We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Backpack with kids?

Gunnison, Colorado
5 posts
Save Topic
Backpack with kids?

We are planning a trip to Zion in a few weeks. Does anyone know if it is possible to find a hike that is about 2-4 miles one way for a short backpacking trip with our kids?

Kipling. SK
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park
Level Contributor
6,013 posts
131 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Backpack with kids?

I am curious to know what you mean by backpack? You do not mean any type of overnight trip? You likely mean a 'daypack trip' with a lunch packed? Also, what type of terrain are you looking for? probably a flat easy to moderate trail. Also, what is the rough ages of your kids?

Here is one of the hiking guides for the park>> zionnational-park.com/hiking-zion-national-p… It lists the statistics, as well as what section of the park the hike is in. The first possible hike that is easy and in the main canyon is the Emerald Pool to Kayenta to Grotto loop. It is about 2.5 miles in length, and is popular because of the fact it is in the main canyon. Second possibility is the Middle fork of Taylor Creek/Double Arch Alcove. This hike is in the Kolob Canyons section, and is a there and back type of hike. Total Round trip is over 5 miles. You can shorten it to suit your length requirements. Third choice that may work is Northgate peaks in the Kolob Terrace section. I have not hiked this path, but I understand it is fairly easy. It is about 4 miles RT.

Note that these last two hikes are in the Kolob sections which are the higher elevation portions of the park. If you are going in a couple of weeks, the climate could eliminate these two hikes, because of the colder temps and the possibility of snow or accumulated snow.

Once we have a better understanding of your requirements, than we can narrow down your options.

Gunnison, Colorado
5 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Backpack with kids?

Thanks for your reply. We are thinking backpacking- the kids have done a few trips in Colorado (we have warm gear) but they are young so we have tried to keep the trips short but get the feel of backpacking. They are 14, 12 and 10. I have seen at least one site with photos of some campsites. So I am curious if we could maybe hike to one of those and then do a day trip to more of the typical destination.. What do you think?

Kipling. SK
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park
Level Contributor
6,013 posts
131 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Backpack with kids?

The campsites on the hiking trails in Zion are in what is referred to as the backcountry. I am hoping you are referring to these camp spots, and not the parks main campgrounds. The Zion website has a backcountry guide which has maps of the various campspots and their location and distances from the trailhead>> www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/loader.cfm…

The camping along the Zion Narrows will not fit your requirements. Make note of the climate chart as well and be informed that a lot of the hiking in the backcountry will be at the higher elevations, so will be cooler than what the chart says. Also note that permits are required, of which I do not see any problem of securing at this time of year. Also note that some hikes/areas/paths will permit 'at large camping or camping without a designated camp spot. Another hiking guide is www.citrusmilo.com , which will offer another view of the hiking that I have already provided. Hopefully those on this forum with better experience than I can fill in more details or options. I will give this subject some thought and get back to you. Please review some material and provide some of your own thoughts in the meantime.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
15,595 posts
144 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Backpack with kids?

Right off the bat I can't think of anywhere that you could hike for 4 miles, and then camp. Most of the trails would need about a 7 mile hike in. And as Widmarsh stated they are in the higher elevations, which most likely will be freezing if not snowy at this time of year.

Kipling. SK
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park
Level Contributor
6,013 posts
131 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Backpack with kids?

Doing an overnight backpack to one of the camp spots along the Lee Pass/La Verkin Creek trail may fit your requirements. The hike is a lot more level than other hikes in the park. It drops off sharply initially from the road in Kolob Canyons, but levels off and follows the drainages for the most part. The trail can be snow covered and quite muddy, but accumulated snow barring the path should be a non issue in Nov/Dec. Expect the nights to be below freezing, but it seems you are prepared for that possibility anyways. The trail report for Zion is usually seasonal, and does nothing to report daily or weekly conditions in the backcountry. Attempting to talk to the people at the Zion Wilderness desk hopefully will produce better condition updates at the time of your trip. You will need to talk to them as you obtain your permit. One of the points I saw on the trail conditions was the siting of Black Bear in the La verkin Creek area.

The other hike that has designated camp spots is the West Rim trail path. As mentioned by Kbec, the bulk of the camp spots are fairly far into the hike. Though, the sawmill site is only about a mile from Lava Point, and is available with a walk up permit. The trailhead off of the Kolob Terrace road may be inaccessible as well, as they do not clear the north portion of this road in the winter. Expect the trail conditions to be muddy, but the trail is fairly flat up on Horse Plateau from the Lava Point side. Accessing the camp spots on the West Rim trail from the Main Canyon involves steep ascents and descents, which may/will discourage your kids when added to the distances involved.

See the backpack/camping page on the zion website.>> nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/backpacking.htm

Does any of this work for you?

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
15,595 posts
144 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Backpack with kids?

That is true there are a couple campsites on the LaVerkin Creek trail that are not too far in- sites 1, 2 or 3 (3 is about 3 miles in) might work. If you camped there two nights you could take the rest of the hike into the Kolob Arch (7 miles from the TH so it would be a longish 8 mile rt from campsite 3 and back) in one day. Then pack out the last.

Another benefit to that trail would be the fact it is at a lower elevation and not as subject to snow as the upper mesas. I expect it would still be cold camping.

My review of the hike: tripadvisor.com/…CHECK_RATES_CONT

Gunnison, Colorado
5 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Backpack with kids?

Thank you for your great in-put and information! I have to say that I am now considering camping at the established campground and then doing day hikes because I do think it will be too cold if we can't build a fire. That being said, still want to find a 2-3 day back pack trip in the region...not wilderness area..any thoughts on that idea?

Salt Lake City, UT
Level Contributor
908 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Backpack with kids?

If you have your hearts set on backpacking...more power to you, as it would certainly be a challenge at this time of year with kids, with (likely) low temperatures, and for sure short daylight hours.

I'd consider the SW desert section of Zion, such as the Chinle Trail or Coalpits wash. You won't be in the midst of the spectacular, deep canyon scenery that Zion is renowned for, but you will have great views, and temperatures will be the mildest.

www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/lowlands.cfm

Gunnison, Colorado
5 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Backpack with kids?

It sounds like I should be hiking the more exciting trails and backpacking in a different area..Dixie National forest?

Kipling. SK
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park
Level Contributor
6,013 posts
131 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Backpack with kids?

Just my opinion, but if you decide to do a multi day backpack, you will have entered 'wilderness'

The Dixie Forest for the most part is at higher elevations, so again colder than the South Zion region that Bretty pointed out. Though the southwestern region of the forest near St George is at/are lower in elevation. The only trail systems that I know about are in the region of the Red Canyon visitor center, though my knowledge is limited.

The GSENM is BLM land. The elevations are lower in the southern regions, and along the escalante drainage. A popular spot for a backpack trip is the lower escalante river system itself. The canyon systems can be quite scenic, but no forest, if that is what you are looking for in terms of surroundings.

I would not totally discount hiking outside of the parks. While the rules may be a little rigid, you are still hiking on established and well known trails. The campgrounds are established, and the scenery is unmatched. With the permit system, you also have the security of someone at least knowing your rough location, in case something goes wrong. Also note that these hikes have several online descriptions and testimonials that you can reference.