A One Week Guide to Zion National Park

A One Week Guide to Zion National Park

It’s been two weeks since our five-day Zion National Park trip, and man do I miss it! Zion has a landscape and climate that’s much different from what I’m accustomed to (wet, humid marshlands of southeast Texas and coastal Louisiana). The mixture of deep blue skies, combined with red, brown, and yellow layered canyons, and Zion’s bright green valleys is quite a sight!

I’d put Zion National Park in the top two best national parks I’ve been to (number one being Glacier National Park).

Our trip began by flying three hours from Houston, Texas to Las Vegas, Nevada, then we rented a car for the two-hour drive northeast to Springdale, Utah (small town right outside of Zion National Park). Springdale is a lively, hip town (especially compared to the rest of Utah) full of authentic cuisines and touristy attractions.

The weather was perfect, nighttime lows in the 40s, with daytime highs in the mid-80s. The sun was always out so better put on sun screen! Despite sunshine majority of the time, the air was dry as hell, so sweating was at a minimum. If you come from a humid environment, expect nose bleeds!

One of the biggest perks Zion offers is the very efficient shuttle system that runs throughout the park. Zion National Park doesn’t allow vehicles into the park itself, which helps tremendously with traffic in Zion and Springdale. Actually, we rarely used our rental vehicle since Springdale also has shuttles that drop off visitors right at the park’s entrance!

Zion National Park is extremely small compared to giant national parks like Glacier, Grand Canyon, and the Great Smokies. Because of this, Zion is usually packed like sardines, especially during its peak summer seasons. Most people only spend a day or two in Zion (and spend other days in nearby parks), so the two most popular hikes (Angel’s Landing and the Narrows) are pretty much Wal-Mart check-out lines. This leaves all other hikes in the park somewhat empty!

Below I’ve detailed our itinerary for our five-day trip to Zion, with photos we’ve taken along the way! F.Y.I. on Day 3 we visited Bryce Canyon and Day 4 was an all-day canyoneering trip right outside the park, so those days won’t be on the list!

 

Day 1

 

Watchman’s Trail

Watchman’s Trail
  • Right at the park’s entrance with a great overview of Zion and Springdale. Perfect hike to begin your trip and get an overall feel for the park!
  • Very underrated hike with moderate difficulty.
  • Roughly a 2-hour 3.3-mile roundtrip hike with an elevation gain of 368 feet.

Lower & Upper Emerald Pool Trail:

  • Don’t expect lavish waterfalls flowing into any large bodies of water at the end of this trail. Since it’s a dry climate, these pools aren’t too impressive (unless maybe after rainfall). Probably the least appealing hike on the trip.
  • Easy/moderate difficulty.
  • Roughly a 2-hour 2.2-mile roundtrip hike with an elevation gain of 269 feet.

 

Day 2

 

Angel’s Landing Trail:

Angel’s Landing Trail
  • Top 2 most popular hike in Zion, meaning it’ll be extremely packed (go early or late in the evening), but rewards you with one of the best high point views of Zion National Park.
  • Very strenuous difficulty, with a history of fatalities (15 total). Not for young children or elderly folks, as well as people who have a fear of heights or steep, dangerous edges. Some areas require chained railings to hold onto.
  • Roughly a 4-hour 5.4-mile roundtrip hike with an elevation gain of 1,488 feet.

Hidden Canyon Trails:

Hidden Canyon Trail
  • More scenic, in my opinion, than Angel’s Landing Trail, but the end of the trail was disappointing (a sign that read “This is the end of the trail.”).
  • Strenuous difficulty, with high, steep edges and chained railings to hold onto. Not as risky as Angel’s Landing, mainly because they aren’t as many people hiking the trail!
  • Roughly a 2.5-hour 2.4-mile roundtrip hike with an elevation gain of 850 feet.

 

Day 5

 

The Narrows

The Narrows
  • Top 2 most popular hike in Zion, which like Angel’s Landing, was a parking lot. Very unique trail that goes in and out of the Virgin River that created Zion National Park after it was dammed off.
  • Strenuous difficulty because of how long it can be (all day hike depending on your pace). Proper rented footwear and walking sticks are definitely needed for the river’s slippery rocks and cold, fast-moving waters. Water can get up to chest deep in some areas if you aren’t aware of your surroundings!
  • Roughly an 8-hour 9.4-mile roundtrip hike with an elevation gain of 334 feet.

 

Hope you enjoyed this week’s informative post and Zion’s beautiful sights that came along with our trip! If you’ve missed last week’s post on the benefits of cold showers, then click here! Don’t forget to like, comment, share, and subscribe!

 

“Breathe the air of new places.”

 

Book of the Month:                       “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k” by Mark Manson

 

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