Pine Creek Waterfall


This waterfall is beautiful, yet accessible, which is not the case for many of the more remote waterfalls of the Zion area. Pine Creek Waterfall is located within the Pine Creek Canyon itself, below the ravine that runs between Mount Spry and East Temple, and beside the switchbacks that allow the highway to climb up to the western end of the Mount Carmel Tunnel. The hike itself is very short, though rugged, complete with boulder and sand obstacles, and a lot of water. A pool sits below the fall, inviting hikers to take a moment to wade and swim—which is permitted in this area, unlike some of the other pools in the Zion area. Many hikers take the time to explore past the falls, climbing higher along Pine Creek. As visitors follow the creek upstream, the canyon closes in around them until they find themselves at the mouth of the Pine Creek Slot Canyon.

Trail Head: 37.216572, -112.965386

Trail Type: Out and Back Hiking

Length: .5 mile roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate

The majority of hikers content themselves with the half-mile roundtrip journey from the bridge to the falls and back, exploring what they may along the route. But some intrepid individuals attempt the slot canyon of the upper creek, descending over 1.5 miles through half a dozen rappels, the last one a free rappel through the center of an amazing sandstone cathedral. This route is obviously technical and strenuous, and should only be attempted by experienced, equipped canyoneers. Canyoneers would need to leave a vehicle at the Pine Creek Bridge and then drive a second vehicle back to the Overlook parking lot in order to complete this route. The cathedral descent of the Pine Creek slot canyon is argued by many canyoneering enthusiasts to be one of the best rappels anywhere.

The Pine Creek Trailhead is located on the westernmost switchback, at the bridge. From there you just follow the stream up to the waterfalls. The hike is short, though rocky and muddy in spots.

Pine Creek Waterfall sits right below the ravine that runs up between the towering East Temple and the smaller Mount Spry. During warmer months people wade in the pool below the falls.

Pine Creek has dug a challenging slot canyon into the stone below the Mount Carmel Tunnel, ending at the east entrance to the tunnel. This is a technical slot with a lot of rappelling required in order to descend from the Canyon Overlook parking lot to the Pine Creek Waterfall. Depending on the season and the amount of rainfall, there are often large pools within this part of the canyon that need to be waded between rappels.

This is not a true arch, though it will be in a few million years. Just the same, the Great Arch is famously huge and deep. Visible from the highway, the proto-arch is slowly burrowing its way in to the southeast flank of east Temple.

This marks the higher end of the Pine Creek slot canyon, situated beside the east tunnel entrance, and the beginning of a technical canyoneering hike through the slot.

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