|Taylor Creek—Middle Fork
Length: 5.2 miles roundtrip
Trail Map: Zion National Park Trails Illustrated - Buy
Description: The Middle Fork of Taylor Creek is spectacular, short hike into one of the beautifully secluded canyons that hides between the iron-oxide stained fingers of Kolob Canyon. The hike into the canyon is just over 2.5 miles long, rising just under 500 feet in elevation along its route. The hike ends at its most unique feature, Double Arch Alcove. Though they are not actually arches, the landmark is exceptionally beautiful and well worth the trip. The alcove consists of a large recess that has been dug into the solid canyon stone by millennia of running water. The alcove is very deep, almost a large cave, with a sandstone roof overhead, and the stained and algae-covered stone created by water seeping through the walls. Above the alcove, the canyon wall rises overhead, framing a large proto-arch that is slowly burrowing its way, like its larger alcove sibling, into the solid wall of the Kolob finger.
Beside the famous alcove, the Middle Fork is well-known, as is most of Zion, for its red stone and the tremendous concentration of greenery within the hidden sanctuary.
Taylor Creek Trailhead
The trailhead is located on the Kolob Canyons Road, 2.12 miles off of I-15, past the Kolob Canyon Visitor’s Center. There is a parking lot situated there off to the left side of the road. The Middle Fork trail begins just to the north of the parking lot and then swings east as it falls into the Taylor Creek wash.
The Middle fork is the main route for both the North Fork and the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek. South Fork is the only one of the three hikes that does not use the Middle Fork as a starting-off point. The Middle Fork is arguably the most popular hike in the Kolob Canyon area.
(Larsen Cabin) North Fork
The North Fork empties into the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek 1.25 miles east of the parking lot. There is a historic building here, the Larsen Cabin, built in 1929, just off to the left of the trail. Continue past the cabin to the east, passing between Tucupit Point to the north, and Paria Point to the south. Gustav Larsen owned the cabin until 1933.
Double Arch Alcove
The alcove is just over a mile into the canyon, and though is possible to hike past that point, it gets increasingly more difficult, and eventually would require bushwhacking and serious scrambling to get through the undergrowth and rocks of the narrowing canyon. The alcove hides within the shadows of Paria Point, at a narrow point so close to Tucupit Point that it seems as if the Middle Fork could become slot canyon around the next bend.
Head of the Canyon
The Middle Fork drops from this steep slope, coming from the plateaus below Horse Ranch Mountain.