It’s no secret I am not enthusiastic about hiking on popular trails with lots of folks around. The hike out to Northgate Peaks in Zion National Park has to be timed right or you will come across lots of families since the first couple miles are easy. Our hike was 6 miles with 1100′ of climbing all at the turnaround point. The summit at the turnaround is 7100′ and it offers a sweet, sweet view!
We started up on the Kolob Terrace which is creased by wide valleys and deep canyons. From the parking lot the easy trail heads out through meadows with towering ponderosa pines. After just a couple miles the sandstone mountains start to tower above the wooded plateaus. Most of this area is protected in the 124,406-acre Zion Wilderness Area so dogs and motorized anything aren’t allowed. The official trail ends at the edge of a volcanic rocky jumble with views of the gleaming white cliffs including 7,395-foot North Guardian Angel and its long sweeping ridges.
We didn’t turn around here though. After continuing down a rocky embankment on a lesser traveled trail, we turned up onto eastern Northgate Peak. Up until this point there was very little elevation gain; that was about to change. The climb up the rock face is steep and extremely narrow trail continues on up to the summit. We timed it right and had the summit to ourselves to wander around and take pictures before heading down.
Derek is experimenting with a masa pretzel recipe. Tonight is the first go around so we’ll see. He isn’t expecting perfection the first time around which is difficult because he is a perfectionist.