Pleasant hike to a natural stone amphitheater in the less-crowded Kolob Canyons area of Zion National Park.


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This is a fun, family-friendly hike in the relatively sparsely traveled Kolob Canyons of Zion National Park.

It is one of the most popular trails in the area, however, for good reason.

It is an out and back of 2.5 miles each way along a trickling stream with water crossings, rock hopping, and beautiful canyon scenery all around.

It leads into one of the “finger canyons” of Zion that cut straight and narrow into sheer cliffs. Beginning from Taylor Creek Trailhead on Kolob Canyons Road, the hike requires a short but somewhat steep climb with stairs, then lessens in gradient afterward.

The remainder of the trail bobs gently up and down along the creekbed, in and out of vegetation and boulders.

The water level is generally low but the trail crosses the stream many times.

You may be able to avoid getting your feet wet, but don’t count on it. Look up often to see sandstone walls growing taller and closing in as you hike into the “finger” of the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek.

Along the way you will pass two historic cabins, relics of 1930s settlers who lived here before it became part of the national park.

The final reward is a natural amphitheater of curved red stone called Double Arch Alcove, where running water has undercut tons of erodible sandstone.

High above, you can see the beginning of a natural arch, seemingly carved out of the face of a sheer cliff.

Below that formation is another, even more impressive work of architecture.

The cliff is worn so deeply that a cave-like alcove opens at the base.

The inside is streaked with color of red oxide, black water streaks, and green algae on the walls. It is possible to hike up and around the Double Arch Alcove to explore more of the canyon, but most turn around here.

The rest of the way is loose and overgrown.

During periods of high flow, however, you may find a small waterfall by venturing farther up.