The goal was to travel to Zion National Park to try to hike to a large arch in Hepworth Wash, south of the Zion Tunnel. David and I hiked several miles up Gifford Canyon and then climbed up about 900 feet to a pass into Hepworth Wash. Along the way, there were a lot of cliffs that required some overhand rock climbing. The pass is one of the highest points in Zions National Park and from there you can appreciate the part of the park that most people never see.
While we could see down into Hepworth Wash, we could not see the arch we were looking for and there is no way to descend into the canyon. It was growing late and we were exhausted. This turned out to be much bigger country than we were used to.
On the way back, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye, about a half-mile away. After a while we catch the sight of someone trying to climb down the cliffs at the very end of Gifford Canyon. From where we are it doesn’t look possible. I believe that they will probably be stranded up there for the night. However, sometime later, a lone hiker catches up with us as we descend one of several dryfalls in Gifford Canyon. We stop to swap hiking stories with Karen T. from Salt Lake City, who did get up and then down the cliffs at the end of the canyon. She indicates that she enjoys hiking the canyons of southern Utah as often as possible.
Cool! — A canyon hiking girl!
The next day, October 1st, we choose to visit the center fork of Taylor Creek in the Finger Canyons of Zion National Park, not far south of Cedar City Utah. This involved a longer hike but with not much elevation change. Along the way, we passed the Fife Cabin.
Further up the trail, we encountered the Larsen Cabin.
After that, we entered the canyon proper and enjoyed the hike in the cool shade of pines and cliffs. The trail ends for most hikers at a small waterfall about 1.75 miles into the canyon. Just before that, on the south side of the cliffs is a double alcove. The alcove on top is actually a class ‘B’ natural arch called Double Alcove Arch.
The hike out of the canyon wasn’t quite as enjoyable in the late afternoon heat.