Monday, September 30, 2019

8 top things to do in Zion National Park, Utah

Explorer Lens

Situated at a driving distance of 3 hours from Las Vegas, Zion National Park is one of the most iconic national parks in US.
Home to some of the tallest sandstone cliffs, breathtaking hikes and stunning landscapes, Zion National Park stood fourth among America’s most visited parks in 2018, even leaving behind Yosemite and Yellowstone National Park.

There is a lot to do in Zion National Park, but here are the top 8 things you should not miss:

1. Drive the Zion – Mt Carmel Scenic Highway
Start with witnessing the majestic beauty of Zion National Park by driving the Zion – Mt Carmel
    Scenic Highway. Mammoth rocks towering over you on all sides, driving right through the 
    mountains and passing through numerous sheer cliffs is going to take your breath away.

    It is 12 miles drive with slow moving traffic. There are scenic pull offs, but they are small
    and come up suddenly, so make sure you drive carefully and not pass one by.
    Also if you are lucky, you might see some wildlife like mountain goats and bighorn sheep.
    Checkerboard Mesa was my favorite pull off, so don’t miss that.
Credit - Here

For most part of the year, the scenic drive is the only drive that you can do with your vehicle. For rest of the points within the park, you will have to use the free shuttle service.

2. Angels Landing Hike
Shuttle Stop – 6, Grotto is where you need to get down for this famous hike.

Rated among top 10 most iconic and difficult hikes of USA, this hike is the gem of Zion National
    Park.It is a 5.4 miles round trip which becomes quite strenuous at the last 0.5 miles, where you 
    have to use chains to walk your way uphill and downhill.

    We made it to top and the views are supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, in short just out of the
    world. But the hike is not for those who are afraid of heights, because at the highest points there is 
    steep drop-off on either of your sides and the risk of life is quite real.

    So, if you are doing this hike, make sure to start early to prevent the scorching heat as much as
    possible, as this hike is going to drain you out of all water, energy and strength.

Credit - Here

3. Narrows
Get down at the last shuttle stop - Temple of Sinawava, to hike the Narrows.

    After you are done with Angels Landing, get some food and rest and prepare yourself for another
    unique and incredible experience.
    Set out from the Temple of Sinawava towards the Riverside walk and after walking for 2 miles you
    will be offered with the breathtaking views of the Narrows.

    For most of the time you will be wading or even swimming your way through the water of Virgin 
    River, so make sure you have got the right gear for it, especially footwear and hiking stick. Also 
    make sure to keep your valuables in a waterproof bag.
    You can rent the gear from the visitor center or from the shops outside the park.

   The whole Narrows hike is 16 miles, but you will need a permit to hike past the Big Spring which
   is 10 miles out and back. If you are doing the complete 10 miles, plan it for the complete day.
   Though heading a mile or two in the Narrows will provide you with an amazing hike.

If you have just one day for Zion, the above 3 things are the max you can do and should be at the top of the priority list. But, if you are there for more than a day, below are the attractions which you should definitely explore.

Credit - Here

4. Emerald Pools Trail
It is relatively easy and family friendly trail.
    Get down at Shuttle stop 5 – Zion Lodge to access the Emerald Pools trail.

    There are two parts to the hike, the Lower Pool and Upper Pool trail. The combination of both the
    trails is a 2.2 mile round trip. During the hike, you can witness small waterfalls making their way 
    down from the Upper Pool to the Lower Pool, picturesque natural pools and on a sunny day the  
    sparkling water of the Virgin River.

    Overall the hike is quite pleasant and enjoyable.

Credit - Here

5. Weeping Rock
Shuttle stop 7 leads you to Weeping Rock.
     As the name suggest, you are going to witness a great phenomenon of water coming out of rock.

     The hike is 0.4 miles roundtrip, but is a bit steep.
     Because of the moisture created on the rocks, you can see plants growing on these rocks which are
     also sometimes known as hanging garden.

Credit - Here
6. Canyon Overlook Trail 
    For those who are not doing the Angels Landing hike, Canyon Overlook Trail is a great spot to
    witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the park.

    The parking for this trail is a small pull off area along the Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Highway which
    fills quite quickly, so it is good to arrive early.
    As compared to Angels Landing hike, it is quite easy hike of just 1 mile round trip.

Credit - Here

7. The Court of the Patriarchs
Shuttle stop 4 takes you the trailhead of - The Court of the Patriarchs.
    It is one of the shortest hike of Zion National Park which will take you to an elevation of 40 feet in
    just couple of minutes.
    From here you can witness 3 massive sandstone formations referred to as the Court of the
    Patriarchs, after the biblical figures of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

8. Other Incredible Hikes
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are 2 other hikes which I think are quite unique and
    gives you a lifetime experience, but are equally difficult and long. Check them below:

Credit - Here

a. Subway Hike
The opening of the Subway hike looks like you are entering a different world altogether.
        Be prepared to wade, swim, crawl and climb to complete this hike, but the experience and
        feeling will be for lifetime.

        It is a 9-9.5 miles strenuous round trip hike for which you need a permit from Zion Authority.
        There are two ways to complete it, top down and bottom up.

Credit - Here

b. Observation Point
This trail begins at the Weeping Rock trailhead.
      It is a strenuous 8 mile round trip hike though not as scary as Angels Landing, but the views of
      the Zion National Park from the top are equally iconic and stunning as of Angels Landing.

      So if you the time and strength, this hike will provide you an unforgettable lifetime experience.

So have a wonderful experience at Zion National Park..!!

Explorer Lens / Author & Editor

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