Checkerboard Mesa, Zion National Park

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Checkerboard Mesa

A unique geological formation of Navajo sandstone, Zion's Checkerboard Mesa can be viewed from Mt.Carmel-Zion Highway, offering opportunities for photography, sight-seeing by car, or a day hike.

  • While traveling from Zion's east entrance, Checkerboard Mesa's spectacular north side can not be missed.
  • Several convenient pullouts offer opportunity for photography enthusiasts and park visitors.
  • Explore the unique geology of Checkerboard Mesa up close during a two mile hike that spans 900 feet to the summit.


Just inside Zion National Park's eastern entrance, Checkerboard Mesa is impossible to miss.  A unique geological feature, Zion's Checkerboard Mesa features vertical and horizontal fissures along the entire north side of the mesa, creating the checkerboard effect.  For sightseeing purposes, the spectacular north side is in full view from the road. Several pullouts near the mesa provide convenient view points for picture-taking purposes.

Location and Access

Located immediately inside Zion's eastern entrance along the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, also known as scenic byway 9, Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park can be viewed both by car and by foot.  Several pullouts are located for those hoping for a unique photography opportunity.  For those wishing to explore Checkerboard Mesa up close, the hiking trail head is located at the Checkerboard Mesa viewpoint parking lot.

Hiking Checkerboard Mesa

This two mile round trip hike features an elevation gain of 900 feet to the Checkerboard Mesa's summit.  Known as a hike 'off the beaten path', navigation skills are needed. The upper portion of the trail will test the leg muscles with some serious steeps, requiring good hiking shoes and good physical ability. This hike is not advised if snow grips the mesa.

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