The Grand Finale!

Trip Start Mar 20, 2010
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Trip End Aug 25, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Utah
Saturday, May 29, 2010

Zion marks the last of the National Parks stops on our whirlwind tour of the Grand Circle!  

We entered Zion National Park from the east entrance, via route 9.  It was to our advantage that we ended up entering from the east because it gave us an opportunity to see a side of the park that not many people go to.  When you enter from the east you are exposed to the checkboard mesa - a completely different terrain then the rest of the park, it is filled with many layer of colorful steep slick rock.  From the east entrance you then go through 2 tunnels that lead you to the main Zion Canyon area where you drive down a switch back to the bottom of the canyon to the visitors center and main entrance. From the visitors center you can then grab the canyon's free shuttle that takes you into the canyon and all the vista and trail head points.  Outside of the road that takes you to the east entrance from the main entrance and back, cars are not allowed in the canyon and you must take the shuttle around.

Before crossing the final tunnel into the south side of the canyon we took a really neat hike on the Canyon Overlook trail.  Once we reached the visitor center we were engulfed in the sheer chaos of the park...this place was PACKED!!  We basically just walked around the visitor center to get a feel for the park and plan our next day of hiking.  

The next morning Christina literally dragged Brian out of bed in order to get to the park before the crowd set in.  By the time we reached the visitor's center it was about 8am and the park was nice and empty, no pestering tourists nor annoying lines, etc.  We quickly jumped on the free shuttle and made our way to the Angel's Landing Trail.  This was a great hike, it offered great views, changing scenery, and many challenging points - A LOT of steep uphill stretches and switch backs.  About 1/2 mile before the tippy top of Angel's Landing you reach a plateau where you can hang out, or contemplate completing the last 1/2 mile.  This needs serious contemplation because it is at this point that the trail narrows, and turns into a twisting cliff side stairwell with chains that one can hold on to as they climb the mountain.  Without exaggeration, there is no room for error on the trail...there are signs that say "Falls from cliffs on trails have resulted in death" with a picture of a body falling off a cliff.  Meanwhile you see people going up like it is nothing. We thought about it but couldn't get passed the height exposure.  We did the first couple of feet to the next ledge, but stopped when the trail turned into the cliff side stairs.  Two hikers that we followed up looked at us and said we should do it that it wasn't that bad that even his grandmother could do it..we were like..is she blind!??   We descended back to the bottom and continued hiking across Kayenta Trail, to the Emerald Pools Trails and ended at the Zion Lodge.  By the time we finished everything it was bout 11:30 and back at the bottom of the canyon we were greeted by buses and buses of people beginning their day/hikes - as suspected the visitor's center was a mob scene..we just looked at them all and said ..thank God we beat this chaos.  We finished our day with lunch at Oscar's Cafe in Springdale - great fish tacos.

http://www.utah.com/nationalparks/zion.htm

We both really loved Zion.  From a hiking perspective, the hikes we did in Zion were our favorite of all the ones we have done so far.  The park is so beautiful and there is something for everyone. We stayed in St George, about 1 hr from the park, but right outside the south entrance of the park is Springdale, which is a cute town that offers a free shuttle to the park.  

May 29 -31
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Comments

Golda on

Did I miss something a travel blog? What happened to the mountain biking in moab? And arches national park?

Dad on

I made the mistake again as I did in some of your earlier park visits. On one of the earlier photos of Zions, I commented "Absolutely beautiful!". Then many following photos got even "More Beautifuler!". Few people go to Vegas to rest, but you guys must need one.

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