Zion National Park hiking

Canyon overlook

From the impressive Zion Canyon overlook

While we have been to Zion several times, and hiked many of the popular trails, we enjoy the area so much we wanted to return. After some research I found several less popular hikes that seemed very attractive. Joe’s Guide to Zion National Park was especially helpful in identifying hikes (besides having some beautiful photos).

We spent four full days in the middle of May exploring Zion. We stayed in Hurricane where the motel rate was about half that of motels in Springdale, but of course the trade-off is about a 40 minute drive from Hurricane to the Zion visitor center—makes it difficult to get a really early start on the trail.

Pa'rus trail

On the Pa’rus hiking/biking trail, on the way to the mouth of the canyon.

We started with a bike ride to the end of the canyon and back, with a stop for a hike to the middle Emerald Pool. It’s always enjoyable to bike ride in the canyon because the only traffic is the periodic shuttle bus.

On the second day we drove up Highway 9, through the tunnels, to the east side of Zion Canyon. There aren’t many improved trails there, but lots of canyons and washes cross the road. We spent a few hours hiking a couple of the easy ones—beautiful and unpopulated.

Angel's Landing

Angel’s Landing

The next day we did a big climb, starting at the Grotto trailhead and climbing up to Scout’s Lookout which is the jumping off point for climbing Angel’s Landing. Angel’s Landing is not on my to do list. Lots of people do it, and I’m sure I could physically climb it, but psychologically I get freaked out by the extreme exposure. We just kept right on hiking up the West Rim trail. We stopped when we got tired—I think in another couple of miles we would have reached the west rim. Our endurance has fallen off and I’m afraid it’s age related and will never return.

Upper Pine Creek

Looking down Upper Pine Creek

For our final day of hiking we returned to the east side and did a wonderful hike on upper Pine Creek as well as hiking out to the Canyon Overlook. In the damp sand of the washes we kept seeing hoof prints that we assumed were bighorn sheep. As we returned to our truck we spotted a small herd resting in a sandy spot below the road. They seem to be fairly habituated to people.

Bighorns

Desert Bighorn Sheep

Links
Zion 2013 photo gallery

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>