Analysing terrain data
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The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
The Hidden Canyon hike begins at the Weeping Rock trailhead (TH).
In Zion National Park, hikers use the free shuttle to get to many trailheads.
The shuttles run most of the year, excepting January 1st – February 15th.
Check online before planning your trip to Zion, there are periodic changes to the schedule.
The shuttle stop for this TH is #6: The Grotto.
As with all routes originating along the shuttle route, this trek begins on a wide, paved path.
That make the initial ascent feel much easier and allows for easy gawking at the beauty of the surroundings.
This portion shares the trail heading for Observation Point.
At about half a mile, there is a signed intersection where the Hidden Canyon Trail goes right.
This unpaved trail heads upward immediately. The switchbacks take hikers to areas that traverse cliffs with extremely narrow footing.
There are sections with bolted-in chains to hold onto as you navigate the carved-in skinny rock ledge.
If you relish a bit of excitement, this is the perfect route; if your palms sweat when you climb a ladder...
perhaps this one is not for you. The next part will situate hikers above a 1,000-foot abyss, so best pay attention! Following the high, ledgy stretch, the route continues into a lovely, shaded sandy canyon floor.
This narrow canyon is one to avoid in rainy weather due to the danger of flash floods.
In such a location, there is nowhere to escape the torrents of water! Once the actual trail peters out, hikers can keep meandering until the canyon is blocked by a vertical wall.
This is a logical (and necessary) turn-around point.
On the return trip, look for a pretty little free-standing arch shortly after the turn-around.
Many hikers stride right past it without even noticing its existence.
Zion calls for a slower pace and a heightened observational sense in order to fully appreciate its wonders. The Hidden Canyon hike is short in mileage at 2.8 miles roundtrip, but it is long in adventure and scenery.