We arrived in Zion mid-day Sunday after a short drive from St. George and we set out to take care of some business as we knew we had a lot to see. First we needed to get our backcountry camping permit for Monday night which required a long stop at the visitors center due to the parking situation as the park fills up quickly and you need to park in town and shuttle or run into the park from Springdale. Luckily, we got changed at our hotel for that night and put on some running clothes, it was time to get a move on. I would highly recommend you do not go to Zion during peak season unless you like running rather than shuttles and occasionally waiting in theme park like lines which were already starting in early May.
Day 1:A half day of hitting the easy hikes of some of the must sees. We ran up the Pa'Rus trail to the third shuttle stop at Canyon Junction which was about 2.5 miles from upper Springdale. From there we boarded the shuttle. The Narrows was fully closed to hike up due to high water so we headed to the Riverwalk and viewing area first where we saw as much of the Narrows that we could that day. This was a 2 mile round-trip run that took about 30 minutes with pictures and other play time. The Narrows is the last shuttle stop at Temple of Sinawa so we started taking small hikes as we headed back down the valley. The quick hikes or short paved trail walks that Zion offers right off the shuttle include the Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock, and the overlook of the Patriarchs. (pics below!)
It took a while to get used to hiking Angel's Landing, the initial climb is a couple miles and, in our opinion, runnable. It will take some gas out of the tank however. After that, the sand-coated smooth rock means you will be hiking and if there is crowd you'll be waiting to use pieces of the chain as there is only one way traffic.
Some pictures of Angel's Landing shows why people go on such a dangerous and sometimes frustratingly crowded and slow hike. Wear your hiking/trail shoes and do not be like us, do not plan to be done by a certain time because you have other places to be. The crowds in Zion, and especially on this trail where for some reason people who are scared of heights continue to push on and occasionally freeze while latching to the side of a chain on a downward angled rock, will make the round-trip time unpredictable.
We were able to get down from Angel's Landing albeit a little later than expected and were happy with what will likely be a once in a lifetime experience. Hurriedly, we hopped on the highway and headed to start our backpacking trip.
|Panorama from our Campsite in Kolob Canyon|
|Kolob Arch - Largest Freestanding in the World?|
Day 3: We hiked out of our beautiful campsite back out of the canyon. We had booked another night in Springdale and planned on taking care of more of the highlights that Zion offers. Unfortunately, you will likely have to choose to forgo certain excursions if you're on a time crunch while at Zion due to the length of some of the big attractions. We were unable to get to the Subway and Observation Point with the way our plans fell and our decision to head to Kolob Arch. That being said, we made sure to get to the Museum, Zion Brewing, and enjoy the views during date night to celebrate a successful trip. Spotted Dog provided a nice upscale western dining experience if you like a little civilized dining after eating freeze-dried meals during camping. Check out the pictures and get yourself to Zion if you haven't already! Just be prepared for some unique excursions and crowds.
It was a rainy last day! Luckily we weren't looking to cling to the side of cliffs anymore.
This is the overlook from Weeping Rock, a short steep uphill hike that can easily be a small part of a day.
Emerald Pool 1 being filled by a water fall from the rock above the trail. A similar and beautiful scene similar to Weeping Rock.