Zion National Park

RedCanyonImages © Todd Klein

Friday, Oct. 16th we drove from Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park, about two hours. On the way we stopped for a few photos in Red Canyon, above, which is on the road out of Bryce. It was cloudy, so the colors were not as vivid as when we’d passed it earlier. The entrance to Zion from the east is an amazing drive, through a long tunnel into an upper side canyon, then down a long series of switchbacks to the canyon floor. I was driving, so wasn’t able to get any pictures.RiverTrailBridgeViewThe first thing that struck us about Zion National Park is how much more crowded it was than the other places we’d been. Driving inside the main canyon is not allowed, you have to take a shuttle bus. Parking in the canyon was completely full, so we had to park outside the south entrance and walk back in. Didn’t take too long. Once inside and on the shuttle bus, we made our first stop at the Zion Lodge, and walked the trail nearby to Emerald Pools, starting on a bridge over the Virgin River, above.

RiverTrailZion is not as photogenic as either the Grand Canyon or Bryce, but it’s awesome to be there. You’re in a narrow canyon that gets narrower as you go north into it with very sheer walls several thousand feet high. Pictures can’t capture the feel of this very well.

Falls1The falls at Emerald Cove, nearly dry but with a small stream of water wetting the path. The trails at Zion seemed busy and crowded, too, compared to the other canyons. Perhaps it’s the fact that Zion is the closest to Las Vegas, and there were also many school groups here from Utah, where there was a teacher’s convention holiday.

Falls2Another view of the falls, which would be much more active in the spring.

LunchViewWe didn’t have a lot of time in Zion, so we turned back at Emerald Cove rather than taking a longer loop trail, and had lunch in the lodge. Pretty cool view from our table!

RiverBeachThen we got back on a shuttle bus (there are many) and took it to the furthest point, the Temple of Sinawava. Here the canyon narrows to just the width of the river, and further walking into it is only for those willing to walk IN the river. We didn’t do that, but enjoyed views from the river beach before that.

CanyonColorsThe feeling of being surrounded by these sheer cliffs is hard to describe, but exhilarating. At one place, we saw climbers going up one, and they were like ants on the side of a building.

CragsThis canyon wall was particularly craggy.

RiverTrailPeakAnd this one massive.

TallArchThis one had a shallow arch in it.

LeavingZionWe made one more stop on the shuttle bus coming back down, but the buses were crowded, and we felt we might not be able to get on one after that, so we took the next all the way down to where we’d come in. It was getting on in the afternoon, and we had to drive back to Las Vegas for our last night before flying home on Saturday, so we reluctantly bid the canyons farewell. Hope to get back someday.


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