The Canyon Overlook Trail is a short easy family hike to a great overlook of the main canyon. The small parking lot (on the south side of the road) fills up quickly in the busy summer months, but there are several small overflow parking lots a little further east off of the road. The trailhead is quite visible north of the road behind the ranger traffic booth. This hike is a quick one -- less than half a mile to the viewpoint and roughly an hour hiking time (round trip). The manufactured trail is mostly level and was carved out of the slickrock above Pine Creek. The habitat is typical dry canyon and high desert with some pinyon juniper and mixed oak woodland.
The canyon overlook is a very popular trail for the beautiful views of the park it affords. This makes it quite the tourist trap and you will often find the trail clogged with other people. Birding wise it isn't a major birding destination, but because of the amount of traffic it receives, a lot of birders end up birding here. The species found are typical of the drier canyon and juniper habitats of the park and there aren't any specialty birds you can find here that you won't find elsewhere in the park. You will probably encounter WESTERN SCRUB-JAY, WHITE-THROATED SWIFT, CANYON and ROCK WREN, and BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER. The areas with Juniper should be checked for JUNIPER TITMOUSE, and BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER. The clear views of the ridges from here are great for looking for raptors like TURKEY VULTURE, GOLDEN EAGLE, and if you're lucky a CALIFORNIA CONDOR. If you plan on going here I recommend doing so early in the day to avoid lots of others, it will make the birding much more enjoyable!
All Zion National Park hot spots directions in Zion Canyon, or to the east will originate from the visitor center parking lot for consistency. Anything in the north and west sides of the park will come from the nearest major intersection. Exit the visitor center lot and go north .1 mile to SR-9. Turn right here and follow the road 6 miles as it switchbacks up the canyon and goes through the tunnel. Once you exit the tunnel the trail head is about 250' ahead on your left.