After being at probably one of the most popular National Parks and iconic places in the world, I ended up at what will become one of my favorite places at heart. Zion National Park is located in southwest Utah and is iconic for its red skyrocketing cliffs.
Zion is a mystifying place that really captures the imagination with the amount of hikes and scenery that you can take in. The great thing about Zion and the biggest difference to the Grand Canyon National Park is the fact that you actually drive into the canyon and not just the rim. Depending what entrance you come in from you might take a 1 mile detour through the actual canyon walls which ends up giving the most amazing views I have seen from a car.
I do want to bring one hike to everyone’s attention and what is a must see for everyone who visits this park… The Narrows at Zion National Park!
This is one of the most amazing and scary hikes I have ever done in my life and it will be hard to beat. The hike took me about 4.5 miles through the Virgin River which is only reachable by shuttle bus from the main Zion Visitor Center. Like every hike at most National Parks this popular I recommend to start as early as possible and thus I took the first shuttle out at 6am. The main issue with the Narrows hike is the big risk of flash floods that can wipe out and kill anyone in there way. This is also why before you dare go on this hike you have to check in with the Rangers at the Visitor Center to make sure the weather is clear and ask for any recommendations. Please Please Please!!! Take their advice and understand that they do know best even if you don’t want to believe them.
The last piece of advice for this hike is to make sure you get the correct gear. Every place recommends to rent water hiking boots, trekking pole and water socks from a local outfitter store. This will run you about $25 for a 1 day rental but they are worth every penny and are a big reason I was able to go so far into the Narrows. It is possible to go deep into the narrows without extra gear but honestly it wont be fun and you will be fighting slippery rocks and cold feet the entire way.
Zion National Park is amazing place but if you are in the area you must make a short detour stop at Bryce Canyon National Park!
I unfortunately only got to spend a few hours here before the thunderstorms rolled in and cancelled my outing. Bryce Canyon is a high desert so unlike the Grand Canyon and Zion you actually drive up and are quite cool even in the summer. It was a beautiful place to visit and I cannot wait to return to get some great hikes in.
The last stop on my trip was Four Corners National Monument which I have glows and grows for to say the least.
For those of you who have never heard of Four Corners, it is the point where all four states (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona) meet to create a nice point. It is located in Navajo Nation so there are some warnings with that. First of all it is a cool place to go but I would never go out of my way to visit it. They do charge $5 per person to go into the park which is a bit high in my opinion. The biggest issue I have with the place is the fact that even with a high fee the place is a total mess. We arrived on a rainy day and realized a bit too late that the entire parking lot is unpaved and just plain dirt not even gravel. This makes it a slushy red mess that has no one to direct traffic or point people in the right direction. The restrooms are also the worse pit toilets I have ever seen which is crazy since even 3 miles down into the Grand Canyon we had decently clean toilets. Lastly there is also no one to enforce the 3 photo limit at the monument which leads to people spending a ridiculous amount of time taking photos making the line well over an hour.
Utah was definitely an amazing place and I cannot wait to go back in the very near future!
Have you even been to Zion? What have your favorite hikes in Utah been?
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