm #2021090
I am seeing more and more trip reports. It will get crowded unless it is heavily permitted.Sep 2, 2013 at 6:30 pm #2021103
nmSep 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm #2021117
Thanks for the suggestions. I figured on carrying at least 4L at a time but will plan to have up to 6L capacity if needed. The Skurka Databook is very handy and I am surprised I did not find it earlier.
This is my friend's first experience planning a "big" trip (and choosing where we are going), I'm just guiding him through how to do it and making sure the plans are feasible. I hate having to wait out the ultimate go/no-go decision right before we drive nearly 2000 miles to get there.Sep 3, 2013 at 8:57 am #2021290
A DBPL Member
Did this exact trip during the last week of March. Water was pretty scarce. There were a few springs along the route that were used, therefore never had to actually carry more than 2L of water. However, it was crucial that we cached a couple gallons of water at the Hop Valley trailhead. Ended up sharing some of that cached water with 3 other hikers that were out of water and getting a little worried.
This hike was absolutely delightful. Hard to compare it to the high sierra, but I rank it up there as one of the most memorable trips I have been on.Sep 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm #2021569
So is it safe to assume that if water was scarce this spring that it will be scarce in the fall, even after the rainy season? I would think conditions could be different. Will still check with the backcountry office before going though.Sep 7, 2013 at 10:03 am #2022674
Ted EBPL Member
@mtn_nutLocale: Morrison, CO
I did a similar hike last year.
there will be plenty of water along la verkin creek and at beatty spring. the water at beatty spring is some of the best in the park. so day one will be easy.
Day two, i would fill up at beatty spring before hiking out of the la verkin creek area into the hop valley. there is some water, but its been fouled by livestock and isn't the best looking. My advice is if you are getting a shuttle from springdale to kolob canyons, most will stop off on the kolob terrace road. make sure you driver knows you want to go up the kolob terrace road, and bring a gallon or two of bottled water from the grocery store and stash it at the kolob terrace trailhead. the better camping is lower on wildcat canyon, and the only water source is in the upper portion..
day three. you're first water source will be the spring near lava point in the upper wildcat canyon. its a small spring, and there were a lot of bee's that surrounded the spring. i didn't get stung, but i was very careful not to make any of the bees angry. the water is very good though. As you hike down the west rim, there is a spring off the trail near the campsite at sawmill. i didn't hike into this spring on my trip, but i've heard its good. theres also suppose to be a spring near potato hollow, but again i didn't try to find it on my trip.
day four. there is a well spring (a small pool spring) near campsites #1 & #2 near the edge of the west rim before heading down the steep trail that will take you to angels landing. its a good water source, and your last water source until you get to the grotto trailhead. hike angels landing (its a little crowded on weekends, but its very pretty).
PM me if you have any questions about the route.Sep 16, 2013 at 8:08 pm #2025304
That is helpful information Ted, I enjoyed your article! Spoke with the backcountry office today, rainfall has been slightly above normal so I think we will be good.Oct 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm #2031041
Peter LongobardiBPL Member
@paintplongoLocale: Hopefully on the Trail
I was there and did the traverse in June and water sources were still decent after a less then average winter snowfall. The backcountry rangers at the office have fairly accurate water reports and will be a great resource to advise you on how to plan. There's also the option of caching water, which no one has mentioned as you'll hike past atleast 1 trailhead that would be easy to hide some water jugs around. I would recommend buying one of the detailed maps of the entire park as it will come in handy when crossing other trails. Good luck!Oct 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm #2031611
We were all set to go, good water, good weather. We got to Zion Monday night just after it got dark. The government shutdown occurred less than 4 hours later. So we did other things around Utah before coming home. Over 4000 miles of driving during the week. Bummer.Oct 7, 2013 at 7:10 pm #2031679
@davecLocale: The West Slope
That is truly unfortunate timing, and pretty intolerable to have a long-planned trip ruined for small reasons.
To continue off-topic: The route is a great, canned option, with a well-established (albeit expensive) shuttle. That said, if you truly have more money than time, I'd suggest contacting Matt Moore at Desert Highlights in Moab, or Rick Greene at Excursion of Escalante (in Escalante). Though day trips and traditional guiding are their main business, I'm sure both would be happy to act as a consultant for a route which is much better than the Zion Traverse (a feat which in SoUt would be easy to accomplish).
To continue further off-topic: If you want to hike in Zion you need to hike in canyons. Learn ropework. The Right Fork of North Creek and lower Kolob are technically easy hiking-with-ropes overnights which present a much richer picture of the park.Oct 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm #2033245
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