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Northgate Peaks - Kolob Terrace

An alpine hike to a viewpoint between Peaks. A difficult route extension to the summit of both peaks is provided.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 6 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview :  As temperatures rise to triple digits in the main canyon of Zion National Park, a hiker is left with few choices: 1) Continue to ride ... more »

Tips:  The summit of both Northgate Peaks is a Backcountry Route extension off a maintained trail! Safely hiking backcountry routes depend... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Parking and Trailhead

Heading toward Zion National park on Hwy-9, turn north on the Kolob Reservoir road, located on the east side of Virgin, Utah. The road is narrow, but paved.

Stop at the Northfork trailhead parking lot (this parking lot is the end of The Subway hike and often hikers are attempting to set up a shuttle system by dropping off their car at the bottom... More

2. Maintained trail

A single path leads east, information board, and trash cans mark the spot. The hiking is level class 1 with a maintained easy trail.

3. Junction with Wildcat Canyon Trail

The path merges with the Hop Valley trail and continues east. Another junction soon separates Hop Valley trail and The Subway Trail - Northgate Trail again by turning south.

4. Junction between The Subway and Northgate Peaks

The Subway Trail and Northgate Trail junction. The Subway Trail continues east dropping down into the canyon, while the Northgate Trail continues south along the plateau.

5. Alpine Hiking

Mostly shaded by Ponderosa Pine trees, the wide path meanders toward large slickrock caps that are starting to make an appearance between the trees.

6. Lava Point

The Lava Point marks the end of the maintained trail. South is The North Guardian Angel framed by Northgate Peaks on both the East and West side

7. Leaving Maintained Trail for Backcountry Route Extension

Drop off the lava point to the left (east) follow the well worn path to the northern side of Northgate Peaks East. The path is well marked, class 2 backcountry route.

8. Northgate Peaks East Summit Ascent

Many cairns mark a well worn path to the Summit of Northgate Peaks East. The path is easy class 2, not maintained, but only modest slickrock exposure.

9. Summit of Northgate Peaks East

Views east toward Rams Peak and The Subway trail. Views south allow viewing of The South Guardian Angel, towering behind The North Guardian Angel. Views north and north-northwest are of Pine Valley Peak, and all the other rock formation for which this section of the park is famous.

10. Bushwacking to Northgate Peaks West Northern Ramp

Backtrack off Northgate Peaks East. Note: the ascent of Northgate Peaks West is a difficult Class 3+ exposure. Continue only if you have steep rock skills and experience. If not; return to lava point for the trail back to the parking lot.

To continue: Follow the wash and faint path to the south, soon a wash junction is apparent which heads... More

11. Northgate Peaks West Northern Ramp

Follow the wash until a ramp leading to the north ridge line is found.

12. Northgate Peaks West Slickrock Scramble

Northgate Peaks West is slickrock scramble with Class 3+ exposure and should only be attempted by those with steep slickrock skills and good shoes. An ample shelf systems exists to ascend up the north face. Move toward the east face as needed to reach the saddle between the minor and major peak. There is plenty of weakness and good footing on... More

13. Crux Class 3+ Slickrock Scramble

The crux is located just below a pair of young pine trees located about 40' feet apart. I used a 7mm 75' static pull rope to loop around the tree for the descent. No harness was necessary, but holding onto the rope allowed for easily access to the shelf system below.

14. Summit of Northgate Peaks West

The summit is obtained by hiking up the class 2, chossy ridge to the point. Two points exists, no summit cairn was found. GPS puts the summit at the south hoodoo. South -southwest is the distinctive shape of Tabernacle Dome.

15. Backtrack to wash, ascent to plateau

Descent Northgate Peaks West using the same shelf systems. At the wash, head directly east up the hill to the plateau. Continue east until you connect with the trail. Return to parking lot.