This past week we had a opportunity to spend half a day in Zion National Park. Sadly, a few hours is not enough to really to explore all that this park has to offer. Having any time at all here leaves you hungry to explore more of Zion and the other wonders that Utah has to offer.
As Utah’s oldest and most popular national park, Zion is located in Southern Utah, about 163 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada. The quaint little town of Springdale is the somewhat official starting place to begin a visit. There you can board a tram for entry into the park, spend the night in one of the lodges, stop for a meal or drink in one of the cute cafes or restaurants, or visit one of the many rock and gem stores found there.
We chose to drive into the park as we had big plans for a picnic after some exploring.
Once inside you will need to park your vehicle and board one of the trams that run throughout Zion.
The trams reduce the pollution and congestion within the park. At no cost to the rider, you can hop on or off at one of the many stops. They stop at such interesting places like The Grotto and Court of the Patriarchs. Running about every 15 minutes there is really no disadvantage to this arrangement. In fact, you can get a nice overview and scenic overload from the tram. Load up your bike, picnic, or hiking gear to head out for an extraordinary day!
Zion is extremely popular with hikers. To really appreciate all of the beautify and diversity found here one might need to explore beyond the visitor center and tram stops. Destinations such as Emerald Pool Trails and Angels Landing called to us but with our limited time and my agility, we had to carefully choose where to spend our time. We decided on The Narrows which is perhaps one of the most familiar and popular hikes. (A great place if you are in Zion during a hot summer day). We departed the shuttle at The Temple of Sinawava and hiked the 2.5 mile (round trip) Riverside Trail along the Virgin River to the entrance of The Narrows. Once you begin the hike through the narrows, the water can be ankle deep and even chest high in some places. I was pretty impressed with myself that I was able to make the hike at all! The trail is nicely paved and even-which makes it wheelchair accessible! Many of the people we passed along the way were prepared for the water. They had hiking sticks, backpacks, water-proof pants, or water-proof leggings. People of all ages were prepared for the water adventure.
Along the trail we were able to appreciate the hanging gardens…
…plants that seemed to grow right out of a rock wall.
The trail meandered along The Virgin River.
We observed the Weeping Rocks…
…where water seems to seep from the rocks.
The majestic views were breath taking.
The canyons were wide and the skies were blue.
After our hike and the 90 minute tram ride, we headed back to the visitor center and our awaiting picnic. A few years ago we were able to hike the Timber Creek Overlook Trail which is located in the most northern part of Zion.
Located in higher elevations, the scenery is as beautiful. There is a five mile scenic drive that rises above the majestic canyons and the red rocks of the Kolob Canyons. It was merely by chance that we discovered this often forgotten area of Zion. When traveling through Utah to another destination, we took a chance to stop here not realizing that Kolob Canyon is somewhat separate from the main part of Zion but should not be missed!
With many of Utah’s National Parks yet to explore, we have Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capital Reef on our list of places to visit. We do love the outdoors and are already planning our next adventure!