This route leads through a pristine area on the east edge of Zion Park, a scenic narrow canyon with flowing water, past two waterfalls and two natural arches, to a panel of ancient Native American rock art. It can be done as a long day hike or overnight backpack. It does not require technical canyoneering skills. The area receives only light pressure from hikers. Because this area is not within the park boundaries, permits are not needed for camping, hiking or backpacking.
Trail Head: 37.2613, -112.786
Trail Type: Hiking
Length: 16 Miles Round Trip
The recommended route into Mineral Gulch is via a tributary called Meadow Creek. Hike along the ridge on the west side of the creek until the canyon deepens, then make your way into the bottom and follow the creek downstream. You'll encounter the first waterfall about 1 mile downstream, and the second about a half-mile beyond the first. If you have ropes you can climb right down the waterfalls. Alternately, you can bypass the first waterfall by hiking to the left (looking down canyon) and the second to the right, then finding spots where you can scramble back down to the creek bottom.
The Meadow Creek Trailhead is about 5.8 miles east of the Zion Park entrance booth. From that point, follow an old south for about 0.25 miles to the parking area.
Two impressive natural arches can be seen as you hike down Meadow Creek, about 7 miles from the trailhead. The first is located high on the ridge and the second is in the canyon bottom.
The route follows Meadow Creek until it enters Mineral Gulch, then descends through the narrows section of Mineral Gulch.
You will find a panel of ancient Native American petroglyphs in Mineral Gulch, near its confluence with Parunuweap Canyon. There are also several caves in this area. The canyon is deep and narrow here, and quite photogenic. If you have time, you can use this as a jumping off point to explore scenic Parunuweap, or any of several interesting tributary canyons.
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