Trail Length: 7 miles one way- 14 round trip
Trail Type: Mix of packed earth, sand, and river crossings once you get to the final half mile.
Kolob Arch is one of the premier hikes within Zion National Park, while also being one of the longest hikes on the main trail system. Part of the reason for its length is that there are really only two ways to get there, one trailhead beginning at Hop Valley and the other trailhead at Lee Pass in the Kolob Canyons. Both trails have an equal distance to get to Kolob Arch and there are no real alternatives to that. This trail guide will be from the Kolob Side and will focus on the Lee Pass trail.
Getting There: Take I-15 until exit 40 Kolob Canyon. Pay your entrance fee upon entering the park and drive up the road until you reach the Lee Pass Trailhead parking. Find parking here and enjoy the hike. The trailhead is on the north side of the parking lot area.
The Lee Pass trail begins with what I would define as a very long downhill. Since you begin the hike kind of on top of a very large hill, you have to descend to the very bottom of it. Once at the bottom, you will be greeted with a small stream bed that is usually dry unless you get hit by a flash flood like I did. From here you will crisscross the stream bed a hand full of times before rising over the ridge and turning east. From here the trail will parallel La Verkin Creek for about 3 miles until you hit a little sign that says Kolob Arch. Turn north and follow the trail into the small side canyon and then to the arch.
The side canyon that holds Kolob Arch requires a bit more maneuvering. You will have to scramble a bit up and down the sides of the canyon and crawl over a few logs and other obstacles. The half-mile is not too difficult but is a bit more exciting than you might expect. Near the end of this half mile, you will bump into a sign that says Kolob Arch and an arrow pointing up (someone also scratched in the sign that says "look up"). You have reached the end of your journey and you will be able to see Kolob archway up on the cliff. It is huge but you really can't get close to it.
Kolob Arch is a big hike and kind of a pain when getting rained on. I don't suggest doing it with chances of flooding. I ended up being chased out by a thunderstorm and having to cross the once-dry stream bed while it was flooding. Luckily it wasn't too bad. As for photographic potential, there are plenty of interesting views along the way and I recommend getting a permit and staying there for a night to get the best results.
Me crossing the flash flood waters on my way back.