North and west of Zion Canyon lies the remote backcountry of the Kolob. This area became a second Zion National Monument in 1937, then was added to Zion National Park in 1956. You'll see all but one of the rock formations present in the park and evidence of past volcanic eruptions.
Two roads lead into the Kolob. The paved five-mile Kolob Canyons Road begins at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center just off I-15 and ends at an overlook and picnic area; it's open year-round. Kolob Terrace Road is paved from the town of Virgin (15 miles west on Hwy. 9 from the South Entrance Station) to the turnoff for Lava Point; snow usually blocks the way in winter.
Kolob Canyons Visitor Center
Although it is small and has just a handful of exhibits, this visitor center (435/772-3256, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily in spring and summer, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily in fall and winter) is a good place to stop for information on exploring the Kolob region. Hikers can learn current trail conditions and obtain the permits required for overnight trips and Zion Narrows day trips. Books, topographic and geologic maps, posters, postcards, slides, and film are sold. The visitor center and the start of Kolob Canyons Road lie just off I-15 Exit 40.
Kolob Canyons Road
This five-mile scenic drive winds past the dramatic Finger Canyons of the Kolob to Kolob Canyons Viewpoint and a picnic area at the end of the road. The road is paved and has many pullouts where you can stop to admire the scenery. The first part of the drive follows the 200-mile-long Hurricane Fault that forms the west edge of the Markagunt Plateau. Look for the tilted rock layers deformed by friction as the plateau rose nearly one mile.
Taylor Creek Trail, which begins two miles past the visitor center, provides a close look at the canyons. Lee Pass, four miles beyond the visitor center, was named after John D. Lee of the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre; he's believed to have lived nearby for a short time after the massacre.
La Verkin Creek Trail begins at Lee Pass Trailhead for trips to Kolob Arch and beyond. Signs at the end of the road identify the points, buttes, mesa, and mountains. The salmon-colored Navajo sandstone cliffs glow a deep red at sunset. Timber Creek Overlook Trail begins from the picnic area at road's end and climbs one-half mile to the overlook (elev. 6,369 feet); views encompass the Pine Valley Mountains, Zion Canyons, and distant Mount Trumbull.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition