Eagle Crags Trail
Recommended Users: Hikers
Sub-Area: Canaan Mountain
Access: Eagle Crags Trailhead—From I-15 Exit 16, travel west on State Route 9 to Hurricane City. Continue through Hurricane City, LaVerkin City, Town of Virgin on SR 9. In Rockville, turn right on Bridge Road (set the trip odometer here) and follow it south over the historic lattice truss bridge that crosses the Virgin River. Continue heading south until reaching a sharp right bend in the road that appears to be a three-way intersection at 0.3 miles. Continue south on the leftmost road, leaving the pavement. The gravel road soon turns to dirt and ascends a steep escarpment to the top of the mesa. This section of the road is often impassable when wet, even with a high-clearance, 4WD vehicle. After reaching the top of the mesa, ignore the small side roads that go to private property (and are marked as such) and stick to the main dirt road that heads southeast. At 1.0 miles, bear right at the unmarked Y intersection. (The left road leads to the communication towers). Eventually, you will cross a cattle guard after a sharp bend to the left (where the road begins to bear northeast). About 1.8 miles after turning onto Bridge Road, the Eagle Crags Trailhead appears on your right. Park and head for the information kiosk, where the trail begins at the marker denoting “Eagle Crags” trail.
Note: A high-clearance, 4WD vehicle is recommended for accessing this trailhead.
Description: From the information kiosk at the trailhead, take the prominent singletrack trail heading southwest into Canaan Mountain Wilderness. At first, the trail climbs gradually towards Eagle Crags, passing through open-canopy pinyon-juniper woodland with an understory of sagebrush, blackbrush, yucca, and cacti. Along most of its length, the trail is exposed and there is little respite from the sun. About 0.80 miles from the trailhead, you will pass the Canaan Mountain Wilderness boundary near the remnants of an old fence. Please remember that wilderness rules apply from here on out.
Eagle Crags continues to loom larger in the foreground and the trail gets steeper, beginning a switchback ascent up a hillside amidst large boulders. As you climb, enjoy the spectacular scenery afforded by the higher vantage point. Expansive views to the north and east include the massive sandstone monoliths of Zion National Park, while a scan to the south reveals more remote territory deep within Canaan Mountain Wilderness.
The trail wraps around the base of the easternmost “crag” formation and eventually fades, becoming indiscernible. This marks the end of the trail. From here, some people choose to rest at the boulders near the base of the cliffs before returning the way they came in.
Bordering the southeast flank of Zion National Park, Canaan Mountain Wilderness is an 8-by-10 mile buttress of Navajo Sandstone that has been sculpted by wind and water over time into a landscape of soaring cliff walls, swirling slickrock, and secluded slot canyons. The Eagle Crags formation (6,380 feet), a series of rugged sandstone spires, lies at the northern tip of a thin sandstone peninsula that extends north from the greater Canaan Mountain massif.