I should probably have called this post "A stroll through the Knoll's", but I'm hoping to keep my trip reports simple, accurate and a story of what my experience is with the route taken. I haven't always written blogs. Okay I've never written a blog until Linda set this one up for me, but I have written trip reports. Several years ago a favorite website was sadly lacking in GPS based routes for some of my favorite areas in and around Zion National Park. I started posting the GPS routes, then adding some excerpts from my Journals. I received some positive feedback from others visiting the site and continued to increase my excerpts until I was simply posting my entire journal experience. So reader beware, these posts are written more for me than for you. Sorry.
Disclaimer complete, I can move onto this wonderful series of knolls. Spendlove Knoll is located on the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park. If one is traveling toward the park on the western side near I-15 on Utah Highway 9, after passing through Hurricane (Hwy-9) or Toquerville (Hwy-17), turn west on Hwy-9 at La Verkin. Just past the town of Virgin and the Zion River Resort look for a brown sign to Kolob Reservoir, turn left. The Kolob Terrace Road is also the road traveling to the popular Subway slot canyon (permit required).
Kolob Terrace Road works its way up between massive mountains along the virgin river, until breaching a high alpine plateau. The beautiful round dome on the drivers right is Tabernacle Dome, the series of small knolls to the cinder cone is the stroll I'm about to take. Starting south to north with Tinaja Knoll, Cave Knoll and the cinder cone of Spendlove Knoll. Kolob Terrace road drives up and around Spendlove Knoll. Just past a turnout on the drivers left to the Hop Valley trailhead, the next road right will lead closer to a ridgeline and easy access to Spendlove.
A second cinder cone is to the north and is called Firepit Knoll, the Kolob Terrace road drives between the two cones.
I parked the car and hiked through the bush line until the Zion Park Boundary fence is reached, simply follow the fence line north until it turns west, up and over the summit. The summit peak for Spendlove is on the Zion National Park side of the fence. A summit cairn exists, but no registration log is found. I did find however, the survey marker for the summit to be about 8' feet further west and a little north.
This day is going to be beautiful and just what the doctor ordered. After last weeks experience at Wheeler Peak and the crowded 13,000 foot summit, I was looking forward to simply wandering among the slickrock hoodoos of my favorite place on earth.
Following the fence line once again I work my way south along the hillside and onto a massive slab of sandstone. Hoodoos dot the slab and I soon find myself in a courtyard of sorts with 5 massive sandstone hoodoos lining the circumference. I almost feel compelled to make a case of my right to share this magical place with them on this day.
Working my way toward Cave Knoll I negotiate a couple small canyons and ridges trying to connect with the correct ridgeline to the summit. Very minor route finding skills are required and the puzzle is more enjoyable than inconvenient.
The sky is a beautiful bluebird blue, with clouds breaking the glare as I climb to the top of the summit Hoodoo. Noon. I break open my pack and enjoy a very long lunch. Just what the doctor ordered.
As I contemplate my next move, I decide to continue my stroll through the knolls and pick up the final Tinaja Knoll. Standing on Cave Knoll the view toward the main Zion Canyon is stunning, with Tinaja Knoll in the foreground. The rounded dome of Tabernacle Dome and the massive presence of The South Guardian Angel.
As I work my way back through the small labyrinth of Cave Knoll, I pick up the ridge line circling around to Tinaja Knoll. The hike is downhill and the lines connect well. Tinaja Knoll is a stunning Hoodoo capped knoll surrounding a massive desert tank. I didn't test how deep the water is, but considering how much it has rained this past week and the tank isn't full, I would say it is fairly deep on this end.
There is probably some debate about the location of the summit hoodoo. One could be safe and climb all three of the contenders, but I simply choose the middle one and scrambled the class 3+ hoodoo to the top. One could probably debate the position, but I've come to enjoy the day, rest, relax and count myself lucky to live in such a place.
The return hike is fairly straight forward. I traveling with someone a shuttle car could be left near Lambs Knoll which would make for a easy hike across Cave valley to the Kolob Terrace road. I debated on hiking this route and then hitching a ride back to the start. But I elected to retrace my steps for awhile and drop off the ridge into the valley to the east. There is some private property located in this area, so be mindful of property rights and stay on the Zion Park side of the valley.