Hiking Zion National Park in Utah

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Zion is a favorite national park in south-west Utah.    Here, the North Fork of the Virgin River has carved a canyon that is renowned for its sheer vertical walls, challenging hiking and amazing views.

IMG_0929Cathy and I have returned three times in the last 5 winters, and we will be there this April.  Twice we have stayed in a suite at Cable Mountain Lodge  for 4 or 5 days.  The Lodge is very comfortable, the rooms have kitchen facilities, and a big benefit is that there is a walkway right into the Park.  Once we stayed in St George, Utah and it is an easy day trip to the Park.   Check out this Map of Zion National Park

We have three favorite hikes.

A good starter hike is to go to the north end of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to the Temple of Sinawava parking lot.  The one mile trail is quite level, paved, wheel chair accessible and follows the river upstream.  This trail ends where the canyon walls narrow and you can only proceed by wading the river.  I talked to a few ‘waders’ and will try this on our upcoming trip, as long as the weather is dry and the river is not flooding.  You can rent dry waders at outfitters in Springdale.

Take the Zion Mount Carmel Highway east through the switchbacks and tunnels to the East Entrance of the Park.  Right at the entrance and just as you leave the tunnels, you will find the parking lot for our second favorite hike.  This hike is more challenging.  The path is narrow, there is some vertical and some rock scrambling, however the prize is the amazing view back over the Zion Canyon.

All said, my favorite hike is the world famous Angels Landing Hike.   This is a difficult hike with lots of vertical and with parts of the trail carved into sheer cliffs.  Not a place to go if you get vertigo.   Chains anchored in the rock help you through the final stage.  At the start of the chains are several areas to relax, have some lunch and enjoy the views.

20170225_111441.jpgIn February and March, it can get cold in Zion, and we have had snow and ice on some trails.  So take lots of layers and good hiking boots.  This is low season, and so  we have been able to drive anywhere in the park.  Shuttle buses operate on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive on weekends.  In high season, your only option is to take the shuttle buses.  This can be a plus – one driver was a ‘free climber’ and pointed out some of his friends up on one of the canyon walls.


6 Replies to “Hiking Zion National Park in Utah”

  1. Photos are very familiar, even down to individual trails and spots! Ann and I were there almost exactly a year ago. The nice thing about going out of season is that you can drive in to the park and not have to take the shuttle buses.

    BTW, if you also visit Bryce, the prime rib at Ruby’s is to die for!

    1. We have gone over to Bryce twice. Given the higher elevation, the trails have been quite snowy. OK for us, however our family from San Diego had their challenges. I think first time they were ever hit with a snowball. We will have to check out Ruby’s when we go in April. So where are you off to next.

  2. We’ll be going to the Cape for Christmas. We’re also planning a trip to Ireland in April with our daughter Emily and her husband Chuck and daughter Scarlett. Then we’ll be back on the Cape in the summer.

    1. Nice. Please give us your take on Ireland. Its on our list. I was only there for a 1 day business trip. Our plans – late Jan skiing in Canadian Rockies, April in Utah, May in Hilton Head, and September in Idaho/Yellowstone/Jackson. Summer at our lake cottage north of Toronto.

    2. Ireland, that is a place we would like to visit. Drop us a note of your favorite spots when you return.

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