Zion National Park
|Zion National Park|
Court of the Patriarchs
Views of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Peaks
in Utah is one of the most beautiful parks in the USA, unfortunately, it's so popular that the best route, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is unavailable except through use of the shuttle buses which run about seven minutes apart. Upon entering the park you can go anywhere else in the park, but if you want to take the shuttle then parking is available at the Visitor's Center. The shuttle service runs form March 24th to November 3rd. It's an 80 minute ride unless you get off at any of the nine stops. Each stop has its own attractions in form of hiking trails or views. You can get off the shuttle and hike, climb, camp, or backpack. The hiking trails are identified as "Easy", "Moderate" or "Strenuous" and they range in time from a half-hour to eight hours and from about a half mile to 22.5 miles in distance.
We were in a hurry so we selected to get off at the Lodge and tap into the draught beer available at the cafe and open air bar. We sat out on the great green grass with a great view of the cliffs in front. We figured that would be as strenuous as we would get on this trip with plans to return. We'd like to do the hike at the last stop, "Temple of Sinawava" which has the famous hike where the canyon walls get narrower and narrower as you go.
The City of Hurricane is about 20 miles off of I15 and about 23 miles from the entrance to the park has a Harley dealership that's handy for a quick rental if you happen to fly into Vegas. Springdale is the small community at the entrance of the park. It has restaurants and a few chain hotels like La Quinta Hotel (fairly new) and several non-chain hotels which look good. Of course, there's roads that are open and available for use, but they're not the best part of the park.
|In Zion National Park|
Being July the temperature was right at about 100 degrees as we entered the park, but it soon got cloudy and the temps dropped a few degrees. Later on in the afternoon a rain storm rolled in and the temps really dropped to somewhere in the 70s. That was a welcome break, but in this area which has the Virgin River running through the scenic route flash flooding is a real hazard. We were told stories of how the river has taken out parts of the road or blocked it with boulders actually marooning visitors within the park. We wanted nothing of that so we moved out of the park before it really started raining hard.
Zion keeps reminding us that people have lost their lives climbing so I guess there are all levels of climbing/hiking in the park and it doesn't seem like they prohibit much of anything. That's a good thing if you know what you're doing.
Zion is definitely a must ride if you can make the ride out West.
|A Great View|
|Clouds Building Up|
|Outdoor Cafe at the Lodge|
|Green Space at Lodge|
|Approaching Rain Storm|
|Beautiful Scenery at Every Bend in the Road |
|Across the Creek & You're In Springdale, UT|