I’ve mentioned before the updated book by Courtney Purcell entitled “Zion National Park: Summit Routes”. I was excited when Courtney decided to put the book back in print. I was however disappointed with the lack of TOPO maps, routes and the shear number of minor peaks listed in the book. Don’t get me wrong I’m excited to have the book and it’s been fun to get back into some area’s and re-hike minor bumps in the topographical road to claim some new peaks. Destination Point is one such peak.
The morning is stunning as Linda and I make our way toward Zion National Park. September is one of my favorite times of the year in Zion, summer crowds start to thin and the monsoon rainy season comes to a close. These desert parks are always desperate for rain, but Zion backcountry is not generally conducive to safe travel during a heavy rainstorm.
We park in the Zion Overlook overflow parking lot and make our way down the sidewalk to the small parking spot and restroom located just beyond the long 1.1 mile Zion tunnel on highway 9. The park has finally decided to give access to Pine Creek by at least designating a spot marked “access”. People were climbing down the bank anyway and this way at least a hikers trail has emerged for access.
The hike begins with a long approach up Gifford Canyon, it is a beautiful canyon and rarely traveled. Considering how many people hike the Zion Overlook trail it always surprises me that a few feet beyond the Gifford Canyon dryfall and it is possible you will not encounter another person for the rest of the hike.
Gifford Canyon is a main access approach for all of the major peaks in the area and I have taken this route more than a few times. Breaking into the massive sandstone bowl we decided to hike up a large slickrock slab instead of working our way around the bowl like I usually do. This proves doable, steep, but doable. I’m not sure it saves that much time due to the route finding and steepness of the route, but it was fun to break out near the summit.
The summit is a small scramble up a sandy incline to a small plateau. Manzanita bushes are plentiful in Zion and they dot the sandy plateau as we search for a summit cairn. The sky is clear and the view from this small summit is stunning as Linda and I rest and eat lunch. Check off another bump on the map.