“A quick out-and-back to the Northgate Peaks with an optional scramble to one of the summits.”
— Brian Smith
Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · Views · Wildlife
This easy out-and-back makes for a great family outing or a quick, scenic run.
Need to Know
Due to the sun-exposed nature along this trail, you'll want to take proper steps to protect your skin. This run takes place at higher elevation than many other routes in the park, so it will often be a little cooler than routes in the valleys.
From the Wildcat Canyon trailhead off of Kolob Terrace Rd., set out on the Wildcat Canyon Trail
. This trail winds through the ponderosa pine forest and some open meadowland. Just about a mile into the trail, you'll reach a junction with the Connector Trail
. Stay straight on Wildcat Canyon Trail
for a very short jaunt to the Northgate Peaks Trail
. Turn south (right) onto Northgate Peaks Trail
This mostly flat trail heads due south for just over a mile from its junction with Wildcat Canyon Trail
and passes through open grasslands and pinyon-juniper. The Northgate Peaks Trail
ends between the east and west Northgate Peaks. From here, you'll have great views of the North Guardian Angel, a large sandstone formation that juts up from the surrounding landscape.
There are multiple trails heading up either of the Northgate Peaks if you're looking for a scramble to a better view. It should be noted that these approaches are not sanctioned park trails - please be considerate of your surroundings and stick to defined paths to avoid trampling delicate desert fauna.
Turn around and head back to the trailhead, retracing your steps.
Flora & Fauna
Along this route, you'll encounter a variety of life. Desert shrubs, well adapted to high temperatures, are right at home. This route also passes through pinyon-juniper community, a desert forest full of life. These slow growing evergreens are both cold and drought tolerant, supporting a diversity of wildlife to rival the riparian areas.