June 29:  Wildcat Canyon and Northgate Peaks

Today was mostly a "down" day. But Nate saw the opportunity and decided on a fairly aggressive hike.

The third, and apparently least-visited, section of Zion is Kolob Terrace. It's halfway between Kolob Canyon and the main section of Zion, and basically serves as a series of trailheads and trail crossroads. One of the trails leads thorough an infrequently-visited canyon called Wildcat Canyon.

The Wildcat Canyon Trail is about 6 miles long, and is a connector trail that joins a lot of the Zion trail system together. It leads down from the West Rim Trailhead near the end of Kolob Terrace Road (which is barely passable to regular cars - given that we actually broke some plastic off Ray's car getting to the trailhead!), and ends at the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead parking area. Or vice versa, of course, but the way Nate hiked was all downhill.

The trail surface varies wildly between alpine meadow, loose sand, and rock, and the trail changes color several times as it descends through different geological rock layers.

Wildcat Canyon Trail

Starting out in alpine meadow.
Switching to white stone.
Then red stone.
Wildcat Wildcat Wildcat
Now black stone.
Wildcat Canyon.
Wildcat Wildcat

One interesting spur off the Wildcat Canyon Trail is called the Northgate Peaks Trail. It's about a 2-mile round trip, and is located about a mile from the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead. That means from the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead, you can get to Northgate Peaks in about 4 miles round-trip. Northgate is a very different trail from most of Wildcat, in that most of it is soft fine sand instead of stone or coarser sand like Wildcat.

Northgate Peaks Trail

Northgate Northgate
Some of the rock formations are simply fascinating.
I have no idea if this formation has an official name.
I called it "The Dragon".
Northgate Northgate
Northgate Northgate Northgate
Loose, sandy trail.

360-degree panoramic photo from the end of Northgate Peaks Trail.

Then it was back to the car for the drive back down to the motor home.

Remainder of Wildcat and Kolob Terrace Road

Wildcat Wildcat Wildcat
Parking Lot in sight!
Kolob Terrace Rd Kolob Terrace Rd Kolob Terrace Rd

Nate and Mathea went for a quick exploration of the Virgin River next to the motor home and then a swim (which was cut short by an approaching thunderstorm).

Virgin River, and Rain

Wildcat Wildcat Wildcat

Supper was a yummy garlic-and-olive oil baked chicken, potato salad, and baked beans. Mathea went to bed around 8:20 or so pretty willingly. Tomorrow: Grand Canyon!

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