(This post is part 4/6- make sure to read the others. While you’re reading, click anything blue and you will see I attached links and additional images for more information!)
*All times included time spent
taking pictures/enjoying the views.
* We visited in the middle of
Our honeymoon continued with a
3.5 day trip to Zion National Park. Despite most of our planned hikes being
closed because of water levels and falling rock, we still enjoyed our time here
so much. Our planned hikes that were closed include the following: Narrows, the
Upper and Middle Emerald Pools, Observation Point, Hidden Canyon Trail, and Kayenta
Day 1- Friday
After our packed day from the
Grand Canyon, we arrived at Zion National Park around 7:30pm. Upon getting to
the entrance to show our National Park Annual Pass, we were told we must purchase
a “tunnel ticket” in order to get through. This is something I did not find
during my research- RVs must pay an additional $15.00 because in order to get
through the tunnel they must stop traffic and allow for one way travel. The
ticket is good for 2 trips so entering and exiting. Unfortunately, one of our
planned hikes was on the other side of the tunnel so if we wanted to complete
that hike, we would have had to buy another ticket. Because of this, we decided
not to. The tunnel is “open” from 8am to 8pm but you are allowed to drive
through whenever you want. * If you are an RV traveling through outside of
these hours and something happens, you are on your own as it is not
Our first stop after driving
through the park, (our campground was on the other side) took about 25 minutes.
We stopped at the Zion Brewery for dinner and drinks. We LOVED this place. Greg ordered the
elk burger, I ordered a regular burger with their specialty fries, and we ended
our dinner with a brownie sundae. They have indoor and outdoor seating and if
you can, sit outside to enjoy views as you eat. No worries about the heat, they
have misters to cool you off!
After dinner we made our way to
the Zion Canyon Campground and we both said this was the best campground so far. It was $54
a night for a full hook-up pull through RV spot, laundry, pool access, shower
tokens, free shuttle to the park, a playground, WiFi, and GREAT views of Zion.
Day 2- Saturday
We woke up and headed towards the Visitor Center
by foot. We decided not to take the Springdale shuttle so we could take in the
views. When entering the park by foot, you must have your pass, a receipt from
parking, or pay to get into the park. Once again, we were able to get
information on recommended hikes as well as add to our patch collection here.
Our first hike of the day was the Watchman
Trail. We began around 10:00am.
The Watchman Trail–
Distance- 3.3 miles (total out and back)
Time- 2 hours
Shuttle- Stop 1, start at the visitor center.
The Watchman Trail had great views but was a steep incline for
the entire 1.75 miles leading up to the view. That okay, because that means a
nice 1.75 miles of downhill on the way back. Greg and I found out we love
hiking downhill, especially in the heat! The trail was not as crowded as we
thought so we were able to enjoy ourselves starting. *Once you get to the top
you must complete the Loop Trail in order to get to the scenic overlook (this
is included in the trail distance).
From the Watchman Trail we hopped on the shuttle and got off
at stop 9 for the Riverside
Distance- 2.2 miles (total out and back)
Time- An hour and a half
Shuttle- Stop 9
We started this hike around 5pm and it was amazing; the sun
was behind the canyon and walking next to the river gave off a nice cool breeze.
We definitely recommend this hike later in the day. This trail has 2 access
points- the first is a paved road and the second in a sandy path right by the
water. Look for the sand access points as you will get a better view of the
Virgin River while completing this trail. This trail is also handicap
accessible with some assistance. The trail ends where you would begin the
Narrows Hike so if you plan on doing the Narrows, wait to complete this then.
Our last hike of the day was the Lower
Lower Emerald Pools–
Distance- 1.2 miles (total out and back)
Time- 1 hour
Shuttle- Stop 5
Unfortunately, we were very disappointed with this hike. Arriving to the Lower Emerald Pool, it looked more like a rain puddle to us. The views of the canyon were better. (This is not to say you shouldn’t visit! This is just what it looked like when we arrived)
Our day ended with dinner again at the Brew Pub where we had a
great meal. Our service however, was not so good. We had a different waiter
than the night before and we were not impressed.
Day 3- Sunday
Well… we finally took a step back and had ourselves a day
where we didn’t set our alarms and we SLEPT IN!! We knew this day was going to
be short in anticipation for our strenuous hike on Monday so we decided to take
in some much needed rest. We woke up around 10:00am and ate breakfast. We bought
food from Hoodoos General Store–
walking distance from Zion Canyon Campground. If you go, check out their
market, they have almost anything you could possibly need. Following breakfast,
we headed into the park.
We decided to plan our hikes from the furthest to the closest
and riding the shuttle back to the campground stopping along the way. Our first
hike of the day was Weeping
Distance- .4 miles (total out and back)
Time- 30 minutes
Shuttle- Stop 7
This was a great, easy hike with views of the canyon. The only
downfall is that some of the trail was pretty steep. Also, the water runs off
the rocks above so you may get a little wet even if it has not rained.
From Weeping Rock, we traveled to complete the Grotto
Distance- .5 miles
Time- 30 minutes
Shuttle- Stop 5 or 6, start at one and walk to the other.
The Grotto was a nice, relaxing hike with views of the canyon.
The trails were mostly flat which made it more enjoyable. We were also almost
all alone the entire time which we also enjoyed.
Our next hike was probably the shortest hike in the park, an
uphill 100-yard hike to the Court
of the Partiarchs.
Court of the Patriarchs–
Distance- 100 yards
Time- 15 minutes
Shuttle- Stop 4
You will not find this hike on the hiking guide from the
visitor center but all of the shuttles will inform you of it. Once at the top,
you have views of 3 cliffs- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Although this was a
short hike, I would recommend if you need something to do in any spare time.
Our final hike of the day was hiking along the Pa’rus
Distance- 1.75 miles (1 way, we completed 1 way)
Time- 1 hour
Shuttle- Stop 1 or 3, start at one and hike to the other or complete a round trip
The Pa’rus trail was another trail where we were almost completely
alone. The trail is almost all paved and has multiple bridges that provide a
great photo opportunity. As you are completing this trail, turn around and look
at the views of the canyons behind you.
We concluded our day of hiking with beers from the Zion Bew
Pub. Greg and I loved their beer and this was a great way to unwind. If you go,
let us know what beer was your favorite! While there, we asked for
recommendations for dinner and were told the Bit and Spur and Oscars were great
We chose to eat at the Bit and Spur (Springdale shuttle 6) for dinner and it did not disappoint. We both loved our meals! The prices were a little high but if you sit out back you have great views of the canyon. Watch out though, as we were eating a flash flood warning came in and we were rushed inside!
Our alarms went off at an early 5:00am in preparation of Angels Landing. We were told to be at the visitor center by 5:30 as the 6:00am shuttle is almost always completely full. We arrived at 5:45 and were number 31 and 32 in line. Luckily, we made it on the first shuttle. Others weren’t so lucky however, and had to wait for the next shuttle.
Distance- 5.4 miles (total out and back)
Time- 4 hours
Shuttle- Stop 6
This hike is not only listed as strenuous, but is also listed
as one of the most dangerous hikes in the states. Look up pictures and videos online and you
will see why! The 2.75 miles to get there is completely uphill- I wanted to
give up so many times but Greg was there to support me. He waited as I stopped
about 15 times on the way up to “look at the views” aka catch my breath and
make sure I was still alive (lol). After you complete 2 miles, there is a
lookout point called Scouts Lookout where many people stop, take in the views,
and turn around. If you decide to keep going, the rest of the trail is a narrow
trail with people going up as others are coming down, with only a chain to hold
onto on one side (scary!). I completed the first section of the chains but
turned around after that. Greg continued on and is now able to say he completed
Angels Landing (it gets its name because someone once said it is so high only
angels can reach it). This hike is not intended for those with a fear of
heights as there are 1,000 foot drop offs on either side as you are hiking up
and down the trial. Prior to completing, there is a sign that warns you that
many people have died completing this hike! Only complete this if you are 100%
confident, if you start and do not feel comfortable like I did, turn around! The
views from Scouts Lookout are just as nice.
After completing the first half of Angels Landing, we
continued onto the West Rim
West Rim Trail–
Distance- As long or as short as you would like- we hiked a
half mile in and then a half mile out for a total of 1 mile
Time- As long or as short as you would like- 30 minutes
Shuttle- Stop 6
You can only access the West Rim trail from Angels Landing, it
is a continuation and a complete 14 mile trip if you decide to do the entire
trail. Greg and I hiked a half mile to a lookout point and then turned around
as we were getting tired and hungry.
I guess you can say we were pretty tired after these hikes. We
went back to the RV and both passed out for 3 hours. The rest of the day was
spent sitting outside, drinking beers, making smores, and talking with our
neighbors. We have made so many friends along the way so far that we hope to
keep in touch with. We encourage you to make friends on your trip as you
already have one thing in common- your love for traveling!
SHUTTLE SYSTEM- There are two shuttles at
Zion National Park. The first is for the town of Springdale which we used to
get to the entrance of the park and the other for inside of the park. The
shuttles inside the park runs every 15 minutes until 8:30am where they then run
every 5 minutes. The shuttle stops around 9:30pm depending on where you are
inside the park and 10:00pm outside the park using the Springdale shuttle. Be
aware when riding the shuttle, you are on the right side of the road depending
on where you want to go.
VISITOR CENTER- Definitely make a stop here, the rangers can provide you with
any information or questions you may have, you can buy souvenirs at the gift
shop, grab free maps (we lived off of using ours), and get a stamp for your
National Park Passport! We added to our National Park patch collection
SERVICE- We had service and WiFi at our campground which was nice for
a change, we were immediately able to send pictures to our family.
FOOD- We packed a lot of snacks for our hikes including trail mix,
crackers, etc. Having the RV available after each hike was very convenient for
meals as well. There are many restaurants, cafes, and stores in the town of
Springdale- you will definitely be able to find what you are looking for
foodwise here. Like I mentioned above, we ate at the Brew Pub, Bit and Spur,
and Hoodoos and would recommend all three. Oscars was also recommended but we
did not make it there this trip.
LAUNDRY- There was a laundry facility at our campground open 24/7-
$2.00 to wash and $2.00 to dry.
WEATHER- It was hot but luckily, the sun was occasionally hidden by the
canyon. The rangers recommend two liters per person while hiking.
TRAILS- If you are limited on time, plan out your top trails and do
them first; you might be surprised that you have extra time in the day that
allows for more adventures.
FIREWOOD- You are not allowed to gather branches for firewood, it must
OUR NUMBER 1 RECOMMENDATION- Find time to relax if you can.
OUR NUMBER 1 RECOMMENDED HIKE– Greg: Angels Landing or the Riverwalk, Meg: The Watchman.