Zion: Highlands of the Kolob Terrace

Categories: Zion

There’s a high wall of rock that ends up in many of my photos of the Kolob Terrace, and everyone else’s. Rising above Lee Valley it blocks much of the view from the valley floor but lights up a fiery red at sunset. There are not any trails that will take you to this rampart of the park but eventually I decided to try and get there. Since then I’ve made several trips to the area and eventually I made it all the way down the length of terrace, off the edge and back around the bottom. I prefer the high wildlands of Zion over the deep and beautiful canyons and this area is a great example of that kind of terrain.

The high and complex terrain above Lee Valley. 

The views are spectacular.

Typical terrain on this hike. Go up or go down? You’ll probably have to try both.


The whole area is rife with fantastic hoodoos.

Some delicate formations not to be used as handholds.

A nice mix of rock types and a happy little pine growing in the perfect spot.

The hike is sort of divided into 4 or 5 sections. This is near the end of the third section and is where things start to get really spectacular but also rugged and confusing. On this trip I was trying to get to the castle like formations in the distance on the left.

Often times when you are out in the middle of nowhere the birds get excited to see a human where are usually no humans. They will start checking you out.

It took me so many trips because this is the kind of terrain I was dealing with. Lots of trial and error climbing up and down steep slopes to work my way farther down the terrace. A lot of dead ends but great experiences most of the time.

I saw the hole in this arch from far away and I was not only amazed that I was able to get all the way to it, but it also ended up being larger than it looked from a distance. I was able to crouch through it. I love how it looks like it’s growing away from the wind like a tortured tree.

A view from through the arch and one of the really interesting plants that grows in isolated places in the highlands. Does anyone know what it is?

A close up of some of the fine textures on the rock in this area of the park.

It was getting late, so it was time to turn back. Always getting late…

After spending so many hours in the rock towers it felt strange to return to the forest.

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