Description: A day hike that takes you into the wilderness area of Zion National Park down Wildcat Canyon.
Distance: 4.7 Miles One Way
Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous
Highest Elevation: 7,720 Feet Above Sea Level
Jurisdiction: Zion National Park
The trailhead for Wildcat Canyon is the Lava Point Trailhead. From the small Utah town of Virgin, drive north on Kolob Terrace Road for 21 miles until you reach a small road to your right that takes you toward Lava Point. Follow this small road for 1 mile and there will be a fork in the road. If the roads are dry, you can turn left and follow a dirt road for 1.3 miles and arrive at the Lava Point Trailhead. If the roads are wet, you should turn right and go to the Lava Point Campground. From the Lava Point Campground, there is a connector trail that will take you to the Lava Point Trailhead.
Beginning at the Lava Point Trailhead, you will follow the West Rim trail for a tenth of a mile and join with the Wildcat Canyon Connector. Turn right on this junction and drop down to the Canyon floor, where you will leave the trail and follow a wash down through densely growing quaking aspen and brush. This area is especially beautiful while changing colors in the Fall; but is a fairly rough trail, with fallen logs and boulders strewn about over and around which one must traverse.
As the trail becomes steeper going downhill, the aspen will be replaced with oak and ponderosa pine and a box canyon will join the main canyon. From here, the hiking will become easier. Sandstone walls will be on both sides of Wildcat Canyon, along with a dense forest of pine. A second canyon will enter from the east and you will find it easiest not to walk down into the thickets of willow that grow in the narrow ravine; but to hike on the slickrock that lies to the west and get to the sandy hill above.
The cliffs to the west of the canyon will give way eventually to more level ground and the third canyon’s mouth is the place where you will head downhill to cross the main wash. After crossing the wash, you will hike through several small saddles and will have the option of either going down to Left Fork or turning back the way you came. From this place of decision you will be able to have views of South Guardian Angel and Greatheart Mesa.