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Cable Mountain - Zion National Park

Summary: A rather uninteresting hike to a historic site with incredible views.
Directions: Drive to the east entrance to Zion National Park. Just inside the entrance follow the 'Trail' sign located on the north side of the road a short distance to the parking area and trail head.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car
Navigation: Easy - all trails are signed
Length: 16 miles
Date Hiked: September, 2002
Weather Conditions: Hot and sunny
Required Skills:
Hike Description: From the parking area next to a corral (5720 ft, 0 miles), walk past the gate to the start of the East Rim Trail where a metal sign reads: Cable Mountain 8 miles, Deer Trap Mountain 9 miles, Weeping Rock 10 miles. The path is flat, wide, and sandy as it winds it's way past juniper, oak, and pine. The trail heads moderately up the drainage of Cave Canyon a ways before negotiating a big switchback. It then bends right and begins climbing up on the left side of Jolley Gulch above the white cliffs. The path then passes by the head of Jolley Gulch marked by a sign and big drop off, then continues it's climb on the slope above the other side of the drainage. After the trail completes another long switchback, the forest thickens somewhat and shade becomes more abundant. Continue climbing at a moderate grade until you finally reach the top of the mesa and relatively level ground (6730 ft). The path then descends moderately to a short spur trail leading to the piped Stave Spring (dry when the author was there). Continue a short distance past the spring to a signed junction (6435 ft, 5 miles) with the left branching Deer Trap Mountain Trail (Cable Mountain 3 miles, Deer Trap Mountain 4 miles). Turn left on this trail (more of a footpath than the road you have been following) and once again begin climbing moderately through the woods. After another 45 minutes or so, you'll reach a signed junction with the left branching trail to Deer Trap Mountain - stay right towards Cable Mountain. The path soon tops out (6900 ft) then, as it begins descending moderately, you'll finally catch glimpses to the right of the cliffs of Zion Canyon. You'll walk down a slope then out onto the mesa to the old Cable Works which give the mountain it's name (6496 ft, 8 miles). From this vantage point you'll have spectacular views straight down to the bottom of Zion Canyon (use care near the edge!). Angel's Landing can be seen across the canyon and a section of Echo Canyon and the East Rim Trail thousands of feet below you. A sign at the remnants of the cable works reads: "Warning, this historic structure is now very unsafe please keep a safe distance away and do not lean or climb on the frame." and "Cable Mountain Draw Works: In 1901 David Flannigan built the cable or 'draw' works here to quickly move lumber from the east rim to the floor of Zion Canyon. The cable could lower lumber in 2 minutes saving many days of travel by wagon over rough roads. From 1904 to 1907 Flannigan ran a steam powered saw mill at nearby Stave Spring sending his milled lumber and shingles down the 2000 ft cable. The draw works burned in 1911 after being struck by lightening, a second fire destroyed the rebuilt frame in the early 1920's. After reconstruction the draw works lowered the lumber for the original Zion Lodge and cabins. Dwindling timber supply eventually closed the east rim saw mills and eliminated the need for the draw works, it was no longer operated after 1930." When ready, return the way you came (16 miles).
Rating (1-5 stars):
The view from the mountain is nice, but I'm not sure if it's worth the hike. The author and his wife completed this hike in 7 1/4 hours.
Maps: Trails Illustrated - Zion National Park, Zion N.P. Park Map
Books: None
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
The head of Jolley Canyon. The Cable Works
View of Angels Landing
from the Cable Works.