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Destination Peak - Zion National Park

Rewarding summit hike into seldom explored and rarely seen parts of East Zion.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 6.2 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview :  Driving East on Highway 9 toward Mt. Carmel Junction is a tremendously rewarding experience. Twists and turns lead to elevation gains,... 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. Parking and Trailhead

Located immediately on your right as you emerge from the long 1.1 mile Zion Tunnel is a small parking lot and restroom. This is the parking lot for the Zion Overlook trail and also holds the only restroom facilities on this side of the park. If this parking lot is full, use the Overlook trail - overflow parking lot further down the road on the... More

2. Hiking Gifford Canyon

Gifford Canyon is a common hiking area for people interested in a little more than an established trail. The wash is wide, with nice slickrock falls and fallen trees. Walk along Gifford Canyon until you find a very large sandy area below a dryfall that enters the canyon from a shear dropoff on the East side (about 3/4 mile). Walk toward the... More

3. Exit Gifford Canyon

Hiking up this new wash for a short distance you will be greeted with a buttress wall about 30 feet high. Continue to follow the stream bed until you emerge onto a hillside of slickrock. Sparse trees and bushes dot the hillside. Toward the skyline to your right is a very prominent cliff and to your left is a series of cliff faces with pine... More

4. Shelf System Scramble

Continue to work your way higher until you reach the cliff and shelf system on the South side of the hillside. From here look for the ridge heading higher off to your left, this is the direction of travel. I looked for cairns and any other trail markers but did not find one until reaching the top. There is a lot of animal activity in the area... More

5. Sandstone Bowl

Upon entering the sandstone bowl avoid the temptation of hiking down into the bowl. Instead work your way along the inside rim, where the red sandstone meets the white rock creating a nice walkway. Once inside the bowl pick the easiest route to the top. The closer you are to the path the water takes the easier it will be to climb up and out ... More

6. Plateau

A nice walk waits upon reaching the Plateau. Head North. Looking East you will see the Twin Hoodoo Peak on your Right and Peak 6310 on your left. Only 1/4 mile separates the two peaks. The saddle between the two is part of the Parunuweap Pass
hike. To the West is a beautiful view of a seldom seen part of Zion National Park. Hidden behind... More

7. East-West Canyon

As you continue North on the Plateau begin to look for a way to descend slowly into the canyon. By dropping down a few hundred yards from the ridge and continue to work your way North, you will be rewarded with a series of "sliced" Hoodoos and steep but negotiable ledge systems. Looking at Destination Peak you will notice a massive 100+ foot... More

8. Eye of the Needle

About half way down the shelf systems into the East-West canyon you will be greeted with an interesting split in one of the walls. The natural decision is turn right at the wall and move higher in an attempt to go around. Or, turn left and bushwack your way around below. Go directly through the needle and proceed to the sandy gully below.

9. Fan shape wall - Start Ascent

Once the Fan shaped 40' foot high wall is reached, walk around to the South side for a spectacular view into the East - West Canyon.

Now, backtrack about halfway along the Fan shaped wall and look at the ledge system. You need to work the weakness in the face and arrive at the top to begin your Ascent of Destination Peak.

The ledge systems... More

10. Ascent to Shoulder

From your current advantage spot sitting on top of the "Fan" shaped wall, it is easy to spot your course of travel. Looking North, just to the left of your current ridge line is a steep scramble / slickrock combination leading to a vegetative chute near the "V" shape. To the left is a small peak. To your right is the prominent "false summit"... More

11. The Squeeze

Just below the shoulder where the canyon squeeze's to it's narrowest point is a short 13' feet 5th class climb. To the right is a sand filled ledge about 10' below which is a good place to tie off your pack if you wish to pull it up the hazard. Work your way to the left and make the short climb to a level spot just above. The climb is short with... More

12. Shoulder

The Shoulder is reached after a painfully slow hike through 200 feet of sand. Turn right and begin the much easier climb to the Summit following just to the right of the ridge line. Caution loose rock. The "false summit" continues to tease your eye as it stretches to the right. As you emerge from your last obstacle, the true summit is obvious ... More

13. Destination Peak Summit

Carry your stone the last few steps and add it to the meager pile surrounding the glass jar. Sign the registration and enjoy the breathtaking views into an area of the park few will ever witness. And I do mean few, I was the eighth person to sign the registration since the first signing in 2007.