Zion National Park, Southern Utah Travelogue

Discussion in 'Other U.S. Destinations' started by cheepneezy, Feb 17, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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    Feel free to add your comments and photos for Zion National Park here.....

    Without a doubt, my favorite National Park in the US is Zion, located in southern Utah. It's an easy 157 mile, 2.5 hour drive from Las Vegas where cheap flights and cheap car rentals abound. The town of Springdale, Utah can be your home base whether you're looking for a cute B&B, independent motel, or lower cost chain hotel.

    2011 Entrance fees are $25 per car for a 7 day pass or $80 for an annual multi-park pass.

    National Park Service Website

    The best resource for Zion hikes and the surrounding area. It lists scores of hikes within the park in great detail and categorizes them by distance and difficulty.

    Zion can be a small, intimate park if you stay within the main canyon. If you're more daring, explore the back country trails located in the north west Kolob section of the park or the east side accessed by driving along route 9, also known as the Zion - Mt. Carmel Highway.

    As you enter the park from the south side(Springdale), the red, jagged, 200 million year old sandstone walls border you on each side with the Virgin River that carved the canyon flowing down the center.

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    Deeper in the canyon, the walls will rise up 2000+ feet. Every season offers a unique experience in the park. From April 1st thru October 31st, Zion uses a shuttle bus system to preserve the sanctity of the park experience. The buses are fully accessible, quiet, and free. They start early in the morning and run throughout the evening starting in Springdale and continuing on to the 10-15 stops throughout the main canyon and back again. It's a great system that allows you to get on and off as you please and they run every 10-15 minutes throughout the day.

    Easy hikes include the Emerald Pools trail. Depending on the season, there will be 3 pools and 3 waterfalls. The 3rd pool actually has a small sandy beach that kids tend to enjoy.

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  2. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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    Just beyond Canyon Junction, catch a sunrise beneath Pine Creek bridge where route 9 begins its climb to the tunnel.

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    If you're driving along route 9, after traveling through 1.1 mile Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, there's a small parking area that services the 1 mile Canyon Overlook Trail.

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    Continuing along route 9, you reach Checkerboard Mesa, formed by cross bedding with horizontal and vertical fissures that give it its name.

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  3. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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    Back in the main canyon, the signature hike in Zion is "Angel's Landing." Not for those of you who are afraid of heights, the last 1 mile spur of the 2.5 mile one way distance is highly exposed and dangerous. At least one person seems to fall off it each year. Sheer cliffs abound, and chains have been attached to certain points to provide some assistance. Pay attention and watch every step you take. The first 2 miles of the trail are paved but provide a steady uphill climb as you gain elevation. Just when you catch your breath through the sheltered section of Refrigerator Canyon, you begin the 21 steep, stone lined switchbacks known as Walter's Wiggles.

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    Not the best photo, but it gives you a unique view of Walter's Wiggles.

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  4. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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    If exposed cliffs aren't your thing, Observation Point may be for you. Although the trail is also carved into the side of cliffs and canyon walls, it provides a wider path on which to walk and there's nothing wrong with hugging the wall. An 8 mile round trip, the payoff is a panoramic view of the main canyon.

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  5. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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    Finally, another classic hike in Zion is the Virgin Narrows starting from the bottom and going up stream. After a 1 mile walk on a paved path, you come to head of the Narrows. Depending upon the time of year, you can head upstream into the canyon. After an hour or so, you'll leave the 'crowds' behind and enjoy the slot canyon as the walls get steep and closer together. In the summer, you can trudge up in your Tevas and shorts. In cooler weather, a stop at Zion Adventures is recommended to rent a pair of water hikers and some waterproof pants.

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    Not a day to walk up river...

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  6. Spangenberg
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    Spangenberg Gold Member

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    Hey, that's my backyard!
     
  7. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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    Then you should have plenty to add![​IMG]
     
  8. Spangenberg
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    Spangenberg Gold Member

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    I do, just don't really want to upload them. I can link to my picasa or flickr though!
     
  9. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    Lived in Durango for 3 years and visited southern Utah alot. Never got to Zion though.... pics are great. Thanks for sharing.
     
  10. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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    Another interesting site to visit near Zion National Park is the Grafton "Ghost Town." Located off of UT-9 in Rockville, it's an easy drive on decent dirt road through some spectacular scenery over looking the valley and lush grass farmland.

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  11. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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  12. Grover

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    Those are great pictures. Zion is one my favorite places also.

    Here are a few I have taken over the years:

    My best shot from the Narrows. People who have not been there and see my son at the bottom of the picture start to understand the magnificence of the place.

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    Here are a couple of shots from the top of Angel's Landing. cheepneezy's picture of the chains on the trail says it all on what it takes to get to the top, but it's worth it. This is the view north:

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    ....and the view south:

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    I have a lot more.....will post a few later.
     

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