How Hard Is The Canyon Overlook Trail In Zion National Park?

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There are very few things in this world that come close to the sightseeing opportunities at Zion National Park. Every year, roughly thousands of people flock to this otherworldly location to experience an adventure of a lifetime. However, many of these views often come with a high physical price. With that in mind, how hard is the Canyon Overlook Trail?

The Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park is an easy to moderate level hike suitable for families with small children. The hike is a mere one-mile round trip with a primarily flat surface after the initial steps at the trailhead. The hike should take between 30 minutes to an hour to complete.

When it comes to considering any hiking trail – especially one in Zion National Park – it’s essential that you thoroughly research the trail to ensure that you will be able to handle it from a physical and fitness perspective. Discover how challenging the Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park is and what you will need to prepare for this beautiful hike adequately.

How Hard Is The Canyon Overlook Trail In Zion National Park?

Formerly known as “The Great Arch Trail,” The Canyon Overlook Trail is one of the few official hiking trails located in the upper east part of the canyon. It was renamed the Canyon Overlook Trail in the 1940s because the famous Great Arch cannot be seen while hiking this trail. Instead, the trail runs on top of the Great Arch, providing unmatched views.

The climax of this trail provides hikers with breathtaking views of the main canyon in Zion National Park. Indeed, this is a sightseeing opportunity not to be passed by! The Canyon Overlook Trail is highly popular and is arguably one of the best hikes to try for the first time in Zion National Park.

Because of the trails’ popularity, the parking area can fill up fast, so make sure to get here early or late in the afternoon. Typically, anything in-between will mean that hikers will have to scramble to find a parking space. There are a few overflow parking areas further away from the trailhead for those who aren’t too troubled about adding additional steps to their hike.

The Canyon Overlook Trail begins with a fair amount of steps climbing up the slick rock above the road. This is the arguably most strenuous part of the hike, yet it should still be relatively easy for most people. Once you have conquered the steps, the trail continues on a manufactured trail that is level for the most part.

From the outset, hikers will be graced with magnificent sightings unique to Zion National Park, including the exquisite sandstone formations and views of the Pine Creek slot canyon that is directly below the trail. Indeed, the sightseeing opportunities along the Canyon Overlook trail are undoubtedly some of the best in the world.

Something that makes any hike more manageable is having a section along the trail that provides shade to cool off and take a break. Thankfully, the Canyon Overlook trail has precisely that. Roughly halfway to the main viewpoint of this hike, hikers will trek through a beautiful, lush alcove providing plenty of shade, making it the perfect place to stop and catch your breath before pushing towards the end of the hike.

From a safety perspective, there are railings almost throughout the trail. However, there are still a few exposed sections, so caution should be taken when bringing small children along for this hike.

Finally, after trekking a little further, hikers will reach the viewpoint that has captured the hearts of several hiking enthusiasts. The views of the main canyon in Zion National Park are simply unmatched and a must-see for any outdoor enthusiast and hiker.

From this viewpoint, other notable sights include the famous rock formations known as the East Temple, Bridge Mountain (one of the tallest peaks in the canyon), and the Pine Creek stream. Once here, hikers can enjoy the views for as long as they like before heading back along the same path toward the trailhead.

All in all, the Canyon Overlook trail is by far one of the most leisurely hikes in Zion National Park. The trek to the viewpoint is only half a mile, making the total hike a one-mile round trip. Aside from the initial steps at the trailhead, the hike is predominantly flat, making it very easy to complete.

The ample sightseeing opportunities and rest points make this hike even more bearable. The Canyon Overlook trail is undoubtedly one of the best hikes in Zion National Park for first-time hikers and those with small children. 

Preparing For The Canyon Overlook Trail Hike

Thanks to its easy to moderate difficulty level, the Canyon Overlook trail is suitable for hikers of all skill and experience levels. However, it is still important not to underestimate the need to prepare for this hike adequately. Regardless of any hike’s difficulty rating, preparation is paramount.

Firstly, ensure that you bring at least a liter of water with you. Although the hike is not very strenuous, it is mostly in direct sunlight, making dehydration possible. Remaining hydrated is an essential aspect of any hike.

Secondly, because of the exposure to the sun, ensuring that you wear a hat and sunscreen will undoubtedly go a long way in making your hiking experience far more enjoyable. You want to avoid sunburn at all costs, so do not underestimate the power of a hat and sunscreen!

Thirdly, although not essential, having a good quality pair of hiking shoes or boots will go a long way in improving your overall comfortability while hiking. Hiking shoes are unmatched in terms of the grip, support, and comfort they provide while hiking. Although the Canyon Overlook trail is not strenuous, hiking shoes are still recommended.

Lastly, make sure that you bring a camera! The views that you will have the opportunity to see while on this hike are undoubtedly some of the best in Zion National Park. You will want to snap some photos to show your friends and family a glimpse of the adventure that you had.


Overall, the Canyon Overlook trail in Zion National Park is an easy or easy to moderate at most type of hike. At only a mile roundtrip, this is undoubtedly one of the best hikes in Zion for first-time hikers and those with small children. However, despite its ease, it should not be overlooked by advanced hikers since the views on offer are out of this world!