Continuing Adventures in Eastern Zion National Park

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chandlerwest

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Feb 7, 2015
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For a handful of years now I have been exploring the hidden corners of eastern Zion National Park. On Friday @Jeffrey Chandler said "Let's go to Crawford Overlook". I said "Sure......I also had a loop trip I wanted to try some day. Go up Separation and come back Crawford." "Let's do that!!!" he replied. So Saturday morning we found ourselves making our first trip to Zion this year. The plan was to park our car near Cockeye Falls then walk in Clear Creek to the east. When we got out of the car we heard Clear Creek had running water in it. Can't say I remember ever seeing that before. Guess I had never been to Zion in the early spring. We boulder hopped for awhile but, as we knew, that wasn't going to work as the canyon tends to slot up.
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We proceeded doing everything we could not to walk the road. Walking benches and along the creek when we could. Eventually we had to exit to the road but we had fun route finding while it lasted.
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Finally we got beyond "Not Cockey Falls" (those of you who have been here know that there are two quite similar dry falls that have water occasionally) where we headed up the Separation Canyon/Route. The knob in the middle is Separation Peak. We deemed this route to be the easiest route into the Parunuweep area of Zion.
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Once on top we headed west across uncharted country. Our initial goal was to yonder saddle. We knew there was a gully/ditch/canyon hidden between here and there but at the very least we knew we could get around it at the top (we hoped.) We dropped into it when it began to feel like....we could get out of it.
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Here is Jeff on the other side, leaving me to figure out how to do it. No sweat. Just down from where we crossed it got a might cliffy.
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Enjoying the wonder of the route to the saddle.
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The view back to the east, from the saddle, to where Separation came through.
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The view to the west across what Jeff dubbed Upper Upper Crawford Wash. It was a bit of a roller coaster hike across the numerous drainages that came in from the Triplets on the right.
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I am going to slip in a picture here from the road of a gap/window that millions of people have seen.
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Here we are looking back through that gap/window. Seeing that pink/orange alcove across the way Jeff got to express "how did you get up there?" It was fun regaling him with the route I took four years ago.
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Continuing west we went to the next opening. It sort of left us stupefied with awe. Pretty expansive view of east Zion along with quite a peek into the main Virgin River canyon and West Temple. The next three photo's are from west to east.
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Trying to capture the terrain we navigated.
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Finally we reached where Crawford Wash drops off making its way to the East Fork of the Virgin.
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Now we needed to make our way north and west. Skirting the edge of the Wilderness Study Area (WSA) that is closed to the public. We were searching for a feature that has been dubbed Hidden Dragon. Can you see Jeff in this shot? Just off center speck, making his way to the ridgeline where he shouted and pointed "there it is!"
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A view into the basin that holds/is the WSA. The high point to the right are also WSA.
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That high red mass is Hidden Dragon. In itself it is nothing special but the views of the closed WSA and down the Parunuweep Pass access route was spectacular.
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North toward East Temple
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South toward the East Fork of the Virgin and Parunuweep Canyon proper.
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Looking southeast across how we got out here. And this marvelous slickrock wonderland down in the WSA.
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A view into the Parunuweep Pass access drainage. Both Jeff and I have made trips up this. He came up a ramp in the center of the photo and I somehow came up the wall nearer to us. All we could say is "ants on a wall." That is our mantra for explaining an unexplainable route.
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A couple parting shots before we find are way to the car.
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Going through the Crawford access Pass that gets us home.
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This is a view up to the saddle where we had the Expansive view of eastern Zion.
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It was quite an opening day for our year. At least we were motivated to get out (as opposed to last year) before we jump into the deep end of the pool for our June Glacier NP trip. This trip gave me a few more ideas for adventures!

Wondering around eastern Zion is one of the best decisions I have made in my life! It is like having the opportunity to "look behind the curtain."
 

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zionsky

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Dec 23, 2018
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We missed each other by a day. I went up lost peak on Friday then around the back side of the triplets to point of compassion then back thru the fin. Love that area. The ridge to crawford overlook has some crazy route finding but the views are very rewarding. Great report and pics!
 

Kmatjhwy

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Sep 23, 2016
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Headed to Zion in several weeks. Loved your trip report. Thanks!
 
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For anyone trying to look for "hidden dragon" I believe it is "parunaweap Peak" in courtney Purcell's climbing zion book. Class 3 but garbage rock on the north side of it. Also @zionsky Yeah we've traveled out to that ridge to crawford overlook and what a wonderful trip it was haha. Gotta love though that the only solid information for it is some crazy "go down then way the heck up nasty slickrock" rather than just following the ridge. We joked that from the pass west of seperation we could walk the ridge all the way to the overlook.
 

zionsky

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Dec 23, 2018
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For anyone trying to look for "hidden dragon" I believe it is "parunaweap Peak" in courtney Purcell's climbing zion book. Class 3 but garbage rock on the north side of it. Also @zionsky Yeah we've traveled out to that ridge to crawford overlook and what a wonderful trip it was haha. Gotta love though that the only solid information for it is some crazy "go down then way the heck up nasty slickrock" rather than just following the ridge. We joked that from the pass west of seperation we could walk the ridge all the way to the overlook.
I used Joe Braun's beta when I made the hike to the overlook a few years ago but somehow got off track to the west after passing by lost peak. It probably ended up saving me some vertical up and down. The frustrating part of the ridge was you could see where you were going the whole time but I kept running into cliffs and shelves while getting there
 

Miya

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Love the photo of the...moss...the green stuff haha
Thanks for the share! Looks beautiful there.
 

OldBill

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Aug 18, 2015
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Very impressive views. Need to look into it when we're out there mid-May.
 

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zionsky

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Dec 23, 2018
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Very impressive views. Need to look into it when we're out there mid-May.
It kinda goes without saying but start early if planning to explore this area in May. There is very, very little shade. IMO the entry point to this area is probably a little easier from separation canyon than from the cock-eye falls wash
 

OldBill

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Aug 18, 2015
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Thanks zion. It'd be nice to get away from the crowds but will play it safe. I found a writeup and map with route from Separation. I've got a lot of off trail experience in the Winds, but haven't done anything in the desert. Between Zion, Bryce and Grand Escalante I expect we'll find plenty of stuff that's scenic, quiet and safe.
 

chandlerwest

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Feb 7, 2015
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Thanks zion. It'd be nice to get away from the crowds but will play it safe. I found a writeup and map with route from Separation. I've got a lot of off trail experience in the Winds, but haven't done anything in the desert. Between Zion, Bryce and Grand Escalante I expect we'll find plenty of stuff that's scenic, quiet and safe.
Yes, there will be more heat but hopefully your timing will have cactus blooming!!!!!! They bring a wonderful smile to Zion. I have a list of things I want to do this spring in Zion, but I want to see the cactus, so I found myself trimming my monster hedge today.
 

John Morrow

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May 22, 2015
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Trying to capture the terrain we navigated.
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Finally we reached where Crawford Wash drops off making its way to the East Fork of the Virgin.
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I am wondering exactly what day you were there? We found two pairs of footprints at the head of Crawford Wash in the wash sands and left a couple more pairs of footprints in the wash. We were there on the 3rd and 4th. So close to the road I shouldn't have been surprised but I still was as they seemed so fresh.
 

chandlerwest

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Feb 7, 2015
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I am wondering exactly what day you were there? We found two pairs of footprints at the head of Crawford Wash in the wash sands and left a couple more pairs of footprints in the wash. We were there on the 3rd and 4th. So close to the road I shouldn't have been surprised but I still was as they seemed so fresh.
We were there on March 30th.
 

zionsky

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Dec 23, 2018
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A couple years ago when I hiked to Crawford overlook, I never saw a single person. Last year when I hiked around the same area, I saw one group of 2 the whole day. This year I saw 2 groups near the triplets and 1 group coming up separation canyon. Like the rest of zion, it's getting crowded.
 
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A couple years ago when I hiked to Crawford overlook, I never saw a single person. Last year when I hiked around the same area, I saw one group of 2 the whole day. This year I saw 2 groups near the triplets and 1 group coming up separation canyon. Like the rest of zion, it's getting crowded.
huh thats odd, we've been up there in that area that fair few times and I have no recollection of seeing anybody. Guess timing plays a big role
 

John Morrow

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May 22, 2015
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When we went in for a backcountry permit into this zone (Kolob Ranger Station) the rangers said they had never issued one before that they were aware of. Our original plan was to finish the Cross Zion trek from Weeping Rock, across the East Rim. Then extend it to the Barracks, cross the river and up across Shunes Hollow to the white knolls and Canaan Mtn. Then descend past Eagle Crags and shuttle back the the visitor center parking. We planned 6 days.
Weeping rock was closed because of rock fall so we opted to just do three nights in the southeast canyons area and drive around to Canaan Wilderness for 3 more.
Why I mention this is that the rangers told us they prefer if we don't put it on the net because it is a bit unknown still. Which is one of the reasons I am rethinking about what I post, where, and why I am doing it.
Ironically, East Fork Virgin River was raging and we couldn't safely even go through the Barracks, let alone go 2.5 miles upstream to the first south side exit. We got lucky not having to turn around and hitch back to the visitor center.

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