Kolob Canyons is the western most section of Zion National Park and the access point is located on Interstate Highway 15 about 17 miles south of Cedar City, Utah. The signage is easy to spot and Kolob Canyon Road is paved, so any practically any kind of vehicle can do the trip. Kolob Canyons can also be accessed by trekking the lengthy hiking trails in the main section of the park. There are also several foot trails along Kolob Canyon Road that follows the creek beds and dry washes into this majestic red rock landscape that are well worth checking out. The west end of the Colorado Plateau at Kolob Canyons is composed of narrow box canyons and 2.000 foot tall cliffs, so hiking through this extremely diverse terrain can be a real challenge. Because of environmental and safety concerns, most of the Kolob Canyons trails require a permit that is easy to obtain at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, which is conveniently located at the entrance to this section of the park. Trail maps and all the information that one could possibly need are freely available in this facility, so this is the best place to start a Kolob Canyons adventure.
The majority of Kolob Canyons visitors simply do a scenic drive through this area and stop to take pictures from the many overlooks. This views of this unique landscape certainly are mesmerizing and it is very easy to capture an image that is worth framing back home. The vivid colors of towering canyon walls glisten even during the blinding afternoon sunlight hours, so this is a place where a photographer really does not have to arrive at dawn or dusk to achieve favorable lighting conditions. In fact, the sheer immense size of the canyon bluffs will dictate what kind of camera lens can be used and those who pack wide angle glass will have better luck fitting everything into the picture frame.
Kolob Canyons does not have a campground, but there are camping options nearby in the National Forest and BLM Public Lands. The camping options inside the main section of Zion National Park are a couple hours away by car and they doo require reservations to be made months ahead of time. Overcrowding has been a major problem at the main section of Zion National Park in recent years, yet the remote Kolob Canyons area rarely sees any traffic jams. Part of the reason has to do with casual Zion visitors not realizing this section exists and the extra driving distance limits the numbers too. The remote western section of this park definitely is the perfect choice for a day trip destination and the Kolob Canyons Picnic Area at the end of the touring road offers some of the best views in the entire west. For this reason, be sure to pack a picnic basket along with some comfortable hiking shoes, because this amazing landscape has a way of captivating visitors till the sun goes down!
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