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Separation Point - Zion National Park - Utah, United States

by steve625  
with a Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx
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After a day of hard hiking to the East Temple Saddle, Linda and I were looking for a nice leisurely stroll through the backcountry of Zion.  Separation Canyon had caught my eye a couple of times in Bo Beck and Tanya Milligans guide.  Separation Canyon is a short hike, logging in at 2.8 miles (roundtrip), and is one of the easiest approaches to a view point looking into the Parunuweap area of Zion National Park.

Saturday was predicted to have storms, which is always a concern when hiking in the Park.  The massive slickrock slabs catch a lot of rain and funnel it into canyons creating flash floods, something I hope to never experience in my lifetime.  The sky was cloudy, but didn't appear to be threatening with a downpour as we made our way to the trail head. 

Setting the odometer on the east side of the small tunnel, we drove 2.5 miles along hwy-9 toward Mt. Carmel Junction.  Stopping at a small pull-out (big enough to hold 2 cars) we loaded up the packs and turned on the GPS.  The trail is obvious dropping down the steep embankment to the south and into Clear Creek.   Turning downstream, follow the creek around the "S" shaped flow about 400 yards.  On the left is a series of ridges and pine trees.  Follow the obvious path leading into the vegetation and up the slickrock, the trail uses the ledge system to arrive at a large slab covered with lava rock.

Turning south, walk up the short lava covered slab to the ridge line and down the other side.  You have now arrived in Separation Canyon.  Take a few minutes and hike down stream to where the wash passes through a series of desert tanks before it drops into Clear Creek.  This is known as Twisted Falls.
Heading upstream, follow the wide slickrock wash.  There are beautiful desert tanks and the canyon stream bed narrows on occasion.  Work around these areas on either the right or left following the line of least resistance.

Close to the 3/4 mile point the wash divides.  Directly ahead is a small outcropping known as Separation Point.  Turn left if hiking to the saddle for a view into Parunuweap canyon or if you want a 4th class scramble to the Point.  You'll notice a short black capped hoodoo on the left, just before entering a slickrock bowl.  Turn right up the sandy bank to where the vegetative ridge meets the slickrock.  This is the direction of travel to Separation Point.  Caution, steep slickrock.  Choose your route with care, and see your line of travel before moving.  There is plenty of weakness and good ledge systems, but the exposure quickly turns extreme.  Soon the grade becomes more gradual and making your way to the "nipple" becomes easier.  The nipple is a short steep scramble to the summit, but the hand holds are easy to find and there is good footing.  Use caution as this section of the Point is fractured and many slabs are loose.  I did not find any kind of summit register.

Turn right (as the wash divides) if you are looking for a nice 3rd class scramble to the Point.  In either case the last 20' feet to the summit is solid 4th class scramble, so be prepared with webbing to aid weaker climbers or to assist in the descent.

The summit view is beautiful and a panorama of sights into Parunuweap canyon is stunning.  I was luck to have Linda with me on such a beautiful day and the sound of her playing the bagpipes (in-spite of the cold) made for a perfect weekend.

Backcountry Route! Safely hiking backcountry routes depend on your own good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant attention to your surroundings. Your safety is your responsibility.

Equipment:  25' webbing, good shoes for slickrock scrambling.
Water: 1-2 liters, full sun,
Permit: NOT required.
Box lunch is fun on this hike.
Photos: See all pictures and videos from Separation Point - Zion National Park
Comments (1)
Very nice! Any chance you'll be creating a guide for this? You other Zion guides are so helpful!
by chris on Nov 15, 2011
Trip Info
November 12, 2011
Trip Location: East Zion, Utah, United States
Length: 2.8 miles
Duration: 3 hours
Activity: Hiking
Trip viewed 996 times
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