Kam goes to: Zion National Park

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Zion National Park

Stop number two on our weekend adventure was Zion National Park.

I dreamed of going to Zion for years. The first time I saw a photo or heard about Zion NP was in a scrapbooking magazine and the layout was amazing and the large photo stole my heart. I knew I needed to go. Fast forward a few years and I made it! This is my 6th national park.

Zion was only about an hour and half from Bryce Canyon National Park, whew knew?!

We came in through the east entrance and we were instantly transported to a different world. Part of the excitement of not taking the south entrance? The Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel is on this side of the park! It is a mile long tunnel through a freaking rock mountain that opened in the 1930s and is really scary but neat at the same time. Also, there is much more of the park to see from this entrance. The south entrance is mere feet from the campgrounds and visitor center…boring!

We spent Saturday afternoon through Monday (early) morning in Zion. There is quite a bit to do, but have no fear! The free (mandatory) shuttle takes you everywhere you need to go!

The canyon is really beautiful, the walls of the canyon are so tall but they aren’t claustrophobic. The Virgin River runs through the park…starting up near The Narrows. Boyfriend and I are hoping to return during a non-flash flood time of the year to do The Narrows, we weren’t prepared to do it this time and didn’t want to run the risk of becoming injured or dying. I’m serious, folks.

The Virgin River and Angel’s Landing in the background

I think my favorite part of the entire trip was hiking Hidden Canyon. I won’t go into detail here, but there was some serious rock scrambling involved and a few of those moments where I question why I even enjoy hiking to begin with…like when I came to the point in the trail (that is not mentioned in the little paper they give you!) where it is probably a good idea to hold onto the chains the park service installed along the wall…not a handrail or guardrail, mind you…a chain running along the wall. Yeah.

After the scrambling and risky antics coming down the trail was cake…who needs a fancy chain to stay alive? My knees are still a little sore from the mega stairs (remember, I’m a little lady, anything that is not quite ‘to code’ is really too much for me) and steep downhill.

The Virgin River in the foreground and The Watchman in the background

What did we do?

  • Ate dinner (twice!) at the lodge
  • Went on four hikes on Sunday
  • Did a bit of bouldering…sans crash pad
  • Attended a Ranger Program about climbers within the park boundaries (animal and human)
  • Saw plenty of deer and wild turkeys 
  • Snapped plenty of photos
  • Made plans to return as soon as possible

Showing off my new thermal (we call them ‘waffle shirts’) while on the edge of the cliff

If you are planning a trip to Zion National Park, I suggest making camping reservations as soon as you can. There is only one campground that takes reservations within the park boundaries and the other campsite is first-come-first-serve. There is a lodge within the boundaries as well and a few campsites and plenty of motels/hotels right outside the park…and yes, there is a free shuttle going there, too! This place is pretty into making things easy.

Again, I left my National Parks Passport at home so I picked up some more WPA postcards and stamped the back of them at the cancellation desk. I’m looking forward to figureing out how to get this postcards into a spiral bound notebook that is clearly smaller than said postcards…Suggestions?

I can’t wait to share some more about the hikes (uh…nicely paved nature trails) we did and more about our plans for our next trip :)

Have you been to Zion National Park?
Do you live near a National Park?
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Adventure National Park Weekend

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