The 10.6-mile East Rim Trail begins near the East Entrance of Zion National Park and follows an old logging road as it climbs (and climbs and climbs) up the sandstone ridge and into a forest of cedar and ponderosa pine. Just after the crest of the trail, we passed Stave Spring (more accurately, Stave Damp-Spot-in-the-Grass) at 5.6 miles. Unfortunately, many of our fellow hikers turned around at Stave Spring and hike back to the East Entrance trailhead. We continued on and discovered the real treat of the hike - a panoramic view of Echo Canyon from the top of the rim. The view was awe inspiring, and a little daunting to realize how far away the junction with the Observation Point Trail was. (As the crow flies, it wasn't terribly far, but since we weren't crows, we had to hoof it!) From the rim we began a dramatic (or, knee-busting, breathtaking, you're-going-to-feel-this-one-tomorrow) descent into Zion Canyon. Although the descent was a little tough, we were well-rewarded by the changing scenery and gorgeous rock formations as we crossed the ravine and ascended slightly to meet the Observation Point Trail. Slipping through a slot in the rocks, we found ourselves at the top of the crazy switchbacks that led down to the Weeping Rock Trailhead. Although I wouldn't take little children on the hike for its sheer length, my 12-year-old and 16-year-old sons loved it. The second half was better than the first, although I wouldn't want to hike it from Weeping Rock because of the hellacious climb it would be.
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