The Taylor Creek Wilderness is a thirty-two acre BLM property that sits completely within the boundaries of the Zion National Park in Utah. The wilderness has a stunning landscape of red sandstone walled canyons and unusual rock formations alongside a meandering creek lined with oak, juniper and mountain mahogany. Bordered in part by the awe-inspiring Kolob Canyons, the Taylor Creek Wilderness is one of the BLM's most scenic wildernesses in the lower forty-eight.
The rugged terrains of the Taylor Creek Wilderness are relatively easy to access BLM lands that offer some fantastic outdoor recreation in a remote location with few other humans around to spoil the experience. There are some great trails for hiking that follow the course of the creek, incredible photographic opportunities with subjects ranging from towering rock faces to plants and the many birds and animals inhabiting the area. The more adventurous RV camper can participate in climbing, bouldering, canyoneering or whitewater rafting as well as mountain biking in the Zion National Park itself. Wildlife spotters will be in their element in the wilderness particularly if seeing raptors in flight is high on their list of ambitions.
While vehicle access to the Taylor Creek Wilderness is strictly prohibited and there are no campgrounds within its boundaries, there are campgrounds for RVs close by in the Zion National Park. For day-only visitors looking to park up then head into the wilderness on foot, the Kolob Canyon Visitor Center has a parking facility as well as maps and brochures on the area. All visitors to the Zion National Park and any wilderness within its boundaries must stop off at the center to pay the park entrance fee and obtain a wilderness permit.
Whether you're heading to the Taylor Creek Wilderness from the north or south of Utah, you'll be doing it on the I 15. That means you'll have a good, more or less straight run with no difficult roads to contend with. From the I 15, you'll need to turn-off onto the Old US 91 then onto the Kolob Canyon Road to get to the Kolob Canyon Visitor Center to make the statutory stop for paying the park entrance fee and picking up your wilderness permit.
If you've been RV camping over in the Dixie National Forest, it'll take you approximately an hour to get from there to the visitor center or your chosen campground. If you're motoring in from Nevada after spending time in the Valley of Fire State Park, once you hit the town of Moapa on the I 15, you'll have just about one and a half hours of easy driving ahead of you. It's a scenic drive that will take you by the Beaver Dam National Conservation Area and along the southern and eastern borders of the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area.
The Lava Point Campground is situated in the northern region of the Zion National Park and is the closest to the Taylor Creek Wilderness. It's a small campground with only six campsites that have no utility hook-ups. Rig size is restricted to less than nineteen feet due to the difficult access road. There is no water at the campground and the only basic facility there is a pit toilet. The campground is typically open from May to September but this also depends on annual weather conditions.
Another option for RV campers in the Zion National Park is the South Campground. While it is further away from the Taylor Creek Wilderness, it's a larger and more easily accessed site with over one-hundred campsites suitable for RVs up to one-hundred feet in length. There are no utility hook-ups at any of the campsites, but drinking water is available on-site. The South Campground is usually open from the beginning of March to the end of October. Pitches at both campgrounds in the Zion National Park must be reserved prior to arrival via the recreation.gov website.
You'll find some of the best outback hiking trails running through the Taylor Creek Wilderness and the surrounding area of the Zion National Park. Hit the trailhead for the Taylor Creek Trail just north-east of the Kolob Canyon Visitor Center along the East Kolob Canyon Road. The trail is a five-mile out-and-back hike along Taylor Creek that leads to the Double Arch Alcove, a natural cave formation.
Stay on East Kolob Canyon Road rather than taking the Taylor Creek Trail and you'll find yourself at the Kolob Viewpoint from where there are amazing views over the countryside. From the viewpoint, you can access the trailhead for the Timber Creek Overlook Trail, a one-mile-long out and back trek along a ridge with views to take your breath away.
Set out to explore the Taylor Creek Wilderness without your camera and you'll never forgive yourself. The wilderness offers so many opportunities for incredible shots that you won't know what to shoot next.
From the colored layers of rock on the canyon walls, the caves of the Double Arch Alcove with their black and white striping to the trees along the side of the creek and even the creek itself. Make sure you fully charge your camera battery before going, you'll need it and a spare memory card too.
Climbing and canyoneering are both permitted activities in the Taylor Creek Wilderness, though anyone hoping to participate in the sports must acquire the relevant permit prior to setting out. Climbers and canyoneers must also be aware of the different regulations applicable to their specific sport.
By using existing routes and bolts, not removing vegetation from crevices and not using white chalk means you'll be able to enjoy your climb in an environmentally friendly way.
In the Zion National Park, to the south of the Taylor Creek Wilderness, is one of Utah's most exciting whitewater challenges – The Narrows. Located on the wild and scenic Virgin River, the trip down over the rapids and raging waters is for Class V experienced paddlers only.
All kayaking or rafting through the Narrows requires a permit which must be obtained at least one day in advance of going. Permits are not issued for same-day activities, so plan in advance or you could miss your chance.
The varied vegetation of the Taylor Creek Wilderness provides distinct habitats for a huge range of wildlife. On a ground level in the wooded areas, you'll be able to spot several species of game birds including grouse and turkey. Soaring overhead there'll be bald and golden eagles as well as smaller members of the raptor family such as kestrels, falcons, and hawks.
Rock squirrels scamper along the canyon walls and many mammals head to the creek to drink so keep an eye out for foxes, coyotes, porcupines, and beavers.
While you're in the vicinity, don't miss visiting the very informative Zion Human History Museum. The museum is crammed with fascinating exhibits about the Native Americans of the area and the pioneer settlers, plus there are extensive photographic and document collections as well as artworks to browse. The museum houses both permanent and temporary exhibits and has a gift shop on site.