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South Ariel Peak - Zion National Park

Short summit ascent up a massive slickrock slab. Requires 4th class scramble and steep rock skills.
Rating: 3 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 1.1 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours

Overview :  Slickrock slab hiking is what sets East Zion apart from the maintained trails in the main canyon. There is something spectacular... more »

Tips:  Backcountry Route! Safely hiking backcountry routes depend on your own good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant attention to ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead & Parking

Drive west on Hwy-9 toward Mt. Carmel Junction. Pass through the long 1.1 mile Zion Tunnel and on to the small tunnel. Upon exiting the small tunnel drive 1.9 miles to a small pullout. The pullout only accommodates 4-5 vehicles and is the parking spot for canyoneers exploring Keyhole Canyon.

There is no trail to South Ariel Peak, the massive ... More

2. Ridgeline Traverse

Avoid the temptation to drop into the slickrock bowl on the left. The bowl looks like easy hiking, but will quickly turn very steep. Stay with the ridge line and use the ledge system to zig zag up the rock.

3. Graffiti Point

I don't know if this is the actual name, but apparently some people feel it's a real accomplishment to climb to this small rocky point. The view into Keyhole Canyon is beautiful.

4. 4th Class Scramble

Soon the slickrock turns from red to white and the ledge system requires a more conscious effort of picking your route with care. Loose rock, sand, and scrub brush become the weakness of choice as you pick the way carefully toward the saddle to the right of the summit. Please be mindful that the base of South Ariel Peak (because of the parking) ... More

5. South Ariel Peak Summit

Arriving at the saddle an amazing panorama view opens to your eyes and the mountain peaks of Destination Peak, Watchman and Bridge Mountain become evident to the South South West. Looking north the vertical rock peak of Aires Butte stands alone. Turn south, hike along the narrow ridge to the summit. The final summit is reached with a 5' foot... More

6. Down climbing

Use extreme caution on the descent. I looped a 75' foot 6 mil pull rope around a few large bushes to help the down climb through the 4th class scramble section, both for protection and to allow me to use the slickrock more often avoiding the loose rock. The remaining down climb is enjoyable making for a great way to spend a morning in the... More