Compared to famous trails like Angels Landing and Subway, the Observation Point trail does not get close to the amount of attention that it should. However, Observation Point is undoubtedly one of the best hikes in Zion National Park, offering mesmerizing scenery and unmatched views. The question is, roughly how long does it take to hike Observation Point in Zion National Park?
The hike to Observation Point in Zion National Park typically takes 4 to 6 hours to complete. The hike is roughly 8 miles long, with an elevation gain of approximately 2000 feet. The time it takes to complete this hike will vary based on your stamina and how long you spend at the viewpoints.
The hike to Observation Point should unquestionably be listed among the top hikes in Zion National Park. However, rumors about the brutal nature of the hike and the overall time it could take to complete it have left many questioning whether they are capable enough. Discover how long it takes to hike to Observation Point and what you’ll need to prepare for this epic hike.
How Long Does It Take To Hike The Observation Point Trail?
Utah’s Zion National Park has no shortage of epic sightseeing opportunities for hikers and outdoor adventurers alike. Indeed, this is one of the most popular National Parks in The United States, and for a good reason. It is estimated that approximately 5 million adventurers come to experience the unique wonders that Zion National Park has to offer.
Of these unique wonders is none other than the famous Observation Point. Though it is often overshadowed by Zion National Park’s flagship hikes, including Angel’s Landing, The Narrows, and The Subway, Observation Point is usually mentioned alongside these epic hikes as one of the best adventures that Zion National Park has to offer.
Indeed, many seasoned hikers will tell you that the hike to Observation Point is better than the likes of Angel’s Landing since it offers arguably the best views and sightseeing opportunities in Zion National Park. Interestingly enough, the climax of the Observation Point hike offers views of many other famous landmarks like Angel’s Landing.
However, if you have heard anything about the hike to Observation Point, you will know that it is a strenuous trek. Indeed, this hike is by no means a casual 20-minute stroll in the park. Treating this hike as such would guarantee an awful experience. Although, despite its brutal nature, the reward of the views on offer makes every drop of sweat well worth it.
The hike to Observation Point begins at the famous Weeping Rock trailhead, and right from the beginning, the nature of the hike is made clear. The hike immediately requires hikers to start navigating a lengthy series of switchbacks up the mountain. The switchbacks continue for roughly 1,5 miles with an elevation gain of approximately 1000 feet.
Once hikers have passed the immediate test of stamina and determination to reach their destination, they will arrive at Echo Canyon. This part of the hike offers hikers somewhat of a break from the grueling switchbacks since the ground is mostly level, the temperature is cooler, and the scenery is stunning.
However, after a pleasant hike through Echo Canyon, the intensity of the hike increases again. Hikers will be met with steeper switchbacks that have a much narrower path. This section undoubtedly draws a lot of energy. However, the views get better and better the higher up you trek. Another 1000 feet of elevation over roughly one mile will be gained during this section of the hike.
Eventually, the trail begins to level out after what can feel like an age. Hikers will finally feel like the end is in sight, as the trail is far more manageable from here. The trail is slightly hilly from this point onwards, though nothing too strenuous. The path continues for roughly another mile before finally reaching the climax of the hike, Observation Point.
Arriving at Observation Point makes you feel as if all of Zion National Park can be seen from where you are. The views of Zion Canyon, Angel’s Landing, and Virgin River are breathtaking and undoubtedly make the hard work of reaching this point well worth it.
Overall, the hike to Observation Point will take anywhere between 4 to 6 hours to complete depending on your overall stamina and fitness levels and how long you spend soaking in the magnificent views. Some hikers have taken up to 8 hours to complete the hike due to the time spent enjoying the unmatched views found at Observation Point.
Preparing To Hike The Observation Point Trail
If it wasn’t totally obvious, the hike to Observation Point is a highly strenuous trek that should only be attempted by hikers with high stamina and experience hiking over long and strenuous distances. Due to the nature of this hike, adequate preparation undoubtedly needs to be a high priority to ensure the best possible hiking experience on the trails.
Firstly, you will want to thoroughly assess whether this hike is suitable for your current physical and fitness capabilities. If not, don’t worry! There are many sections along the way where you could stop and make your way back – once you’ve started, you are by no means bound to complete the rigorous trek!
Secondly, because of the overall distance of this hike and the obstacles involved, a good pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots are highly recommended. It is vital to wear shoes that offer comfort, grip, strength, and support while embarking on a hike like Observation Point.
Summer in Zion National Park means scorching temperatures and plenty of foot traffic. The best time to hike the Observation Point trail is the spring and fall months. It is also best to begin the hike earlier in the day so that you can complete it before the sun goes down. Hiking in the dark is not recommended, especially when extreme heights like Observation Point are involved!
Lastly, make sure to have fun! Take a camera with you and snap a few photos of the incredible views you will witness. The sightseeing opportunities at Observation Point are unlike any other!
Overall, hiking to Observation Point in Zion National Park will take 4 to 6 hours to complete. A good amount of stamina will go a long way in being able to complete this hike as it is very strenuous. However, the reward of the views that you will get to experience far surpasses the strenuous nature of the trek getting there!