The Weeping Rock Trail in Zion National Park, Utah is an interesting short hike with a cool surprise at the end. It’s less about the views along the trail and more about the trail’s end.
This hike is a great option for families with kids (one of our top recommendations for family-friendly hikes in Zion!) or for someone trying to fit in a short hike while exploring Zion, but it’s not for anyone with limited mobility. The trail is mostly paved and short but there is a decent incline to it, several large steps to tackle, and the surface can get slippery in spots. These obstacles can make this hike slightly challenging and not suitable for everyone.
Weeping Rock Trail – Zion National Park
Distance: 0.4 miles (round trip)
Trailhead: Weeping Rock (shuttle stop #7)
Trail map: View map
The Weeping Rock Trail starts off flat but quickly begins to rise up a lush slope, just as you approach a set of steep stone stairs.
It was a beautiful midafternoon late summer day and the trail was fairly busy, so we were surprised that while everyone was admiring the sunning lizards…
…no one seemed to notice THIS guy in clear view:
A big. Fat. Hairy. SPIDER!
All four of us have varying degrees of arachnophobia, so seeing a tarantula in the wild for the very first time was uniquely different for all of us.
Me and Mia couldn’t get enough of the fuzzball and were glued to the spot. My husband, on the other hand, took off almost immediately and swept Ella with him, muttering something about the size of that wasp freaking him out.
He wasn’t wrong about the wasp. There was one right to the side darting back and forth on the ground. But it wasn’t the insect that made him bolt, all right?
…We later found out that the wasp was a tarantula hawk, a monster of all wasps that preys on unsuspecting tarantulas. It overturns the spider, gives it a paralyzing sting on its underbelly, then drags it away into a pre-made burrow where it lays an egg onto the spider’s abdomen. Once hatched, the larva burrows into the spider and devours it from the inside out, leaving the vital organs for a dessert. A few weeks later, a brand new tarantula hawk breaks out from the tarantula’s limp body, pretty much alien-style.
(I’m not your biggest arachno fan, but that just ain’t right.)
We also learned that even though the wasp tends to have very little interest in humans (I would agree with that), should you ever get stung by it, here’s what you do: stop, drop, and SCREAM LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SCREAMED BEFORE. The tarantula hawk delivers the second most painful sting on Earth. Holy ow!
Unfortunately, the tarantula hawk is harder to take a picture of than a moving toddler. Below is the least blurry picture I could find. But also I’m not the world’s greatest photographer. Have I ever mentioned that?
The tarantula was fascinating to observe up close and strangely beautiful. It was already stung and barely moving, hence we got to hold it. Otherwise, I think that tarantulas are scary balls of hair that eat bugs and mice and probably fingers and toes.
ANYWAY… Back on the trail…
A brief steady climb up the narrow path (think minutes; unless you find a paralyzed tarantula… then add a full hour to your hike), and you’re standing at the base of the Weeping Rock.
As you near the end of the Weeping Rock Trail, you’ll want to watch out for slick spots. Expect to get wet, too. No matter how dry the rest of the park may get at any time, the Weeping Rock drips water every single day of the year.
The ancient water that seeps continuously through the sandstone creates perfect conditions for lush hanging gardens of mosses, ferns, and flowering plants that grow in the cracks and crevices of the rock.
Did you catch that?
The water that once fell as rain on the towering cliffs and plateaus above seeps slowly through the Navajo Sandstone until it reaches the bottom impermeable shale and forces its way out, drop by drop.
How slow is the process?
It is estimated that the water that trickles down on the visitors standing beneath the Weeping Rock took around 1,200 years to make its way out.
The rain from around 800 A.D.
Oh and frogs are plentiful along this trail. That’s all our kids really cared about, anyway. Apparently, ancient water is for ancient people.
Don’t skip this one on your visit of Zion National Park! (Unless you have mobility issues.) This is a short fun hike that both kids and adults will enjoy. It’s also shaded plenty, so you can come at virtually any time of the day.
The Weeping Rock trail is an excellent option to cool down in the park on a hot summer day, and it’s an interpretive trail, so you’ll learn a thing or two about some of the native trees and plants along the way.
Other fun hikes in Zion that won’t have you risking your life:
- Riverside Walk – 2 miles
- Emerald Pools Trail – 2.2 miles
- Watchman Trail – 3.2 miles
- Pa’rus Trail – 1.7 miles one way
- Archeology Trail – 0.4 miles
Each one is slightly different from the rest and none are hair-raisingly dangerous, something that Zion National Park is most famous for. 😉