Magical is one word that comes to mind when describing Zion National Park. The lush valley surrounded by tall red rock cliffs made for a beautiful setting. It also helped that we stayed at the park lodge at the center of valley. Not only was the lodge close to many of the major trails it also allowed us to drive in the park which normally can only be accessed via shuttle during the crowded summer season.
On the first morning I got up early to hike the popular Angels Rest trail. It started with a huge number switchbacks and ended with an exposed climb to the top. I got a bit worked up about the final part, but it wasn't any worse than scrambles I've done at home and there was a solid chain to cling to all the way up. As the hike was close to the lodge I was able to return to family shortly after 9 am.
After a brief rest we hiked a loop trail from the lodge consisting of the Grotto, Kayenta and Emerald Pools trails. It went along the valley, across the Virgin River and over to the pools. Emerald seemed to be a rather creative name for murky lower pool, but the waterfalls cascading from the cliff sides into the pool were scenic.
After another rest with lunch and ice cream we took the shuttle to Riverside Walk trail which followed the Virgin River through a narrow canyon. It ended at the Narrows which was a trail made up entirely of the river. It was shallow enough for us to explore part of the Narrow which everyone enjoyed. It was perhaps the only time I had to force the family to end a hike.
The setting at Zion made for the most relaxing and enjoyable part of our trip. We hope to return soon on another road trip.
Angels Landing Summit
Emerald Pool Waterfall
Ice Cream Break
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August 14-16, 2016