A great trail for those who like to get somewhere weird and fast (in a non-sexual way)…(but maybe also in a sexual way), all of Hidden Canyon trail can experienced in one half day. Heading north on the main highway in Zion, the trailhead is on the right and shares a parking lot with Weeping Rock Trailhead. Weeping Rock is worth the quarter mile there-and-back to see the over hanging raining arch. Before heading up, grab a sweatshirt to wear when in the actual Hidden Canyon. It is a natural refrigerator. The trail quickly switchbacks up a steep, western facing canyon side. On the way up, if you are out of shape, use the view as an excuse to stop and take a breather. You can see the winding Virgin River below meandering through “The Grotto” of Cottonwoods and other wooded plant species. Note how low you are in the canyon, because later you will be not low, and in Zion, scale is hard to grasp unless you are moving from viewpoint to viewpoint… The canyon walls are so far apart, but vertical and flat, that a real sense of enormity is sometimes unobtainable so we need a sort of triangulation of the sight-sense.
Around midway, the trail reaches a fork where you can go right to Hidden Canyon, or left to E Rim Trail. E Rim heads another couple miles to what is said to be a great look out. In Zion, every high point is a great look out, but the best is another day hike- Angel’s Landing.- which is reviewed on this site! Go right at the fork towards Hidden Canyon.
More switchbacks, up some rock steps, and depending on how early you are in Zion (we were there in mid March) there can be ice on a couple sketchy portions of the trail. Press on and you reach a sign at a viewpoint that confirms this is still the trail for Hidden Canyon. Up a few cool steps carved into the cliff and around a cliff where the trail is carved into its face (hold on to the chains, when I say cliff I mean… well when you are up there you will grab the chains trust me).
Finally, the trail crests and the canyon lay in front of you. Stand in the mouth of the canyon walls. You can feel the ice-cold wind funneling out of the shaded canyon. If the sun is still out, its warmth combined with this cold breeze is an interesting feeling.
The rest of the canyon can be fully explored. Some scrambling is required but it is not difficult stuff. Remember that when you look up at these high walls enclosing you, remember you are already high, high in the park’s peaks. It is astounding that this deep canyon exists on top of all other canyons in the park. It is possible to reach the end of the canyon. The end involves another cliff face so there is no loop. Turn around, and head out. Congrats, you have seen one bad ass place.