We stopped in Zion National Park on our cross-country road trip and it was incredible! Seriously the most beautiful place I have ever seen. The nature seemed so untouched and the colors are stunning. We only had 3 days to explore, but it was an amazing experience.
Zion National Park Day 1:
The drive into the park is beautiful, we saw some bighorn sheep within 5 minutes! We arrived and set up our tent at Watchman Campground. Head to recreation.gov and secure a spot because they fill up fast. We even had to move sites in between our stay because they were so full. This led to us driving with our tent on our truck, such a funny sight! Watchman Campground is located right under its namesake mountain and there is a small stream running through which brings a lot of deer. They didn’t seem to mind visitors at all!
We headed to the local store, Happy Camper Market, in the closest shopping center and got some camping supplies. Then we had a beer at Zion Brewery and due to Utah laws we had to order some food too (weird, right?) but our campfire dinner consisted of the American classics, hotdogs and s’mores! We spent the night reading by the fire and stargazing from the tent. Seriously this place is so magical.
Zion National Park Day 2:
Zion has several amazing hikes, however Angel’s Landing and The Narrows are probably the most famous. I downloaded the hiking app All Trails to read about the difficulty level, length, etc. Due to time constraints we decided to do both trails in one day. We started our morning at Angel’s Landing because I was pretty intimidated considering people have died there and I thought I may be scared of heights since we climbed up the ruins at Coba. Turns out I’m not!
The hike starts with a little nature trail and then quickly turns into a series of steep switchbacks to the top of the mountain. This is a good spot to rest and have a granola bar but watch out for mischievous chipmunks who may steal your food.
But don’t feel too accomplished yet, while this is the final stop for several hikers, the extreme keep going until they reach the peak of Angel’s Landing. I was nervous for this part but it was so fun and I am so glad I did it! I felt pretty confident on the loose dirt with my trail shoes. This part of the trail is super steep and narrow with huge drop-offs on both sides, but there is a chain to hold on to in most parts.
Once you reach the top the view is incredible, seriously so stunning! We even saw a huge condor soaring over the mountains. The descent is fairly easy compared to the hike up. The entire trail took us around 4 ½ hours. I recommend going in the morning so it is not too hot. We went around 11am in October and it was a perfect temperature. Plus we got to see gorgeous foliage.
After some celebratory beers and a snack we headed to The Narrows. There is a shuttle bus that takes you to and from each stop in the park and the drivers are great at sharing fun facts. They even pointed out some deer and wild turkeys! The Narrows is basically a river running between two mountains. You can walk as far in as you’d like. We spent a few hours here. We had to turn back because of sunset, but we went pretty far in. Several people get in to their knees, we went a little further about thigh high. Some parts of the river go up to chest height and for the adventurous there is a top down hike of the trail that is 16 miles long and requires a permit and overnight camping! There is a small water fall towards the beginning and the water is a crystal turquoise color that is unforgettable.
However, because the water is 40 degrees you need the right gear. We rented gear from Zion Outfitter. It included heinous looking space shoes, socks made form wetsuit material, and a walking stick. We looked a little foolish but they kept our feet dry. Grant wore a bathing suit and I wore my waterproof Teekis.
After hiking we were famished so we headed into town to Zion Pizza and Noodle Company for pizza. There is not much a round but a few nice restaurants and hotels.
Zion National Park Day 3:
We packed up and grabbed a delicious coffee at Perks At Zion which is also in the same shopping center as the market, brewery, and rental place (clearly there is not much around). We had a long drive ahead so we had to leave early but I would have loved to hike Watchman Trail and Emerald Pool Trails.
I cannot recommend Zion National Park enough. There is something for everyone and it is a beautiful place to reconnect with nature.