Jul 22, 2012

Zion National Park, Utah

One of my favorite destinations. Zion. As quoted in http://www.zionnational-park.com "Unlike the Grand Canyon where you stand on the rim and look down into the canyon, in Zion you stand on the canyon floor and look up! "

To see the route we took, click HERE. The quaint little town of Springdale is the closest and the most convenient place to stay if you are visiting Zion. Surrounded with deep red colored towering mountain walls all around, it is beautiful at sunrise and sunset! To ease traffic, there are regular free commuter buses to the entrance of the park. With various stops near the hotels along the way, this is one easy way to experience the park to hop on and off at your convenience. The buses are however available only from April to October. The transfer buses stop at the visitor centre from where you can pay your park tickets and take pictures with the sign board for your scrapbook, then board the shuttles to enter the park.

 
Road leading towards Springdale



Parking is limited near the visitor centre considering the crowds that visit during the summer months.

WHAT TO SEE :

Travelling with a toddler you are restricted to hikes and look-out points which are easy/moderate and can support stroller access. Here are some of the must dos:


RIVERSIDE WALK TEMPLE OF SINAWAVA.

Pathway along the Riverside walk

This is the last point on the park shuttle route. A very nice hike for the evening. The walk is along the Virgin river and is very scenic. You will be walking very close and parallel to the towering walls of the narrow canyon and the river. This is a easy stroller friendly hike. Kids would definitely enjoy this. The end of the riverside walk is the rock formation called the Temple of Sinawawa. This is also the entrance for hiking the Narrows. Typically the Narrows are closed for hiking until mid-june due to high water levels. However please check the nps.gov website for updates. Hiking the narrows can be challenging with smaller children since you would be hiking in knee deep water or more in places. So plan accordingly.


BIG BEND:
Standing here one can get a 360 degree angle view of the majestic rock formations and of the Virgin river. It would definitely make a beautiful panoramic picture.

WEEPING ROCK:

The hike to this point from the bus stop is pretty steep but the view is so worth it. The view is amazing from up here. Its a high open colorful rock cave with water dripping from the rocks and hanging gardens above. You can get views of the entire canyon standing here. Due to the dampness it can be a little chill. Don't miss out on this trail.

Weeping Rock photo point

Picturesque view of the valley from Weeping rock point

LOWER EMERALD POOL TRAIL:
Trail to Lower Emerald Pool Trail

This is a gradual, uphill walk that leads you to one of the prettiest waterfalls with a pool that has an emerald color.

View from under the Emerald falls
COURT OF THE PATRIARCHS:
View from Court of the Patriarchs
Get an impressive view of the towering peaks of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, The Moroni and Sentinel. The trail is a short but steep and is well paved with some great views once on top. 

PA'RUS TRAIL:
This is a easy and very scenic trail along the virgin river, you can use it to get from the Zion visitor center to canyon junction or vice-versa with unique vistas facing either direction.

View from the Pa'rus Trail

The view from Canyon Junction

CANYON OVERLOOK TRAIL:
Valley view with switchbacks from Canyon overlook trail

This trail is a little beyond the Zion tunnel toward Mt Carmel Junction. Inaccessible to strollers or wheelchairs, it is about a 1 mile hike up and definitely not for those who are have fear of heights. There are a couple of steep drop offs and the path has a rocky climb. At one point you will have to bend low at a caved in area. Once on the top, the views are unimaginable. You will be standing about a 1000 ft above the valley. The area is fenced near the edge. The steep switchbacks and the towering cliffs with the amazing view of the entire valley make it one good reason to make the trek up.


ANGELS LANDING:
Zoomed in view from the bus looking up towards people trekking on Angels Landing
Hiking the Angels Landing, well that's for another visit.  Please check the nps.gov website for more information.

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