Just 20 miles north from the Zion National Park west entrance is the Kolob Canyons portion of the park. It was an easy drive from our RV park almost all on the I-15 freeway. We gained another 3,000 feet in elevation and hit a lot more snow. Our day was sunny and close to 50 degrees, so the roads were completely clear. This time of year the canyon seems to be quiet and traffic-free. More glorious red cliffs and narrow canyons to enjoy in the fresh, cool pine-scented air.
Only one trail was open, the South Fork of the Taylor Creek, with about 6-8 inches of snow. The trail descends steeply down to the stream. We both enjoy hiking in snow—the area was hushed with only a slight breeze occasionally shaking the snow off the tree limbs hitting the ground with a soft thud. The path follows the valley upstream, at first on the south side but later on either side as it crosses the creek several times--the water is fast flowing but shallow and easily crossed. Since we were unfamiliar with the trail, we were relying on a previous hiker’s footsteps. The footsteps ended after a mile and we were unable to reach the narrow canyon at the end of the trail.
I get to gawking at all the red rock cliffs, the pretty bubbling stream, and animal tracks in the snow. Before you know it, Mike is way ahead and yelling that I will soon be cougar bait if I do not get going. Yeah, yeah, I hear you….then I got nervous and picked up the pace.