|Taylor Creek—South Fork
Length: 2.2 miles roundtrip
Trail Map: Zion National Park Trails Illustrated - Buy
Description: The South Fork of Taylor Creek hides some of the exquisitely gorgeous canyon scenery that Zion is known for worldwide. Like its North Fork and Middle Fork siblings, South Fork combines the sunset orange glow of the iron-oxide-rich canyon walls with the delicate and vibrant greenery of a hidden desert oasis. The Kolob area of the park is well-loved by those who wish to avoid the crowds, as Kolob draws far fewer tourists, leading to a quieter, more natural Zion experience.
Shorter than either of the other two fork trails, South Fork still climbs over 800 feet in elevation, though hikers do not have to climb to the turn-around point if they do not desire to. Merely a third the distance into the canyon lays a steep hill—the product of much landslide activity, erosion, and sedimentation--upon which hides a secluded canyon forest, a green gem between the rust-colored sandstone bulks of Paria and Beatty Points.
South Fork Trailhead
The South Fork trailhead is located 1.3 miles south of the Middle and North Fork trailhead (3.42 miles past the Kolob Canyon Visitors Center) on the Kolob Canyons Road off of I-15 in the Kolob Canyons area of Zion National Park. There is a parking lot at the bend in the road there, with a prominent trailhead. South Fork is directly east of the parking lot, with two of the Kolob fingers, Beatty Point to the right and Paria Point to the left. The trail leaves the parking lot—where the occasional tourists hang their cameras out the car windows for some photos of the fingers of Kolob—and meanders up and down some insignificant rises on its way into the canyon, then disappears into the forest within and begins its climb up the steep hill.
Head of the South Fork
Boulder piles lay clustered and scattered around the end of the canyon, trapped by the narrowing walls. Some of these rock piles are scalable, but eventually visitors will have to turn and go back the way they entered the canyon.
The North Fork of Taylor Creek is also a seldom-traveled route. Toward the last third of the canyon, up high on a ledge just below Horse Ranch Mountain, sits a free-standing arch.
Middle Fork is the more famous of the three Taylor Creek routes, and probably the most traveled hike in the Kolob Canyons area. Its magnificent feature is the Double Arch Alcove, an outstanding recess dug into the sandstone wall itself by thousands of years of scouring river water.