Overview: As the shuttle crowded with Zion Canyon visitor's makes it's way slowly up the main canyon, the second stop is the lookout for Court... more »
As the shuttle crowded with Zion Canyon visitor's makes it's way slowly up the main canyon, the second stop is the lookout for Court... more » of Patriarchs. The announcer says "This short 100 yard climb will take you to a lookout point for a beautiful view of the Court of Patriarchs. Including Abraham, Issac & Jacob". Before you get back on the bus, with eyes shaded, look up past the lookout, up, up and up the solid stone face to the summit of the mountain at an elevation of 6722 feet. If the view was good at 100 yards, what would it look like from up there? Welcome to the Mountain of the Sun.
Note: Due to the narrow confines of the canyons, my GPS unit did not record the entire trip. I edited out the wild jumps upon satellite re-link and deleted parts of the trip that overlapped the same area.
Special Thanks to Bo Beck and Tanya Milligan for their Zion National Park hiking guide. Their link can be found under "Other Links and Resources". less «
Backcountry Route! Safely hiking backcountry routes depend on your own good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant attention to ... more »your surroundings. Your safety is your responsibility.
Average hiking time is at least 10 hours, the approach to this summit hike is long with lots of elevation gains and losses.
Take plenty of water (4 liter) I took 3 liter on a cool 70 degree day and took my last swallow just before exiting Pine Creek. I also stashed a liter at the base of the ramp so I wouldn't have to carry the weight up the mountain.
Sticky rubber shoes is a must for this hike, DO NOT attempt in plain tennis shoes, the slick rock scrambles require sure footing as the exposure can be deadly, sure footing is a MUST!
I recommend at least 80' feet of rope, although not a technical climb, the amount of webbing I saw is a good indication that most people felt more comfortable with some extra security.
Do NOT hike this trail if there is the potential for rain. Emergency bivouac gear is recommended.
Have plenty of energy foods! Bring a good camera! less «
As you exit from the 1.1 mile long tunnel immediately to your right is the small parking lot for Overlook trail and the only Bathroom facilities on this end of the park. Continue on toward Mt. Carmel Junction .4 miles, the second large drainage is Upper Pine Creek. On the North side of the road is two small parking pullouts, use caution making U... More turn.Less
A little over 1/2 mile hiking Upper Pine Creek on the right hand side of the wash is a beautiful waterfall (or dryfall). Just past the waterfall as the canyon begins to get clogged by brush is another dryfall on the left hand side, this is the best place to exit the Creek bottom. Using the natural ledge system and sometimes hiking straight up... More the wash, work you way to the top of the dryfall.Less
The first major obstacle is the dryfall at the end of the slick rock drainage. On the left hand side is a series of weaknesses and ledge systems that is the bedding ground for the mountain sheep in the area, following their tracks, droppings and hoof prints as you can recognize the weakness in the ledges and pick your way to the top. A bit of... More bushwacking is needed at the top. Once achieved work your way back down to the slick rock bowl just above the dryfall.
Caution: Sheep CAN go where people can't! And remember the sand they use for bedding is scattered and slick.Less
Upon reaching the first Saddle, breathtaking views to the West open up in a Panorama of massive sandstone mountains. The West Temple is framed by East Temple on the left and Twin Brothers on the right looking down and across Spry Canyon. Back over your shoulder equally breathtaking views of the terrain you just covered.
Walking South along the Saddle, look for weakness in the slick rock for your decent to the Canyon Floor behind Twin Brothers. Follow a Zig Zagging pattern first on the South side of the dryfall, then working your way to the North side, several large Pine Trees offer good weakness and ledge systems to pick your way lower. I spotted several Cairns... More in this area and upon my return trip noted that if I had stayed high and to the North from the first Cairn I would have reached the Canyon Floor much further North without having to backtrack up the wash.Less
For the next 1/2 mile, this steep, hard, boulder strewn decline becomes the norm as you pick your way down the wash. Staying to the right is bushwacking and sand, with good hand holds made from roots and limbs. Staying in the wash is bouldering climbs and stagnate pools, fallen trees and filler limbs. There is no easy way down, I went down on... More the sand, climb back up in the wash.Less
Work North back across the saddle and drainage until you are working your way higher up Mountain of the Sun. Choose your route with care, work your way up the drainage on the Southeast side until reaching a large, steep slab of slick rock with a small (3') buttress and fault weakness extending to a large pine tree. The fault had strong, sturdy... More bushes and good hand holds. Followed the fault until a large root system makes it easier to step up and over the buttress.Less
Immediately to your left is another Large Buttress (25') and wash heading straight up the face. This scramble covers a lot of ground and is loose sand rock but fairly easy to negotiate. Near the top and to the right is a small Pine tree and a noticeable trail. Moving sideways across the scramble, stepping up and under the tree, you will be... More rewarded with an amazing view of the Main Zion Canyon. A beautiful view of the Lodge, Wylie's Canyon, Emerald pool's trail etc, can all be seen from this viewpoint.Less
Refreshed from the views along this portion of the trail, the last ramp becomes visible. There is a FALSE ramp that is straight in front of you with an EXTREME hazard down and through a sandy, slick, angled to a drop off trying to get to it. Instead look to your left, this is the direction of travel, up through an easy to climb, dirt ramp with... More lots of strong pine trees to help with the climb. Several short ledges to step higher and soon you reach the final 200 yard scramble to the summit.Less
Carry a rock the final few steps and add to the pile. Sign the register in the metal container (special thanks to someone who took what appears to be the original register and had it laminated then returned it). The 360 degree views are spectacular, but the view into the Court of Patriarch's is everything the Tour announcer said it would be ... More(only better).Less
For the return trip My advice is "Stick with the Devil you know" if using GPS, switch to backtrack mode and follow your exact route down. Many routes lead off the Mountain of the Sun, and it is easy to find yourself in situations you are not familiar with.
Picture: Friction slide down the last 20' of rappel. Not my most favorite thing... More to do.Less