I recently embarked on a cross country road trip from the west coat to the east coast. After spending the weekend in Las Vegas, I decided to make a stop in Zion National Park. I am also lucky enough to have a dad who shares my love of hiking and who decided to take work off to accompany his daughter for a couple days on the trails. After picking my dad up at the Vegas airport, we made the quick two hour drive to Zion and arrived with enough time for a couple trails.
Since I was in the middle of my road trip, we only spent about a day and a half in Zion. I recommend so much longer and hope to make it back soon to knock more trials off my bucket list. Unfortunately, shortly before we were there a landslide tore through the park. As a result, the main road going through the park and a couple trails were closed off. There was also a lot of heavy rain the week before, which closed off the Narrows trail (the one where you are basically hiking through the river) because the river was too high to hike through. So overall, we had pretty bad timing. But that still didn’t stop Zion from quickly becoming one of my favorite places to be.
I do recommend going in the off season. Even during the time we went, there were still a lot of people trying to roam around the park. In addition to the amount of people, the temperature can get past 100 degrees in the peak season. Any hike in that weather becomes significantly more challenging and dehydration becomes a serious risk.
The hikes we did:
Angles Landing is one of the more famous hikes in Zion. This is because the last half mile of the trail involves scaling a very narrow ridge lined with chains to hold onto. The week before we arrived, someone had actually passed away on the trail by falling off into the canyon. This was enough to deter me from attempting that last bit. Instead of continuing up the ridge, we took an alternate route at the top which took us up and over another mountain. The trail looked like it could have gone on for days, so we only took it to the springs and then made our way back down.
Emerald Pool Trail
The Emerald Pool trail is made up of two trails, the lower emerald pool trail and upper emerald pool trail. Sadly, as a result of the landslide the upper emerald pool trail was closed off. However, the lower emerald pool trail is still a beautiful short hike (less than 20 minutes) into a small cave with a nice waterfall. The hike itself is very easy, but the waterfall at the end is a fun place to sit and spend some time watching the water cascade over you. However, it usually is very crowded and can be a bit difficult to maneuver around. If we had been able to continue on to the upper emerald pool trail, I think this hike would have been awesome!
The Riverside Walk is a super easy but scenic trail. This is a great hike to do after a long day of hiking other more challenging trails. It is a short almost 2 mile walk next to the river. It offers some great views of the surrounding mountains and on a really hot day gets you out of the sun.
Bucket list for next visit:
Where we ate:
There are so many cute little restaurants lining the entrance to the park. After hiking for the day, we would stop on our way out of the park before heading back to the hotel to pass out.
Whiptail Grill was a cute little Mexican restaurant with amazing enchiladas. This joint is located almost right next to the entrance to the park, across the street from the Spotted Dog restaurant.
Rosita's Santa Fe Kitchen
Another great Mexican restaurant located on the same main road to get into the park. This place looks like a small ranch with plenty of picnic tables scattered around the grass to choose from for outdoor seating. I highly recommend getting the nachos, they do not disappoint.
Where we stayed:
Hampton Inn Kenab
We had some flexibility of where we could stay because I was in the middle of my road trip and had a car to drive us to and from the park. Because of this, we stayed a bit outside the park in a town called Kanab. The hotel should have been a short 15-20 minute drive away, however because of the landslide and main park road being closed we had to drive almost 40 minutes to get to the hotel. Which we sadly didn’t know about until we got there. Judging solely based on the hotel, I would definitely recommend staying there if you have the flexibility of a car. The hotel was nice and clean and had a pretty good breakfast. There are plenty of hotels right next to the park, but they tend to be a little pricey. Especially for hotels you are only at to sleep in.