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Parunuweap Pass - Zion National Park

Rewarding but difficult day hike into seldom explored East Zion.
id_2801828
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 6.4 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview :  You've hiked Angles Landing, Emerald Pools, Observation Point or Weeping Rock and you think you know Zion National Park, think again... more »

Tips:  Backcountry Route! Safely hiking backcountry routes depend on your own good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant attention to ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Small Tunnel Enterence and Trailhead

Park at the entrance to the small tunnel, there is a path immediately visible that descends into the wash below.

2. Clear Creek Hiking

Hike West following the flow of Clear Creek

3. Recommended Alternate Entry Point

An alternate entry point into Clear Creek can be found about .4 miles before reaching the Small Tunnel entrance. A nice pull out is available on the North side of the road heading toward the Main Tunnel. A trail on the South side drops into Clear Creek just before the junction to Parunuweap Pass. I would highly recommend this entry point. The... More

4. Clear Creek & Parunuweap Pass Junction

At this juncture, Clear Creek continues to follow the road West, and there is a wash that can be seen heading to the South. Hike up Parunuweap wash. You will begin to gain elevation, slowly at first, but the closer you get to Parunuweap Pass the steeper the terrain.

5. Halfway Falls

Halfway Falls is the first obstacle, it is located on your left near a dryfall. The dryfall is easy to overlook, because your eyes are drawn to the dark recess of the slot canyon. The slot canyon becomes impassible about 20 feet into the close damp walls, but if you've never ventured into the wet close quarters now is your chance to experience... More

6. Parunuweap Wash Hiking

Continue hiking up Parunuweap Wash, slick rock slabs, drainage obstacles, hoodoos and bushwacking become the norm.

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7. Scramble to Parunuweap Pass

The trail becomes steep and bushwacking becomes the norm, scramble in loose rock and fallen trees up toward the saddle. Note: There is a slick rock slab to the right that you might be able to negotiate around all the bushwacking. It can be seen clearly from the saddle but could be difficult to determine when and how to enter.

8. Parunuweap Pass

At the top of the the scramble you will have reached Parunuweap Pass. The saddle delineates the drainage to the North and South. At the saddle are two "squatted" Hoodoo's which make a nice place to rest and enjoy the view South into Crawford Wash and Parunuweap Canyon. To the North are the recognizable monoliths of Zion National Park.

9. Slickrock Ridge

Looking West-NorthWest toward peak 6310 locate the small ridge formed at the top of the slickrock slab you are currently standing on. This is your next destination. Follow the ridge North until you can drop down and across the gully to the other side, backtrack South to the slickrock bowl and wash; continue West. The dry falls can be negotiated... More

10. Obstacle

As you reach the head of the drainage you will encounter your next Obstacle. Turning Right at the sheer face you'll find a fault line with trees and a ledge system to help you negotiate to the top. The higher you proceed up the fault line the easier it will be to step up and over the obstacle's face. Backtrack down into the slickrock bowl that ... More

11. White Hoodoo Lookout

From the White Hoodoo Lookout turn around and look up toward the saddle that spans the 1/4 mile between Peak 6310 (North) and Twin Hoodoo Peak (South) that is your next destination. Scramble up the Fault Line again using the ledge system and natural formations of trees and bushes to make your ascent. About halfway up look back toward the White... More

12. Twin Hoodoo Peak & Peak 6310 Saddle

As you obtain the Saddle, an impressive panorama to the West opens before your eyes. Looking North the Impressive East Temple stands, behind it looms the Mountain of the Sun. This is your chance to bag a couple of peaks if that is your goal. To the North Peak 6310 and to the South the Highest Hoodoo of Twin Hoodoo Peak. Both appear to be... More

13. Twin Hoodoo Peak Decent

The task now is to head South toward the Twin Hoodoo and keeping them on your left side. You will be using the natural wide shelf system of rock formation to make your decent. Drop down about three good size ledges before you move South with the Hoodoo's on your left. If you cut to close to the Hoodoo, you'll have to back track to scramble down... More

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14. Wooded Peak

From the Wooded knoll head Southwest toward the head of Gifford Canyon. Your point of reference is a predominate White Capped Hoodoo about 1/2 mile down and to your right. The Hoodoo sits on the edge of the east cliff of Gifford Canyon and to the North of the Slickrock bowl which is your goal.

Bushwacking and game trail following is the norm as... More

15. Cliff Side Gifford Canyon Hoodoo

Once you reach the Cliff Side Gifford Canyon Hoodoo, skirt along the South side to the ledge overlooking the Canyon. From this vantage point you have a chance to study your decent into Gifford Canyon. This is very important and I missed getting some of the pictures to help (sorry).

Think of your route as a large "U" shape, your goal is... More

16. Tall Gifford Dryfall

After some bushwacking and scrambling across fallen logs you are now standing at the top of the Black vertical slab with the 250 foot dryfall still on your left. An impressive view of Gifford Canyon lays before you with a shear drop off at your feet.

17. Black Cap Hoodoo's

Bushwacking is the ad-nausea as you work your way along the West side of Gifford Canyon. Staying close to the cliff will make your way easier, but not much. Back tracking and re-route finding become typical. Keep your eye on the prize and the Black Cap Hoodoo's on your right side as you scramble up a ramp to the small saddle. At this point you... More

18. Sandstone bowl and small dryfall

Once you reach the slickrock bowl, continue through the wash and use the ledge system & natural weaknesses on the North side to work your way to the bottom of Gifford Canyon

19. Gifford Canyon Hiking & Dryfall #2

Hike down Gifford Canyon until you come to another dryfall. To the left, you'll see a trail leading through the trees. This trail is steep and loose dirt footing, use the trees to catch your balance and in about 50 feet you arrive at the canyon floor once again.

20. Gifford Canyon Dryfall #3

Continue hiking down canyon until a third dryfall is reached. Staying on the left side (West) work your way higher toward the pine trees which allow for weaknesses. Carefully use the weaknesses and ledge systems to work your way down this large slickrock slab. Caution loose rock.

21. Final Dryfall & End of Trail

The final Dryfall is reached with the end in sight. Paths lead to both the left and right of the dryfall. I followed the right hand side path down into the gully and up the opposite side to the parking lot for Overlook trail.