One of my favorite out-of-the-way locations to visit in Zion National Park is the Double Arch Alcove. It is tucked away in the Kolob Fingers section of the park and is accessible off of Interstate 15; 40 miles from the main entrance of the park.
First off, the Kolob Fingers section of Zion is a hidden gem most people just drive right past in search of the main entrance. The park service has restricted access to most of this area to private individuals so most guided tours never even mention it. This is because most of this area of the park is a designated wilderness area and is one of the few untouched regions of Zion National Park.
The Taylor Creek Trail is located 1.5 miles up from the entrance station to Kolob Fingers. There is plenty of parking and I have never seen it full. As you start the hike, you just descend down to Taylor Creek and proceed to follow it for the next 2+ miles up into the furthest canyon to the north.
Along the way you will get the opportunity to see a cabin that was built by one of the Mormon settlers who homesteaded this canyon back in the late 1800's. The Park Service has painstakingly restored the cabin by using original tools and processes to maintain the heritage of the area. This is a reminder of those who came before us, the first witnesses of the beauty and grandeur of the region.
As you continue there will be some ups and downs, some scrambling, and there is a little bit of elevation change (450ft) as you hike up and down the canyon. This is a wilderness area so the trail is not well maintained and there will be frequent roots and rocks that you will have to step over and around along with multiple stream crossings. Also, because it is considered wilderness, group sizes are limited to 12 people.
As you round the bend and finally get to where the double arch alcove is, I hope you will have your breath taken away like I do every time I visit this spot. It is a location I like to go to that allows me to experience the peace and tranquility that nature has to offer along with witnessing the powers and forces of nature and what it can create overtime.
The alcove itself is usually always shady, and there is usually water seeping out of it and water in the stream. Except in the winter time, there is lush vegetation and I love the way that the green accents the deep hues of the red Navajo sandstone.
Plan on a good 3 to 4 hours to do this hike. I usually enjoy picnic lunch when I get up there. I also recommend that you do you the entire 5 mile scenic drive and enjoy the overlooks of the entire Kolob Fingers area.
Here are some photos of this area. Anyone interested in visiting the Kolob Fingers area now?