The Sentinel in Zion National Park

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The Sentinel

Standing like a tall watchman over the canyon, The Sentinel is one of the most famous rock formations of the park, with towering sandstone in rusty orange layers and an imposing summit.

  • The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway provides some excellent vantage points for pictures of The Sentinel.
  • From the canyon floor, the Court of the Patriarchs is the best place to see the imposing sandstone formation.
  • The Sand Bench Trail crosses the ancient landslide at the base of the mountain.
  • Rock climbers regularly challenge the steep cliffs during spring and fall.

Overview

One of the easiest places to get a good view of the 7,157 ft. Sentinel is from the Court of the Patriarchs. This is a steep, 100-yard trail to views of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Peaks, Mount Moroni, and The Sentinel.

Often, however, visitors simply watch the impressive mountain cliffs from their car as they drive on Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway to or from another location. The scenic pullouts are great chances to get out of the car, stretch the legs, and take some pictures of this incredible mountain.

Location & Information

The Sentinel is situated northwest of Canyon Junction, on the West Rim of the Canyon, which makes the east side of the canyon a perfect place to get perspective. 

With the exception of Sand Bench Trail running past the ancient slide, there are no defined paths to the Sentinel. Informal paths do exist, but these are not maintained by the park service, so use caution and common-sense. Backcountry permits are required if exploring these paths.

For more information, contact the Zion National Park directly.

Zion National Park
Springdale, UT 84767
(435) 772-3256
http://www.nps.gov/zion/

Activities

Climbing is a popular activity for the adventurous, and Zion is well known for its repertoire of terrain. Recommended seasons are spring and fall, as the summer creates intensely hot conditions. Be sure to check with the ranger station, as climbs are closed if there are nesting peregrine falcons in the area.

The Sand Bench Trail is a 6-mile moderate loop at the base of The Sentinel. As the trail leads closer to the base, the actual mountain is less visible, but the views of the Three Patriarchs and the East Rim become clearer. The path crosses the old landslide that dammed the Virgin River for years.

Fun Facts

The Sentinel has been the location of many of the park's slides, including one 7,000 years ago that helped create the canyon floor and a massive slide in 1995 that dammed the Virgin River, blocking visitors in the Zion Lodge.

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Other The Sentinel Resources

Yavapai Point

High overlook of the Grand Canyon, along the South Rim.