November 3, 2021

Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park: Sunrise Hiking Guide



Zion Canyon Overlook Trail · Zion National Park · Sunrise views overlooking Pine Creek Canyon at the trail's viewpoint.

Zion Canyon Overlook Trail is easily one of this national park’s most iconic hikes and is a great place to catch the sunrise. If you’re looking for an amazing hike in Zion National Park other than Angel’s Landing or The Narrows, this is a great place to start.

This beautiful hike is quick and easy with minimal elevation gain, making this a family-friendly trail. And like some of Zion’s other popular hiking spots, it leads to an incredible view of the canyon.

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Here is my complete guide to hiking Zion Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park:

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Zion Canyon Overlook Trail sunrise · Zion National Park · Amazing views of the sandstone cliffs along the Canyon Overlook hiking trail.
View of the Eastern entrance to Zion’s Mount Carmel Tunnel from the trail.

Zion’s Canyon Overlook Trail Location

Zion Canyon Overlook Trail is one of the few trails available on the eastern side of Zion National Park. The trailhead is located right by the East entrance of the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway Tunnel along Highway 9.

The viewpoint at the end of the trail overlooks breathtaking views of Pine Creek Canyon, which connects into Zion Canyon. If you came in through the eastern entrance of the park, you will be able to see the switchbacks you just drove through.

On the trail leading to this viewpoint you will also be hiking right alongside Pine Creek slot canyon. The trail is lined with amazing views of the canyon’s beautiful sandstone cliffs.  

You can find a map and more trail details on AllTrails website here.



How hard is the Zion Canyon Overlook Trail?

Zion Canyon Overlook Trail is a moderate hike that’s only about 1 mile out and back. The average hike time it takes to complete this trail is about 30 minutes (not including your stop to admire the views!). And since the trail has minimal elevation gain, this is a family-friendly hike.

Zion Canyon Overlook Trail · Zion National Park · Sunrise view from the viewpoint at Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park.
Sunrise over Pine Creek Canyon from the viewpoint.

When to Hike Zion Canyon Overlook Trail – Go for the Sunrise!

I think the best time of day to do this amazing hike is first thing in the morning. Give yourself extra time and arrive at the park before the sun comes up to catch the sunrise over stunning views of Pine Creek Canyon!

Zion Canyon Overlook Trail is a popular trail for a sunrise hike in the park because of its spectacular views. I also chose to go early since I was visiting on a holiday weekend, and anticipated the park being especially crowded. Even when it’s not a holiday weekend, expect for Zion National Park to be crowded.

I visited in September and the weather was ideal. During the cooler months in the Fall and Spring, you can avoid the dramatic temperatures of the winter and summer.

Zion Canyon Overlook Trail · Zion National Park · Sunrise view from the viewpoint at Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park.
Front row seat for the sunrise!


Zion Canyon Overlook Trail sunrise · Zion National Park · More views of the rock formations from Canyon Overlook Trail - the sunrise turns the rocks almost pink in color.
Views from the trail.

Helpful Tips for Hiking Zion Canyon Overlook Trail

  • Go early! I think catching the sunrise at Zion Canyon Overlook trail is a great starting point for exploring the park. Plan on getting to the park 2 hours before the sun comes up. Being one of the most iconic hikes in the park, it gets crowded and you will want to get a good spot for the Zion Canyon views.
  • The parking situation here is limited. There’s only about 10 spots near Zion Canyon Overlook’s trailhead and they fill up fast. And overflow parking options along Highway 9 is minimal. I was only able to grab a parking spot at the trailhead because I arrived before the sun came up. You can find additional parking further east on Highway 9, if all the parking spots at the trailhead are taken. (There’s another parking lot near the tunnel entrance to Zion-Mount Carmel Highway). 
  • During certain parts of the hike you will be walking over slick rock, so wearing proper hiking shoes is recommended.
  • If you opt to hike for the sunrise, bring a jacket as the cool mornings can get chilly. Another idea is to bring a canister of coffee with you to enjoy as you watch the sun come up.

Plan your visit: Check for alerts, current park conditions and more on the NPS official website here.



Have you hiked Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park to catch the sunrise? Share your experience with me in the comments below!


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About the Author

Hi I’m Rylie – Welcome to my corner of the internet!

I’m a solo traveler & photographer based in Southern California, on a mission to explore the world and inspire you to do the same.

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[…] Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park: A Hiking Guide […]

[…] I could do before the crowds entered the park – by 10am there was no parking anywhere. But the hike up to Canyon Overlook was well worth waking up early […]

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