If you’ve never been to Zion and you want a quick taste of the visual aesthetic, this video does a good job of showing the view from the road from Zion’s East Entrance Station all the way to the Visitor’s Center parking lot. The producer sped things up 800%, so ostensibly, it’s like cruising the twisting, turning Zion-Mount Carmel highway at 200 mph. Please do not try to replicate this without the aid of video editing equipment.
The East Side is a gorgeous drive, twisting and turning through a sea of white sandstone monoliths as you follow Clear Creek down into Zion Canyon. Though there are only two trailhead on the entire East Side, there are LOTS of pullouts, and we always encourage visitors to simply choose a safe place to park and hike from there. Since the East Side is mainly deep canyons and lots of bare sandstone, it’s pretty easy to hike cross-country without getting too turned-around. In fact, hiking up a canyon is a great introduction to off-trail hiking, as you don’t have to think much about navigation, so you can simply enjoy the surprise around each corner and the solitude of getting away from the crowds.