Zion Hiking Trails: Mollies Nipple Hike, outside Zion National Park
Difficulty: Both easy and difficult options exist
Distance: 2.2 miles round-trip
Average hiking time: 1.5 hours
Total elevation gain: 320 feet
Overlooking the Hurricane Valley near Zion National Park, Mollies Nipple is a notable landmark that is perfect for hiking. If you’re looking for a great hiking trail near Zion, this is it.
The name “Mollies Nipple” isn’t unique to this particular promontory. There are several geological formations throughout the United States with the same name. Many think that there should be an apostrophe — “Mollie’s Nipple” — yet there isn’t one according to the standards established by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. “Mollie” was a 1700s slang term for a prostitute, and it was rather common for settlers to come up with bawdy names for various geographical formations.
Mollies Nipple can be ascended easily from behind via a dirt road, but more adventurous hikers may prefer to hike directly up the front side of Mollies Nipple by way of the Hurricane Cliffs.
The easy route
This route requires a high-clearance vehicle. Take State Route 59 east from Hurricane. Travel three miles and turn right onto the gravel road that goes past Olympus Academy. Drive three more miles through Gould Wash. Turn right onto another dirt road and drive 0.3 miles. You will see another road to the right marked by a cattle guard. Follow this road one more mile into Frog Hollow Wash Reservoir and back up the other side.
This is where the road becomes rutted and bumpy. Continue southwest for one mile, and look for a westbound road that leads into Workman Wash. This is a good place to park as the road only gets worse from here, and it’s an easy one-mile walk to the base of Mollies Nipple.
The trail up the side of the Nipple is short but steep and involves some scrambling over volcanic rock. Once at the summit, hikers can enjoy the stunning 360-degree view that includes Sand Hollow, Quail Creek Reservoirs, Pine Valley Mountain and glimpses of Zion National Park. It is a little different than many Zion hikes because of the different view that you get.
The Difficult Route
Mollies Nipple is approachable from the front, but this is a more treacherous and challenging route. The trail up the face is narrow and difficult and involves 1,300 feet in elevation gain. Steep drop-offs mark most of the trail. however, for an avid, safety-minded hiker, it’s well worth the effort.
From State Route 9 in Hurricane, head south on 700 W for 2.4 miles. Turn left on 2300 S, then right on 675 W. Continue until reaching the end of the road. The trail is just south of the parking area.
As always, remember to bring plenty of water, snacks, a camera, and sunscreen.