11 months ago

Trail Runner September_2017


EXPLORE FAVORITE TRAIL Observation Point Trail ZION NATIONAL PARK, UTAH PHOTO BY FRED MARMSATER RUNNER: Joe Grant, 34, of Gold Hill, Colorado BETA: Observation Point is a spectacular trail located in the heart of Zion National Park. The high point sits at 6,508 feet, with 2,100 feet of elevation gain from the Weeping Rock Trailhead. The trail climbs steadily from the start, up a number of switchbacks. It can be sandy in spots, but is mostly paved, making for good footing and efficient upward progress. (Do not be deterred by the pavement, as it is broken up and blends quite naturally with the surrounding environment.) One of the highlights of the ascent is Echo Canyon, a soaring, red-rock-lined slot canyon. If water is running, take a quick (refreshing!) dip to stave off the heat on this otherwise exposed run. Bring lots of water as sources on the trail are unreliable and, if available, need to be treated or filtered. PRO TIP: Bring a headlamp and time your run for sunset at Observation Point, which will offer incredible views and light looking back toward Angels Landing, a jutting fin of sandstone in the center of the canyon. Running back down the trail at night is a unique experience, but watch your footing, particularly on the upper sections above cliffs. DISTANCE: Eight miles, round trip. SEASON: Year round but preferable in early spring or fall. The summers can get very hot and crowded. Remember to plan your return around the shuttle schedule, or tack on some flat cruiser miles to get back to your vehicle. INFORMATION: Between April 1 and October 30, the Weeping Rock Trailhead is accessed via shuttle. You can drive to the trailhead the rest of the year, although you will likely encounter snow and ice on the trail during the winter months. SPONSORED BY The Alpine Start Hoody is a pareddown protective layer, designed to shield the minimalist climber against ridgeline gusts and intermittent precipitation. The ultra-packable design incorporates a self-stowing chest pocket for easy storage on your harness or in your pack. The Bbee 11 is an ultralight pack for long runs and ridgeline scrambles, the Bbee 11 is the embodiment of minimalism.

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