Friday, November 8, 2013

Chinle Trail, Zion National Park



We joined Mark and Bobbie for another Zion hike, this time on the Chinle Trail. It begins near Anasazi, a subdivision of luxury homes in Springdale about 3 miles from the park entrance. The first mile or so of the trail circles around the houses before coming to the actual trailhead in the Zion Wilderness.


Mark and Bobbie had hiked this trail before as an out and back, turning around at an arroyo with some interesting rock formations, which makes it about 8 miles round trip. They suggested we take two cars and leave one at Coal Pits Wash, a few miles before Springdale. That way we could make a loop out of it instead, which they said would only be about 6 miles. While looking at the sign and map at the trailhead, though, it appeared that it would be much longer than 6 miles, so we gave ourselves the option to just make it an out and back hike if we didn’t feel up to the loop.


Other then some initial climbing, the trail was mostly level, so it was actually an easy hike, at least for the first five or six miles! We passed through a petrified wood forest, where the trail gets its name, as Chinle is a Triassic shale that contains shards of petrified wood.


Jim has pretty much become addicted to the trail app he has on his cell phone. Of all days he left it at home on the charger, but Mark thought it was a good idea and had installed the same app on his iPhone just the day before. Not being familiar with the app yet, although he thought he started the track at the trailhead, when he checked our distance somewhere along the way, it said we had come over 90 miles! Bobbie does walk pretty fast, but not quite that fast.

Sometimes two heads aren’t better than one. Jim couldn’t figure it out, either, so we just continued on.



After a quick snack, we went off the trail and into a really cool arroyo.




It was after this when things started to get a bit dicey. Mark and Bobbie had never done this as a loop, but Mark was confident we were heading in the right direction. There were some tricky spots that involved rock scrambling, but we followed some horse hoof prints, figuring that if the horse could make it, so could we. And by this time, we were way past the turn around point, so we were committed to making the loop.

Jim and I were pretty confident the horse didn’t go this way, and found an easier path.


After walking much farther than anyone thought we should have, we finally came to Coal Pits Wash. At least that’s what our intrepid guides kept telling us!

Bobbie getting a snack out of Mark’s backpack. I think even he was getting tired from all the worrying about whether or not we would get off the trail before dark.


But that didn’t keep us from stopping to take more photos.

Rocks with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.


Not much farther to go. It was a good feeling to hear the sound of traffic, and see our car right where we left it.


We ended up hiking for five hours, and although we aren’t sure of our distance, we guessed it had to be at least eight or nine miles. Since there wasn’t a lot of elevation change, though, we weren’t nearly as tired as we thought we would be. Great scenery and great company, what more could we ask for in a hike?



Mark beat me to the post about this hike, so if you haven’t read todays Box Canyon Blog yet, be sure to check it out for some more photos and Mark’s humorous take on the day.

And if you think all we do is hike, we have also been mountain bike shopping the past few days. Bit the bullet today and bought a couple new full suspension bikes in St. George. When we got back we took about a five mile ride next door on the BLM roads, and it was great fun. Since we have no plans to go back to south Texas where we got a lot of use out of our road bikes, we figured we may as well break down and go back to mountain biking. At least we can ride them anywhere, and we spend most of our time on dirt roads anyway. Now we’ve got to clean up our old bikes, take pictures, and post them on Craigslist. We have to sell them in the next three weeks because we have no way to carry four bikes, so wish us luck.

On another note, our sewer hose developed a leak so we ordered a new one from Amazon. At least the giant box it came in has given the cats some entertainment. They are about a year old now and all grown up but as rotten as ever.



And Sophie.



  1. Just found your blog from Box Canyon's site. Great hike and photos. Love that Southern Utah area, especially Zion. Have you hiked out at Snow Canyon...beautiful!

    1. Thanks. We have never been to Snow Canyon but hope to get there while we're here this month. Mark and Bobbie suggested it, too. Southern Utah is definitely one of our favorite places.

  2. Super Cool hike :) and now that you have mountain bikes you can double your fun :)
    Now I want a full suspension bike! Hear that Bobbie?
    Box Canyon Mark

  3. So you guys finally broke down and bought the mountain bikes. We're still dedicated hikers and have been resisting,,,,,but resistance,,,,,is,,,futile.

    1. We used to do both road and mountain biking in our former lives. We debated about which bikes to take when we went full time. The road bikes won out, but we just don't have occasion to use them much anymore. And as much as we like to hike, it's fun to mix it up a bit. Biking definitely uses different muscles!

  4. Another wonderful day of making memories and getting a little

    The kids look so adorable.

  5. Looks like a wonderful hike but I know what you mean about the little tension when you aren't sure you'll make it back before dark. But all's well that end's well. What's the app Jim likes so well? I wonder if there is a droid version of it? Those kitties are SO cute!! I'm anxious to hear how you sell things on Craig's list on the road. I'd love to be able to do that.

    1. Jim is using Backcountry Navigator Pro on our Android phone. Here is the blog post he wrote about it. We are more apt to hike off trail with it since we always know where we started from.

      As to Craig's List, we have sold a couple things since we've been on the road. We have an account so you just go the the Craig's List page of the city you are in or near and log in. Then you can post any for sale ads you want! We sold something while we were boondocking near Flagstaff this past summer, and we just met the guy at a parking lot in town.


  6. Beautiful trail and photos, and so nice to see Mark out from behind the camera! He doesn't take the time for selfies that I do. Great shot of the guys trying to figure out the technology!

  7. It was quite funny to read both accounts of this day. We did a lot of that hike and the loop was about ten miles. It sure is very neat back there. We couldn't do all of it with the temps that day.

    I do believe I read about Mark and Bobbie taking another couple on the Chinle trail and they ended up doing over 12 miles (it was suppose to be a short hike, too). Better be careful where you end up with those new bikes. They seem to do killer rides!! Haha! Good Luck!!

  8. What a beautiful hike! Thanks for the great pix. Good luck selling those bikes.

  9. One of the best mountain bike trail systems we have ever ridden is Phil's World near Cortez, CO. Here is my post on it:

    Worth the stop if you are in the area sometime.

  10. Gorgeous scenery indeed. I was exhausted reading both Mark's and your posts. I seem to Peter out somewhere between 2 and 3 hours. Glad you didn't need to spend the night out there. Beautiful photos!

  11. Rocks with powdered sugar - how sweet it is! If you have not yet figured out the mileage issue, email me. I had something similar with my GPS.