Thursday, June 9, 2016

Adventures in Zion National Park

They say to save the best for last, but on our mighty 5 road trip, Zion was the first place we visited and also our favorite. We saw mule deer, desert cottontails, and rattlesnakes. We did some epic hikes and stayed at the best campground. Our time at Zion was perfect and I'm already trying to figure out a way for us to get back there
We only had one full day in Zion, so we kicked things off early. We were up right at dawn and off to hike Angel's Landing. It's one of America's most dangerous hikes, but also one of the most rewarding ones too. If you can brave the heights, this trail is 5 miles of awesome! More details on this crazy hike are here, but there are a few snapshots for now...
After that strenuous hike up to Angel's Landing, our goal was to cool off with a waterfall hike to Kanarra Creek Falls. Technically, this trail is outside of the national park, but it's still within the Kolob Canyon mountain range that makes up Zion. It took us an hour to drive there, and was one of the hardest trails we've ever navigated, but the pay off was worth it.
Kanarra Creek Falls is not for amateur hikers…aka us. Yes, it was strenuous, but hiking was the easy part compared to trying to navigate. There are no cairns and no signs. But there are plenty of side trails to confuse you and take you in the wrong direction.
We crossed the river nearly 20 times in hunt of the trail, and spent a lot of time feeling like we were lost in the woods. This is definitely a hike where only the locals go, but we knew we were on the right track when we finally made it to the slot canyon.
 Thumbs up to Husband behind me to signal that we finally found the waterfall. 
Then back to Zion for a night at the best campsite. We stayed at Watchman Campground, right in the park. In addition to having everything close to us, we had this amazing view of the Watchman Mountains. And when the sun went down, the view was even better. I've never seen the moon so bright or known that there were so many stars in the sky. Just another perk of getting away from the city. 

Waking up at camp the next morning was surreal. We were surrounded by flowering cacti and mule deer grazing right outside our tent. This little $20/night campsite was hands-down my favorite place we stayed the entire trip. 

That morning, we squeezed in just a few more things before leaving. We did the Mount Carmel Scenic drive through the park.
And it landed us at the Overlook Canyon Trail. This trail was only a mile round-trip, which made it easy to squeeze in. Plus, it offered up some amazing views for very little work. That's my kind of hike!
We ended up doing 11miles in Zion National Park. And while we were exhausted by the end of it, we also loved every minute and were so thankful to have the opportunity to visit there. We wanted to stay forever, but it was onwards to Mule Rides in Bryce Canyon National Park

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