Saturday, July 21, 2018

Zion National Park Adventures

Hello! Welcome to my blog! I usually only post crafty things - but the last six months involved creating an itinerary for a fantastic vacation. I found so many helpful posts that helped me prepare for this trip. I love asking people about places they have visited. I didn’t want to leave things to chance, especially as we would be driving 6000 kilometres (about 3700 miles). Reading about others’ adventures helped familiarize me with the area and I could make decisions based on my style and preferences. Here are my two cents that will hopefully in some way help someone else create their awesome vacation.
We zipped through four national parks on our 2018 summer trip. Zion National Park was our last destination, and what a finale! I was absolutely amazed. This is a place where the pictures you see do not do any justice - it has to be seen in person to truly see its beauty. Lots of time was put into preparing for this trip. I had a plan - some things worked, some things didn’t. A couple reasons some plans didn’t work out:
  1. I overplanned for the time we had. Doing everything I wanted to do would have made for too hectic of an experience. I was okay to go with the flow and be flexible. 
  2. I did not know everything, even through all my studying. 

The purpose of this post is to give my experience so that others can be a little more prepared from what I learned going to Zion National Park. 

We entered through the east entrance. We stopped at a pull out right away because we were so taken by the scenery of the Checkerboard Mesa and the cool color of the pavement.  We got back on the road heading to the Mt. Carmel tunnel. I am sure other tourists were blown away by the scenery as cars and motorhomes were stopping all over the place. There was a huge rock that a lot of people were at to take pictures. A motorhome stopped on the road - some people got out including the driver - heading towards the rock scene with camera in hand. Stopping on the road is not advised but I honestly didn’t blame them - I wanted to do the same - but didn’t want to tick people off.
Plan A was to stop at the Canyon Overlook Trail. It did not happen. The parking area on the side we were on was overloaded and when we got to the actual parking area for the trail head (which had space)- we could not turn. We said we would come back later but it just didn’t happen. I am not sure if this is only in the summer months, but there was a sign that looked pretty permanent that said no left hand turns. If you are coming from the east, just hope you luck out at the pull off just before the tunnel. There is a pedestrian cross walk to get to the parking lot for the trail head if you happen to get so lucky. If not - you can plan to come back, but we didn’t as there were other amazing things to see. It will be on my “to-do” list when I return here.

It took three minutes to drive through the tunnel. It was neat! The part that was amazing was coming out and having the mountain scenery greet us!! Driving down the windy mountain side into the town of Springdale was incredible. 

The side of the road was packed with vehicles and tourists taking it all in. I would have love to have pulled over to get pictures - there just wasn't room. What a view looking up to the mountain we just drove through.We did notice on the corners of the road lots of rubber marks bumping the curb. It would be extremely tricky driving a motorhome on this road.

We booked a room at the Holiday Inn Express. We found this to be a great spot! It was close to Shuttle stop number 6. We caught the shuttle twice from here in the afternoon and early evening and it was full after stop number 4. We had to refuse people that were wanting on. The good thing was that the shuttles were every 15 minutes; however, it would be interesting to know if that is a problem at the stops closer to the park entrance. If one stayed closer to the entrance though, it would be easy enough to walk there.  The shuttle ride with all the stops took less than 10 minutes to the park (not including the wait for the shuttle).

We stayed two nights in Zion and did the two bucket list hikes I was planning - Scout Lookout and the Narrows. Learn more about these hikes by clicking on the pictures.

I had other hikes in mind if there was time, but was happy with what we did!

What did I learn?:

1. Two nights is not enough. There is sooo much to do and sooo much to see. Everything is spectacular here. The good thing with
only staying two nights is that I have a lot to do the next time I am here.

2. Come prepared. I seen so many unprepared people. I couldn't believe the flip flops I seen on the trails. That would be so uncomfortable. It is also good to come prepared with a reasonable plan. We came across a group of young men running to get to another trail because they were short on time. Thank goodness the trail we were on was not busy - or that could have been very dangerous.

3. Is it a family vacation spot? Although it was just my husband and I traveling together - we did observe toddlers that were absolutely miserable. It is hot. It is busy. They are not taking in any of the beauty - and I think because the kids might be cranky - parents would not be able to enjoy the beauty of it. I did see children about eight and up having the time of their life walking in the river at the narrows (although I don't know how far they got). There are trails that are dangerous, and those that are not as strenuous to adults might be for not as tall and not as strong children.

Am I going back? You bet! I love Zion National Park!

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