|Now that we have moved to an RV resort a few miles outside of Zion National Park we are exploring more of the region. One of the cool places happens to be down the road from our new address less than a mile. The Kolob Terrace Rd climbs almost 7000 feet to a reservoir. The road climbs in and out of Zion National Park past beautiful, verdant horse ranches that are scattered along Kolob Creek as it meanders along towering red sandstone cliffs. You can tell when you are on park grounds by the color of the asphalt. Zion National Park’s roads are reddish asphalt, due probably to using local aggregate for the mix.
We decided to try a couple of suggested hikes up on the Kolob Plateau. We really wanted to hike to the world famous “Subway” slot canyon, but you have to pull a permit with the park service and prove that you are an accomplished canyoneer. In other words, you have and can use ropes and rappelling gear. I don’t think our walking sticks will pass muster. Think “127 Hours” where a dude was canyoneering by himself and had to chew his arm off to get free from a jamb, if you still want to bypass the park service. Do yourselves a favor and go online and look up Subway slot canyon in Utah. Google Earth does a good job with pictures also.
We went up the road about 7 miles further and parked at the trailhead to Hop Valley. I had seen some Google Earth shots of a beautiful valley with a peaceful, shallow, clear water stream running through it and thought that it would be a nice entry level hike into this little known part of the world famous park.
The scenery was beautiful and we finally did get down to the valley floor, but after a 100 years of use, the trail was worn down into deep sand for almost the entire way. As gorgeous as it was, a 6 mile walk at ‘the beach’ was tiring. At the back of the valley, where we think La Verkin Creek joins Hop Creek, there is a towering red sandstone wall about 1500 feet high that is so solid and perfect it appears to be a man-made damn. It is several miles wide. The area reminds me a lot of some of the high country near and in Yosemite where the landscape is comprised of numerous jutting granite monoliths, only these are red and gold sandstone monoliths.