The other week I was contacted by some friends who I have not seen for a couple years. Their names were Alisha and Amie and they went to college with me my freshman year. They said they had a younger brother that they wanted to show around campus and were wondering if I would house him for a few days. A few questions later, I agreed and plans were made for them to come down. I think it was about this time she mentioned that they were going to Zion National Park and was wondering if I could take them on a cool hike. And a cool hike I did take them on.
Hidden canyon is probably one of the most diverse hikes I have ever been on. It has a mixture of almost everything you could want in a hike. Shuttle rides, steep cliffs, great views, slot canyons, boldering, and even an arch to top things off. Its an amazing hike. Like I said its in Zions National Park, (if any of you are keeping tract that makes three times in the past month that I have been there, and Emerald Pools looks about the same still) located at the trail head of weeping rock and observation point. From my understanding, they discovered it in the early 1900 because some guy fell down it and they had to rescue him, thus they found the “hidden” canyon.
The hike begins with you traversing the steep cliff walls of Zions. As you gain elevation you begin to gain some absolutely great views of Big Bend (its a big bend in the river), and the canyon. About a mile up though, you hit a fork in the road. The left takes you to observation point,which I will tell you about at a later day, and the right takes you to hidden canyon. At this point you begin to ascend what I will dub Walters Wiggles Jr. Its similar to Angels Landing where there are just tons of small cut backs, but its not nearly as impressive or maintained as angels landings. At the top there is an out crop that juts out into the canyon some, and this makes a great pictures spot and a good rest point also. We enjoyed a few minutes here, but continued on our way into probably the coolest part of the entire ascension section of the trail.
At this point the trail begins to narrow to only a few feet, maybe between 2 1/2 ft- to about 5 at its max in a few spots. Once again you are taken back to an angels landing type feel where you are holding onto chains with huge cliffs only inches away. Passing people at this point can become tricky, but overall its not too bad. Also when you get to this point you know you are about at the top. The path ascends 1000 feet or so in elevation (400 feet shorter then angels landing) then just cuts across the cliff face to the canyon opening.
Now we are in phase 2 of the hike. The trail switches from cliff face, to slot canyon. From this point on, the trail is poorly maintained and thus lots and lots of bolder hopping and climbing over stuff. But who cares, its fun! The cliff walls rise another 150 to 200 feet above your head before they peel back and are lost from view. The majority of the trail is sandy and cool, the advantage of being in a canyon. Plenty of green vegetation also grows in the canyon, which is odd for most slot canyons, but this one is wide enough for that to occur. About another mile into the canyon you arrive at the arch.
The arch is surprisingly easy to miss. When I heard about it, I thought it would stretch across the trail, but in reality, its tucked next to the wall. A couple walked by our party and we asked about they arch, and they said they did not see it, I think they simply walked past it and did not bother to look up. We ate lunch here and climbed onto the arch and took a few pictures. After doing that though, I somewhat suggest you not doing that. Rock is hard, but surprisingly brittle. I could feel the arch giggle a little when someone else was climbing onto the arch with me. I did not like that feeling very much and I would hate to be responsible for the arch collapsing too.
At this point we continued far another half mile. The trail at this point begins to get a lot more treacherous, but not impossible to pass. We turned around though because one of our party members was feeling a little light headed, an effect that is never good to have while hiking. I strongly recommend this hike to anyone though. It is a blast!