I’ve been struggling on deciding how to write about my day trip to Zion National Park. I think the issue that I’m having is that Zion is an incredibly beautiful place and I really just want to do it justice. Since I really did spend the majority of my time in the Narrows, I wasn’t sure if I could do Zion as a whole justice. I mean you could probably spend a week here and still not feel like you’ve conquered the park. So I’ve decided to split it into two posts, one on Zion as a whole and another (stay tuned!) where I’ll go into detail on what you should definitely bring to hike the Narrows. Also, I’ve discovered since most of my time was spent in the Narrows with my camera in a waterproof bag I don’t nearly have enough photos of Zion.
One thing is for sure, if you are going to Zion, be prepared to hike. I think you see the most beautiful sections of the park on hikes. I’m really sad I didn’t have more time to do more exploring, but the Narrows was one of the best hikes I’ve ever made the decision to go on.
Once you arrive in Zion, you can get some really great views of the park on the drive in. There’s plenty of places to stop and take pictures. You really should try to aim at getting there early because the parking lots fill up really quickly. If you do get there a little later (like we did) there is plenty of parking in the town of Springdale. From there you take a shuttle to get to the Visitor center to enter the park. There are multiple shuttle stops along the main road. If you’re driving from East to West and pay at the East Gate but then you find yourself parking in Springdale, don’t forget to bring your receipt! Without thinking, we left ours in the car and luckily were able to persuade the walk-in gate attendant to let us in and not have to pay twice. Remember this!
There are a bunch of great hikes you can take in Zion. I had a few planned out that sounded like they had the most picturesque views of the valley. We probably would have had enough time to do them had we not done Bryce Canyon that morning. C'est la vie. Canyon Overlook Trail is supposed to be easy. About 1 mile and near the east entrance. I really wanted to do Angels Landing. It is actually a pretty strenuous hike with switch backs and a very narrow section at the end leaving you with cliffs on either side of the path, but it supposed to have the best views of the valley. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, though.
As mentioned, my favorite and only thing I did in Zion was to hike the Narrows. To get to the Narrows, take the shuttle (inside the park, not to be confused with the Springdale shuttle) to the very last stop, Temple of Sinawava. It takes about 45 minutes to get there with all of the other stops it makes. Make sure you go to the bathroom here and fill up with water. Then there is about a 1 mile walk on a paved riverside walk to the start of the Narrows. This is the part of the Narrows that you don’t need a permit for. That is for the bottom-down hike that takes nearly 2 days. Here you can get situated and maybe change into water shoes and put your things in waterproof bags. Don’t worry I’m posting a list of what to bring to the Narrows, so check back!
You can hike as far as you want wading through the waters of the Narrows. Be warned, you will be walking through water a grand majority of the time. There are sand banks on the side sometimes, but really you’re wading through the river. You’ll be walking on slippery rocks and fighting the current. I’m a shortie, so at some points the water got up to my waist! I really didn’t think I’d enjoy this as much as did, but it was so much fun, even for a non-hiker like me! Just remember to look up! I found myself trying to make sure I didn’t fall into the water (which I didn’t, hooray!) and forgetting to look up at the beautiful scenery I was wandering through.
I will definitely be going back to this beautiful park!
Yours Truly // Shannon