Exploring Zion National Park

From Bryce and Red Canyon we drove towards Zion National Park. Due to winter being so strong, we could not use the scenic byway that runs through Zion and had to drive around. This was a hidden gem as we were forced to drive by Kolob Canyon, which was not to be missed.

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Streams and views

We stopped at the Kolob Canyon visitors center for maps and to ask which trails were open. We decided on hiking the Taylor Creek trail, also considered Middle Fork. It was the longest hike open at the time without going into the backcountry.

The rangers, however did not warn us about the creek crossings. During the scenic 5-mile hike, we crossed the stream approximately 50 times to get to the treasure at the end. To note, 50 times was our guess as told by a man met on the hike. We didn’t count, but it feels about accurate.

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Slots!

At the end of the hike, you are submerged into the Canyon and red. It was awe-inspiring.

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Engulfed by canyon

Next on to Springdale and Zion National Park. Springdale is a great place to stay for the accessibility to the park. shuttles run pick-up at least every 1/2 miles around Springdale to bring you into the park. Cars are only allowed in the first portion of the park and unless you want to arrive at 7am each morning, the shuttle is the way to go!

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View going up Angel’s Landing

Zion was crowded, so very crowded. Everything you read is correct about this park concerning the long lines, people hiking in sandals and the shuttle.

Since it was April, we knew we may run into some trails that were closed due to the winter. We did not expect how many would be closed, but still made due. The Narrows, Weeping Rock (starting trail to Observation Point) and Upper Emerald Falls were all closed. So we opted for the Riverside walk (great for families, otherwise skip), Lower Emerald Pools (was fine) and Angel’s Landing.

I’m just going to speak to Angel’s Landing – just do it. If you’re in reasonably decent health, at least go up the switchbacks (Walters Wiggles) and to the first landing. Then if you feel the urge, keep going across the chains. Now this is coming from a person with a fear of heights. But this fear does seem to be waning, sometimes. I shake like a leaf flying or rock climbing but somehow I was completely fine doing the chains up.

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Grabbing the chains

The 1/2 mile to the top is rough – uneven sandstone mixed with sand, people gripping the chains, high step-ups all add to the intimidation and thrill on Angel’s Landing. Of course be prepared for it, wear proper shoes (trail or boots, Nikes are NOT ok), bring water and be courteous to those coming down the chains (or up as it were). But overall everyone was polite, waited their turn and the encouragement was fantastic! If the chains aren’t your thing, you can go up the opposite side onto the West Rim trail.

Take some time to relish in the effort and views. It’s worth it!

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Views well worth the hike

Place I wish I spent more time? Exploring Kolob Terrace. Next time Zion, next time.

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