Vacationing in Zion National Park
Utah isn't a place that most people think of when they are looking for a beautiful landscape. However, there are a couple of places that save it's reputation, including the famous arches in Moab. But further south in the state there's another National Park that's something of a miniature Grand Canyon.
Zion boasts many beautiful natural wonders, and the park is very well preserved. Hikes range from an simple walk to strenuous, and the facilities are clean and updated. The scenery is spectacular, and enjoyable because of the pleasantness of the weather.
So why not plan a trip to explore Zion's network of breathtaking canyons? If you love the great outdoors, it could be a dream place for you. Here are a few things that you could find very enjoyable.
One of the most famous hikes in the park, Angel's Landing is a magnificent rock that towers more than a thousand feet above the canyon floor. The trail is somewhat strenuous, starting with a dirt path that leads to a brick path, getting steeper and steeper as you go. A fairly flat section comes just before Walter's Wiggles, a famous and infamous set of 21 steep switchbacks.
But after you come out of the switchbacks the fun is just beginning. The last half-mile of the trail is full of narrow trails, large rocks to climb, and a glorious overlook of the canyon at the top.
Trail Difficulty: Hard
This is a beautiful, laid back hike that you can take as far as you like. Three lakes of greenish water are found as the trail goes up, each one unique and pretty. The trails are fairly easy, though they do get steeper as the trail progresses. The top pool is definitely worth the work though, being surrounded by rock walls with trees and plants seemingly growing straight out of the rock. The moisture in the air makes the foliage green and lush, and the trail is a mixture of dirt and sand.
Trail Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Get ready to go swimming! The Narrows, located in a far end of the canyon, make a fun hike with a different twist, since portions of it require wading, and sometimes almost swimming. The hike down the canyon provides a variety of terrain, and you can take it as far as you like. During certain seasons the trail is closed, but if the waters are low enough you can even plan an over-night back packing trip. This one is a little tougher, especially if the water is moving faster, but it can be lots and lots of fun.
Trail Difficulty: Hard
A half mile round trip walk up a path comes to a massive rock, hanging over a small natural pavillion. Constantly dripping water has earned it the title of Weeping Rock as well as creating a rain forest type of atmosphere with beautiful plants growing everywhere, with a variety of flowers, vines, and plants growing everywhere.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Though I didn't do any rock climbing during my visit to Zion, there are many rocks that are famous for how great they are for the sport. Just make sure to get all of the appropriate passes and permits-- it is after all a national park! But the great heights of the rocks would make this a great place, and the scenery would only add to the fun.
Zion Lodge is the official lodging in the park, and is beautifully situated. The rooms have been updated and part of a complex that has a restaurant, souvenir shop, and open areas. Because the lodge is located back in the canyon on a road that is closed to most vehicles, there are free shuttles that will take visitors up and down the canyon.
Out of the canyon and further into the park there is a small restaurant, ice cream shop, and other amenities, as well as a visitors center with lots of history and geological information.