Southwest Desert

The Chinle Trail starts from the Anasazi Way sub-division and crosses the open desert as it winds toward the base of Mount Kinesava. The trail travels through the open desert and offers up some amazing and sweeping views of the cliffs behind great formations like the West Temple and Mount Kinesava. The trail crosses areas of petrified wood and has highly developed areas of cryptobiotic soil. This trail is very hot in the summer but pleasant in the spring and fall. Coalpits Wash has no developed trail, but there is a well beaten path that is easy to follow to the junction with Scoggins Wash. At the junction of Scoggins Wash, bear left and head up the canyon between enormous boulders and small waterfalls. This trail is best from the fall to the spring due to its low elevation. Summer can get very hot and dry, making the summer months a difficult time to visit. Camping is permitted in designated sites only. Wilderness Permits are available online for reservable campsites and at the Wilderness Desk for first come, first serve campsites.

Trip Planning Map of the Southwest Desert

 
petrified log
Petrified Wood Forest
The Chinle Trail travels through a petrified wood forest where you can see numerous examples of petrified wood logs and pieces. By taking photos and leaving the rocks behind we can help preserve it for future generations.
 
Cryptobiotic Soil
Cryptobiotic Soil
This living soil is widespread along the Chinle and Coalpits Wash Trail. It provides stability to the soil and nutrients for the plants. It can take 70-100 years to form but only one footprint to destroy. Without this valuable soil the desert would look vastly different.
 
Coalpits Wash
Coalpits Wash
A short section of Coalpits Wash near the springs goes through a rock layer that gets narrow like a slot canyon and has been undercut by erosion.
 

Southwest Desert Campsite: 1

Maximum Group Size Limit: 6
Availability: First-Come, First-Serve, Walk-In Basis
Permits must be obtained in person the day before, or day of the trip during regular Hours of Operation from the Wilderness Desk.
Site Description: Just off the Chinle Trail to the south on a small ridge. Great views of the West Temple, but also of Mount Kinasava and Scoggins Wash.

 
Campsite
Campsite #1 and view from the site.
 

Southwest Desert Campsite: 2

Maximum Group Size Limit: 6
Availability: Online Calendar Reservation
Learn how to make an Online Reservation before your trip. Reservations must be converted into permits the day before, or day of the trip during regular Hours of Operation from the Wilderness Desk.
Site Description: A short walk off the trail down a wash to the south will lead you to this site. This site has a great slickrock area that overlooks Scoggins Wash.

 
Campsite
Campsite #2 and view from the site
 

Southwest Desert Campsite: 3

Maximum Group Size Limit: 6
Availability: First-Come, First-Serve, Walk-In Basis
Permits must be obtained in person the day before, or day of the trip during regular Hours of Operation from the Wilderness Desk.
Site Description: This site is a nice sandy area just south off the Chinle Trail. It sits slightly up on a knoll and is surrounded by desert vegetation.

 
campsite
Campsite #3 and view from the site
 
Southwest Desert Campsite: 4

Maximum Group Size Limit: 6
Availability: First-Come, First-Serve, Walk-In Basis
Permits must be obtained in person the day before, or day of the trip during regular Hours of Operation from the Wilderness Desk.
Site Description: Located on a ridge just above the Coalpits Wash, this site sits among several boulders and has great views. It is only a short walk to Coalpits Spring where water is usually available.

 
campsite
Campsite #4 and view from the site
 
Southwest Desert Campsite: 5

Maximum Group Size Limit: 6
Availability: Online Calendar Reservation
Learn how to make an Online Reservation before your trip. Reservations must be converted into permits the day before, or day of the trip during regular Hours of Operation from the Wilderness Desk.
Site Description: Located near the Coalpits Wash spring. A sandy area surrounded by dark lava rock. The site is a good location for further exploring. Water can usually be found nearby at Coalpits Spring.

 
campsite
Campsite #5 and view from the site
 

Southwest Desert Campsite: 6

Maximum Group Size Limit: 12
Availability: Online Calendar Reservation
Learn how to make an Online Reservation before your trip. Reservations must be converted into permits the day before, or day of the trip during regular Hours of Operation from the Wilderness Desk.
Site Description: Located at the junction of Scoggins and Coalpits Wash. A sandy bench to the west of the drainage with great views of the surrounding mesas.

 
campsite
Campsite #6 and view from the site
 
Water Sources
 
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Coalpits Spring
Located in an area downstream of the Chinle junction this spring is on the canyon wall to west. Usually flows year round but it can become dry some years.

Approximate Location
N 37°12'54.0"
W 113°04'44.5"
Elevation 4090 ft

 
 
 
 
 

Last updated: September 18, 2021

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Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.
State Route 9

Springdale , UT 84767

Phone:

435-772-3256
If you have questions, please email zion_park_information@nps.gov. Get recorded park information by calling anytime 24 hours a day. Rangers staff our phone from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. MT, but a ranger may not answer if they are already on speaking with someone else.

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