Just a quick update, since I have spotty Wi-Fi and absolutely no cell signal where we’re staying. In fact, we went the whole day in Capitol Reef National Park and it was liberating. We spent yesterday exploring Bryce Canyon National Park. It was spectacular, but more to come on that later. Today we hit Capitol Reef Park, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Petrified Forest State Park. We had an exhausting day clocking in over 30,000 steps and countless miles. Tomorrow we head northeast to Canyon Lands National Park. When I have better internet and more energy, I’ll write about each of the parks.
We’ve spent the last two days exploring Zion National Park. This is the first national park we’’re visiting this week. Tomorrow we’ll head to Bryce Canyon for our second park of the tour. Zion absolutely lived up to our expectations. We will be back. When we return, we’re going to complete the Narrows and Angel’s Landing hikes. We were unable to complete the Narrows today due to weather and the risk of flash flooding.
Before you go, here are some things to consider.
- The busy season run from April to Early October. And it is busy, plan to get there early in the morning if you’re not staying in the park.
- Buy the Interagency America the Beautiful pass. For $80 ($20 for seniors, free for military,) it gives you access to all of the National Parks.
- The Zion National Park newspaper is a good resource for planning your visit.
- Watch the weather carefully. The weather will impact your ability to complete certain hikes (like the Narrows) safely.
- Get the right gear! You’ll need good hiking shoes and socks, ponchos, jackets, walking sticks, hats, sunglasses, charger for your cell phone, lots of water and snacks. We also brought bear spray, sunscreen and bug spray
- Prepare to be flexible. Your planned hikes may need to change depending on the weather conditions. We were scheduled to do the Narrows today, but couldn’t due to the rain and possibility of flash flooding.
Some of our favorite hikes:
- Emerald Pools is a moderate hike that feature three uniquely colored pools and waterfall. It’s a busy hike, so get their early.
- The Watchman trail is a 3.3 miles moderate trail up to a beautiful viewpoint of the Towers of the Virgin, Lower Zion Canyon and the town of Springdale. This was my personal favorite.
- Riverside walk is 2.2 miles and leads to the beginning of the Narrows. It is an easy, mostly paved hike. We got to the end of the Riverside walk and decided to do the beginning of the Narrows.
- Kayenta Trail is a 2 mile moderate trail that connects the Grotto trail to the Emerald Pools trail.
Animals you may see while visiting Zion (not an exhaustive list):
- Desert pronghorn sheep
- Mule deer
- North American rock squirrel
- California condor
- Gray fox
The park has a beautiful visitor centers and numerous nice restroom facilities throughout the park. There is a shuttle system that is quite efficient that takes guests up and down the canyon to the different trailheads. If you’ve never been to Zion National Park, I’d recommend adding it to your list of places to visit.
My number one priority tomorrow is getting us safely to Bryce Canyon. We’re leaving Zion and heading to our second National Park of the trip. I’m a bit nervous as Bryce has gotten some snow over the last couple of days. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see what Bryce and the surrounding area have to offer.
It’s almost time to start packing for my trip to Utah. This will likely be my last trip to visit my Boy before he moves out of the state. I have really enjoyed our family trips to Utah. Particularly, I’ve enjoyed exploring the mountains of the Wasatch Front and surrounding national forests. It is an absolutely beautiful place to visit even if the food sucks. I’m hopeful that the food in South Eastern Utah will be better.
This trip will be different because Jake and I are going to explore the Mighty Five and surrounding state parks. For the uninitiated, the Mighty Five are Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park. Southern Utah is jam-packed with wonderful places to explore. We’ll be there for a week, so it will be quite busy as we explore as much as possible. I’m really looking forward to the different hiking experiences each park will bring.
I may try to post some updates while in Utah, but most of our time will be spent off the grid. In fact, the Hubby and my folks have a copy of our hiking itinerary, so they know where we’re at. This was if we get lost on a trial and they don’t hear from us, they know where to direct people. Obviously, I don’t think anything would happen, but these parks, their canyons, and rivers can be unforgiving. I want to be prepared in the event one of us gets injured.
I’ve already bought most of the stuff we need for the hikes with a few exceptions. Once I get to Utah, I’ll pick up some bear spray. The Mighty Five have plenty of bears and plenty of latibules where they can hide. Honestly, and I don’t know why, but I can’t talk about or write about bears without thinking of Dwight Shrute from The Office. In addition to the bear spray, I’ll pick up snacks for the trail out west.
What could I do more of? Travel! I don’t travel nearly enough. I wish we weren’t strapped to 9-5 jobs that keep us from exploring the world. It’s kind of a shame that we don’t have enough time off in the year to explore the world with our families. The culture of working 24/7 is toxic and serves nobody, but the C suite and shareholders.