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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Hiking in Zion

More than anything else I found myself saying “another time” as this trip through the Colorado Plateau was more of a highlight tour than a real get to know you trip. In all these places I stopped thus far I really spent no more than four hours in any one park. I wanted to spend a lot more in each of them, but there just wasn’t time as I wanted to see as many places, at least the highlights, in the little time that I had; so everything else had to wait for “another time.” Sadly enough, Zion National Park was no different.

 

 
This place was really quite spectacular. The canyon was amazing, the trails I was able to hit were well kept, and then general feel of the place, the atmosphere really, was outstanding. The only fault I can really find in it is that it’s a bit of a drive-thru park, like the Badlands in South Dakota, but for some reason that didn’t bother me as much this time as it did in the past. I’m not sure if that’s because I had such little time or if it’s due to the fact that to really see some stuff I had to still get out of my car instead of just driving the whole time.

 
Regardless, the beauty I saw created by the Virgin River’s waters was amazing and I can’t wait to get back down there for a more in-depth visit. The two trails I was able to hike this time just wasn’t enough; I want to hike the famous Angels Landing as well as see the separate Kolob Canyon section of the park.

 

 
The first hike on this trip I was able to do, after a spectacular drive down into the canyon, was at the Emerald Pools. Initially, to maximize my time, I figured I’d only stop at the lower pool (left) and take a few photos before going on to the next stop. But, somewhere in there, I decided to go for it and head on up to the middle and upper (right) pools as well. In all it was only a few miles round trip, albeit it a good uphill climb going in, so it really wasn’t that bad.
 

 

I really enjoyed the beauty of the waterfalls to the pools as well as the great views of the canyon that were offered from the upper pool. It was really impressive, particularly as there weren’t huge crowds this time of year with everyone at work and school. I think had I waited until the summer months to do Zion I would’ve been battling obscene hordes of tourists, but here there was no problem as it felt more like sharing the trail with a group of friends.

This wasn’t my first stop in the canyon though. As I drove to the pools trail I first pulled off at the overlook for the famous Court of the Patriarchs (above) as well as the Sentinel (below). They really tower over the place at around 7000 feet above sea level, especially from the vantage point of being down in the canyon like I was. So, when I say “overlook,” it’s more of an underlook than anything else. Still though, it’s a great spot to stop and get a good view of the mountains.


 
The only other hike I did, which was a real short one, was to the Weeping Rock. I was interested in this by what I read online before heading out on my trip, so I figured it’d be a good second stop as I didn’t have much time to do anything else but this before heading down to Las Vegas to meet my friend for my big birthday getaway. I was quite pleased with the stop and happy that I chose it. A waterfall cascaded over a little cut out in the rock, where we stood, to make it look like the rock was weeping. It was really an interesting effect and one I stopped to take some time to appreciate, especially as there was a fantastic view back (above) into the canyon from there.

 

 
There’s so much more to see and do in the park that the few hours I spent there is really more of an insult than anything else. It’s an amazing place that deserves much more time than I gave it through my stops for hiking and overlooks, as well as the Zion Human History Museum on my way out, but it’s just going to have to wait for another time. And there will easily be another time. No doubt about it.

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  1. The Most Beautiful Road Trip | Jason's Travels - August 2, 2013

    […] Reef National Park from Utah’s Natural Bridges National Monument to Bryce Canyon and on to Zion National Park is one of the most beautiful road trips int he […]

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