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East Rim Y


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The East Rim Y has long been an alternate trail to Cable and Deertrap Mountains. Hiking in this way missed the spectacular scenery of Echo Canyon, but also missed the long, steep climb. The East Rim Y is more or less level the whole way.

Then came the massive rockslide which blocked Lower Echo Canyon and both the Observation Point and East Rim Trails. Park officials have consulted with geologists and been told the face of Cable Rock is unstable and two more slabs are prone to peel off at any time. That means any crew trying to remove the debris would be in serious danger, and even if they removed it, any hikers using the trails would be in serious danger. The result is that for the foreseeable future, hiking from Weeping Rock up to Observation Point or to Cable and Deertrap Mountain is not going to be possible.

Suddenly, The East Rim Y Trail is the only access route to Cable and Deertrap Mountains.

The challenge is getting to the trailhead. Thanks to Ponderosa Lodge, there are passable roads for anyone wanting to drive it.

The Emerald Pools Observation Point Angel's Landing West Rim East Mesa The East Rim Y

To get there on your own, go out the East Entrance to the park. Roughly 1.7 miles east of the Zion National Park border along Route 9, turn north onto the paved North Fork Road and follow it for 5.4 miles, then turn left onto the dirt road that heads west under the Zion Ponderosa gate. This is Twin Knolls Road. Drive west for 1.2 miles, then turn left onto Buck Road. At the first junction, turn right for 0.4 miles. Then turn left. If you're driving a sedan, you may want to park here and walk the final 200 yards. With an SUV or 4wd, you can drive on down to the gate. This fence marks the Zion boundary, so you're back in the park. Be sure to close the fence behind you. The trail itself is easy. It's an almost level walk through Ponderosa forest and Sage scrublands. Out in the middle of the sage meadow, you'll come to an intersection with the East Rim Trail. Turn left. The trail climbs slightly uphill for a while and then splits. East Rim Trail heads off to the left, Cable/Deertrap Mountain Trail to the right

You'll hike uphill hrough a mixed woods of Ponderosa, Pinion Pine and Oak. As you crest the top of the hill the trees give way to a sage plateau. Here the trail splits. Most people take the left fork first and head for Deer trap Mountain. It descends gradually, then follows the rimrock above Hidden Canyon for a while. As you approach the rim of Deertrap Mountain, the trail splinters into several paths, some of which are merely game trails. But they all lead to spectacular views.

Don't spend more than an hour here before heading back. Retrace the trail back to the intersection, then turn left for Cable Mountain. First you'll hike gradually up, then crest a plateau and the views will open up in all directions. You'll hike gradually down to the promontory where the cable works were built and a tramway remains. Men timbered this plateau and lowered the logs to Zion Canyon, where the logs were used to build the lodge, cabins, visitor center, park headquarters, and ranger residences.

You'll enjoy absolutely spectacular views of Angel's Landing, Observation Point, the bend in the Zion River, and various peaks and formations across the way.

This is a good place for lunch. Stay off the tramway. It's a century old and very fragile.

As you hike back, look across the plateau and realize this was once a large and impressive Ponderosa forest, cut down to build the structures below in the canyon. The round trip should be 10.5 miles, give or take a few depending on how much wandering back and forth you did at Deertrap and Cable.

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