Zion was the busiest National Park that we’ve been to and funnily enough it’s our least favourite so far.
We were there for two days and began day one with a recommendation from travellers we met at Antelope Canyon. Since you couldn’t drive around the park, we were told to hire bikes, load them onto the front of the bus, take the bus to the last stop and then enjoying a leisurely cycle downhill on the scenic drive. Sounds good, huh?
We ended up cycling uphill to the seventh of the nine stops because the queue for the bus was huge at the start of the park.
From the end of the park we walked the path to the start of the Narrows Riverside Walk. From here you can actually hike upstream through the water (carrying your bag over your head at some points). The water was flowing too strongly when we visited so was closed.
Here is a picture of people hiking the Narrows when it’s open… it gets really busy!
We decided to free wheel back down and enjoy the view but got caught with a gail force wind in our face, so it felt like pedalling up hill all over again – doh!
On day two we arrived early to hike Observation Point, we started zigzagging up the mountain not knowing exactly where we were headed so we just kept on going.
We had some amazing views of the Big Bend (kind of similar to Horseshoe Bend, but without the risk of death for a good photo).
We walked through a slot canyon before starting to wind our way around the mesa that we were going to summit. There were some pretty steep drop-offs for 10min of the hike, but we just kept our eyes on the path. We walked out to the end of the mesa and the view over the park was spectacular.
We could overlook Angel’s Landing; a famous hike in the park where you walk along a 3 foot wide rock spine with a chain running along it, with sheer 1000 foot drop-offs on each side of you. It sounded absolutely insane, so we decided against doing that walk! Here are some pictures of crazy people doing the walk…
We enjoyed lunch at Observation Point trying not to watch silly people do silly things (including a father standing on the edge taking photos and talking on his phone, rather than watching his two young daughters) and a hiker losing his footing at the edge as he was looking at his phone screen!
Heading down we passed hikers who had just started the hike at 2pm and they were totally in the sun (where we had previously been in the shade) and looking very hot. One group of young girls asked “are we nearly there yet?”, they were only 5% of the way! Very glad we set out early.
Our Zion Travel Tips
- Get there before 10am as the free parking in the park fills up quickly. It will cost $20 for parking just outside the park or you need to park in Springdale and take the shuttle to the park.
- Also after 10am you will be waiting in a long queue to get on the shuttle bus up the scenic drive since cars are not allowed
- Angel’s Landing Trail is one of the busiest hikes as everyone likes to test out how fearless they are. Make sure you check the weather to see how windy it’s going to be that day and go early if you don’t get in the human traffic jam on the 3 foot wide section
- Hiking poles are awesome
- If you are short for time or don’t like hiking up hill you can still do Observation Point; drive out of the park and come in the back via Ponderosa and have an easy walk along the ridge line