On a recent trip to Zion NP I explored an area new to me: south of Lost Peak to the rim of Parunuweap Canyon. It wasn't technically difficult, with mild route finding and a high chance of encountering rattlesnakes. If that's your cup of tea, then keep reading.
The first part is simply a hike to the south ridge of Lost Peak (peak 6460) and takes less than an hour. Here's a post describing how to get to Lost Peak.
That portion of the hike has a fair chance of rattlesnakes. I've seen them in the brush near the top of Cockeye Falls. I've even had one rattle at me from the bushes at the base of the south ridge of Lost Peak. On this trip, I decided to be a tiny bit safer and wear rattlesnake gaitors as I crossed the meadow of bushes that surrounds the southern side of Lost Peak. I bought them onlilne from a supplier to forest service workers. Since then, they keep sending me catalogs with the most intriguing gear for sale.
The above photo shows the meadow of brush that's between Lost Peak and The Triplets, looking south. This is what I crossed. Here's another view looking from the base of Lost Peak's south ridge.
I hiked south along a dry wash to avoid snakes.
South of Lost Peak, I reached the edge of a small gully. It was much deeper than I imagined from viewing Google/Bing satellite imagery. I figured it'd be 30-40 feet deep and it was at least 80. I traversed easily enough to cross it at the shallow east end and reach the ridgeline.
Do not stray too far west when you're on the north side of that gully. A biological research area extends south to the bottom of that gully and east to roughly the longitude of Lost Peak. Hikers are not allowed in that area. The research area is indicated in green in the images below. I drew my route onto the second image.
This research area is shown on Map D from the Zion NP Backcountry Management Plan.
Looking back north, it's easy to see (left to right) Lost Peak, The Triplets, and Nippletop.
I hiked down the ridge heading south from that point. On a future hike I'll head down the longer ridgeline to the west and south. The next photo was taken from the ridge where I noticed that I needed to backup and downclimb to get further south on the ridge.
These photos are taken at the southern end of my hike.
Here's a shot looking back northeaast toward Nippletop.
My GPS track is shown in these Google Earth screencaps.
This was a fun hike. Not too hard. Not dangerous. Plus, I lucked out and didn't notice any rattlesnakes.