Northgate Peaks, Wildcat Canyon Trailhead, Zion National Park, Utah

Northgate Peaks - 5.1 miles

Wildcat Canyon Trailhead

The Northgate Peaks

The Northgate Peaks

Round-Trip Length: 5.1 miles (to summit of East Northgate Peak)
Start-End Elevation: 6,985' - 7,159' (7,159' max elevation)
Elevation Change: 174' net elevation gain (+528' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Northgate Peaks - 5.1 Miles Round-Trip

The Northgate Peaks (7,159' and 7,267') stand prominently on a high plateau above Left Fork North Creek in Zion National Park. The Northgate Peaks Trail splits off from the Wildcat Canyon Trail  to a basaltic outcrop, where Class II and III scrambling routes continue on to the summits.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Only experienced hikers with proper gear should attempt these summits, which can be treacherous when wet and avoided all together when storms threaten:

The Wildcat Canyon Trail runs across an open plateau past Pine Valley Peak (7,415') to the Hop Valley (.9 miles : 6,926') and Northgate Peaks Trail split (1.05 miles : 6,935').

The Northgate Peaks Trail bends south across open meadows, manzanita mats and pine glades recently touched by fire and beetle infestation. It passes the Subway access spur, a permit-only hiking and canyoneering route in the Left Fork of North Creek.

The mesa narrows above Russell Gulch with good views across it, Wildcat Canyon and Horse Pasture Plateau. Be mindful of cliff edges and don't overestimate their stability, especially after heavy rains.

The maintained trail ends on the mesa's tapered cusp, a basaltic lava rock outcrop beneath east and west Northgate Peaks (2.25 miles : 6,910').

These prominent sandstone formations (7,159' and 7,267', respectively) rise sharply on either side of you with North Guardian Angel (7,395') directly ahead. East Northgate Peak is the most accessible of the three. 

The route to East Northgate Peak is not maintained, but established routes lead directly to it. From the basaltic outcrop, look down to your left for a piece of trail in the saddle between the peaks. A faint path drops through the lava rock pile and joins it (2.4 miles : 6,848').

Turn left and follow it to the white slickrock shoulder of East Northgate Peak. Look for cairns on the slickrock, which lead up a churned-up dirt path. This steep and somewhat unstable route climbs directly to the summit (2.55 miles : 7,159').

Enjoy panoramas from the summit which include features in Zion Canyon, Horse Pasture Plateau, Lava Point, The Kolob Plateau and Cougar Mountains.

Facebook Comments

Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N37 20.451 W113 04.552 — 0.0 miles : Wildcat Canyon Trailhead
  • N37 20.528 W113 04.037 — .55 miles : Travel on mesa
  • N37 20.374 W113 03.713 — .9 miles : Hop Valley Trail junction
  • N37 20.416 W113 03.611 — 1.05 miles : Northgate Peaks Trail junction
  • N37 19.533 W113 03.389 — 2.25 miles : Maintained trail ends on lava rocks
  • N37 19.570 W113 03.321 — 2.4 miles : Drop to and connect with trail to summit
  • N37 19.539 W113 03.237 — Route marker on slickrock to summit
  • N37 19.494 W113 03.218 — Route marker on dirt path to summit
  • N37 19.484 W113 03.208 — 2.55 miles : East Northgate Peak Summit

Worth Noting

  • West Northgate Peak and the North Guardian Angel are technical summits requiring ropes and advanced climbing skills. Do not attempt any summit when moisture is present.

  • Level terrain and good trail conditions make this a good choice for trail runners and a variety of winter activities. Mountain lions inhabit this area. Avoid running alone and at dusk or dawn. Exercise extreme caution along canyon rims

Camping and Backpacking Information

Permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips in Zion National Park. This includes climbing bivouacs, all thru-hikes of the Virgin River Narrows and tributaries, any trip into the Left Fork of North Creek (the Subway), and all canyons requiring the use of descending gear or ropes.

Permits are available at both Visitor Centers the day of or day before your trip. Permits are limited.

  • $15: 1-2 people
  • $20: 3-7 people
  • $25: 8-12 people

Permits may also be reserved up to 3 months in advance through the online reservation system. A $5 non-refundable fee + an additional fee determined by the size of your group is required when using the online reservation system. Click here to reserve

  • Camp only in designated sites.
  • Fires are not permitted at backcountry campsites or within the backcountry in Zion National Park.
  • Desert water sources are scarce and fragile. Do not bathe or wash dishes in creeks or pools. 

While there are no established backcountry campsites on the Wildcat Canyon Trail, a permit is still required for at-large backcountry camping in this area. 

Backcountry Water Sources

Wildcat Springs

  • Wildcat Springs is located 3.85 miles from Wildcat Canyon Trailhead. The spring is adjacent to the trail as you descend toward the bottom of Wildcat Canyon. This spring is well marked and typically flows year round. All water should be treated before consumption.

Blue Creek (fed by Blue Springs Reservoir)

  • Blue Creek is another generally perrenial water source located 4.25 miles from the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead. All water should be treated before consumption.

Rules and Regulations

  • There's a $30 fee per vehicle to enter Zion National Park (defined as private passenger cars with 15 people or less). Passes are good for 7 consecutive days.
  • $25 per motorcycle.
  • $15 per person (walk or bike).
  • Dogs are not permitted on trails in Zion National Park.

Directions to Trailhead

The Wildcat Canyon Trailhead is located on the east side of Kolob Terrace Road, 15.8 miles north of the turn-off from Highway 9 in the town of Virgin, Utah.

Contact Information

Zion Canyon Visitor Center
Open: Daily
Closed: December 25
Spring: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Summer: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Fall: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Winter: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Kolob Canyon Visitor Center
Open: Daily
Closed: December 25
Spring: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Summer: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fall: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Winter: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


No one has written any comments


Add Comment

Only used to identify you to ProTrails. Will not show on comments list.
Tell us when your experience with this trail happened.