You probably have heard about Zion, but have you heard about Kolob? Kolob Reservoir and Kolob Terrace is about an hour away from Zion National Park and doesn’t get as many visitors as its beauty deserves, which is probably a good thing as you get a chance to explore wilderness and enjoy amazing view all by yourself. If you’re looking to find a a spot away from the crowds at Zion, this is the spot for you.
There are two options to explore this area.
First one is a drive to Kolob Canyons area through UT-15, which is a 40 mile drive to the Visitor center. We opted out for route number two through Kolob Terrace Road, which starts 15 miles out from Zion Visitor center at Virgin, UT and then runs for about 25 miles through spectacular landscapes.
We drove through beautiful fields, canyons, peaks, rock formations, forests, overlooks, remote ranches and ran into almost no cars. There are plenty of turnouts to pull over and take amazing photos (ever wanted to take that perfect empty road picture? this is the drive for that!).
Or you can opt for some active pastime and go for one of the not crowded trails along the drive – Right and Left Forks, Wildcat Canyon. We also saw a few cyclists and a couple of RV’s and campervans boondocking along the way.
The Crown Jewel – Kolob Reservoir
The bonus point at the end of the drive is Kolob Reservoir. It is a beautiful remote lake with some space for camping and picnicking. Perfect place to spend a few hours away from it all, maybe go for a short walk around the lake or rent kayaks (more details about kayak rentals are available at the general store near the reservoir). It does require a few miles drive on the unpaved road to get to the lake, but no 4×4 required.
Note that the lake is at over 8,000 ft elevation, so it does get colder there (which is a good change from scorching hot Zion in summer). Overall, if you want fantastic views and prefer not to run into crowds of tourists, Kolob Terrace Road is a good half a day to a day option when visiting Zion.
If you have already been to Zion or Kolob Reservoir, let us know in comments what was your experience like. We would love to hear from you! If you haven’t been to Zion but are planning to, check out our list of top things to do in Zion National Park.