Clear Creek

The highway 9 reaches Zion National Park from the Southeast though the far down valley formed by Clear Creek—a big, forked drainage that winds through gorgeous setting of huge white Navajo sandstone walls and vaults. It next links the prime Zion Canyon following the Pine Creek slot. Clear Creek is not normally very enclosed, still has many good short areas of narrows—all between a few minutes walk of the road, and nearly a dozen minor canyons which may or may not have slot sections though they tend only to be deep and skewed. To explore the creek, you have to pay the Zion National Park entry fee.

The creek flows right to the south of UT 9 for most of its stretch—from the connection with Pine Creek—a venue where the valley is nearly one thousand feet deep; crosses to the north side next to the park access station and cuts off into the covered bends of the Kolob Terrace. The pebble-filled streambed is normally twenty to fifty feet beneath the road and traverses many narrow sections—possibly the finest of which is on each side of the Washington/Kane country line. The creek here has two meters wide passages below high red/grey rock walls.

Almost a mile’s walk on either part of the valley should encounter some like sections, and even if not narrow, the creek is always very beautiful. Though you will find in few places the peaceful atmosphere is polluted by sound from the traffic on the nearby highway. A few portions are accountable to have long pools that last for several days following rain—may confine hiking to some extent, and you will need to take care about this fact if you are planning for hiking during those weather conditions.

There are around twelve side canyons of the Pine Creek/Clear Creek valley—from Garfield Canyon in the West, just next to the end of the road mine, to an anonymous gorge in the East opposite Checkerboard Mesa. Keyhole Canyon—1/4 miles West of the Washington/Kane country line, is the only other with a formal title. It is almost unguided but famous because of a short technical slot section that requires three simple rappels to slant. No wonder that you can enjoy the slot canyons and other small canyons according to the availability of time, and at the same time can also enjoy the beauty of Zion National Park.



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