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Red Butte - Kolob Terrace

Technical summit hike. Stunning views. Challenging route finding required. Includes the beautiful Red Window Arch.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 2.7 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview:  Driving along the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park I am reminded, the vast majority of scenery, canyons and peaks reside... more »

Tips:  Backcountry Route! Safely hiking backcountry routes depend on your own good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant attention to ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead and Red Butte Wilderness Area

Heading toward Zion National park on Hwy-9, turn north on the Kolob Reservoir road, located on the east side of Virgin, Utah. Travel 12.5 miles, turn left onto a dirt road. The triangle shaped peak to the west is Red Butte. One gate exists that must be closed after passing through. High clearance vehicle and 4x4 wheel drive is recommended. ... More

2. Sandy trail

Follow the well marked path toward a large Ponderosa Pine tree located next to a wash. At the tree head directly up hill following the edge of the wash until locating an animal trail through the scrub oak. Turn north and begin to bushwack your way through the scrub oak.

3. First Cliff Band

Several carins exist in this area to help locate the direction of travel. Staying high and to your left helps to eliminate excessive bushwacking. Located next to a wash is a series of slickrock scrambles which allow for good footing and elevation gain until you arrive at the plateau.

4. Plateau Hiking

Continue west avoiding the cliff bands and the thick scrub oak, sage and manzanita. Arriving at a pine covered grassy area, turn north and walk along the plateau bushwacking through the smaller growths. Sticking to the small wash areas allow for easier travel.

5. Box Arch

Located at the end of the Plateau is the small Box Arch. Resting on top of a cliff band it can be easily missed. This delicate arch is approaching the end of it's life cycle and only a few inches of stone remain holding it together.

6. First Chute

Located behind the Box Arch (north) is a wash that ascends up a chute to a saddle, this is the direction of travel. Located just below the saddle to the east is a dead log and a fantastic view of Zion National Park. The West Temple can easily be spotted from this vantage point. Directly west is a large Ponderosa Pine tree and marks the next... More

7. Second Chute

Behind the large Ponderosa Pine tree is a small pine tree and a buttress approximately 8 feet high. It is possible to scramble to the right of the small tree, but I found it easy to toss a 25' foot piece of webbing around the small pine and pendulum swing over to the obvious weakness located on the left. This allows for easy access around the... More

8. Saddle with a view

Reaching the saddle, take the time to shed your pack, grab your camera and walk around on the various buttress to gaze at the panorama before your eyes. Breathtaking views exist at all points on the compass. Turn north again and follow the ridge to the next saddle. This saddle is rising from the opposite direction and the ridge line connects... More

9. Easy Mistake

Reaching the second saddle is easy along the ridge line and there appears to be a faint trail leading to the next ridge line. Avoid the temptation to scramble to the top! Although the views are great it is a dead end! Travel north and escape by rappelling down a large dead Ponderosa pine tree. Back at the saddle turn left and head down the... More

10. Dropping into west facing chute

Travel along the cliff band ridge line approx 50 feet. Watching the west side for a weakness consisting of a ledge system and large pine tree growing from the wash next to the cliff band. There should be a carin to mark the path. Scramble along the ledge until you can step onto the pine needle covered ground (caution slippery) continue to head ... More

11. Top of slickrock chute

The slickrock chute is steep and seems like the wrong direction, but use the abundant ledge system and weakness to make your ascent. About 80' feet up the slickrock chute is a difficult step (class 4). On the right is weakness and small but firm steps to climb up and over. A bush can help with balance. At the top is a large bush with webbing... More

12. Final Saddle

From the hanging tree, continue north by dropping into the chute. The final saddle is reached in about 50' feet of 3rd class scramble around more slickrock and sand. This saddle is punctuated with a large rock in the middle of the band. At this juncture, the chute drops abruptly down a steep boulder strewn wash. The cliff band to your right ... More

13. Chimney

The chimney is a beautiful 5th class climb with ample hand holds and good feet positions. Protection is a little tricky, but the climb itself is straight forward and very enjoyable. Once through the chimney, look to the left at the beautiful mini-arch before proceeding higher to the belay point and bolt.

14. Final 50 feet

The final 50 feet is 4th class scramble, but the exposure is high. Use the bolt and climb a few feet to the ledge with the large brush, work left using the ledge system then the final 20' feet of scramble to the summit. Use caution during the rappel on the descent, be mindful of the pendulum swing.

15. Red Butte Summit

Carry your stone the last few steps and move the large flat stone to find the registration bottle with paper and pen. The views are spectacular in every direction. North is the vertical red cliffs of Kolob. Looking down and to the right is the only view of Red Window Arch I could find. East is the easily identifiable peaks of West Temple and the... More