Last week I visited Zion National Park, and it was every bit as amazing as you’d expect it to be. I had no idea that it was the third most visited park in the US behind the Smoky’s and the Grand Canyon, but I quickly found out why.
It. Is. Beautiful.
So apparently over the course of many millions of years, the earth was forced up through a collision of tectonic plates and the Virgin River cut down through the soil creating what we call Zion National Park today. We call it Zion because of an attempted settlement by Mormons in the 1800s, and that is the name that they dubbed their location.
Our tour guide, Adam, told us that he thought the experience at Zion was special because, unlike the Grand Canyon or Bryce Canyon, you experience the park from the bottom of the canyon looking up. He was exactly correct. I’ve only experienced something like this once before at Providence Canyon here in Georgia.
The drive into Utah from Vegas provided more than enough beautiful stuff to look at…
…But it was Zion that provided the best views.
After we drove to Checkerboard Mesa, we headed back down to the base of the canyon to begin our three hours of free time in the park. Zion has a lot of hikes at varying levels of difficulty for hikers of all ages and abilities. A trolley system is provided to carry visitors to each stop along the canyon floor, and each stop provides access to the many trailheads. Due to our time constraints, I stuck to 2 trails – the Weeping Rock and Riverside Walk.
Weeping Rock was a quick 30 minute hike straight up one of the ridges. The drop off wasn’t too bad, so my fear of heights didn’t kick in. Once at the top, I was greeted with the sound of hundreds of droplets of water falling to the earth.
As I sat on a stray boulder listening to the earth singing her song and looking out over the vast valley ahead of me, I couldn’t help but smile. National Parks and natural wonders like this tend to remind me of how small we humans are in the grand scheme of life. After about ten minutes of taking in the sights and sounds, I headed back to the trolley.
The next trail head that I embarked upon was called Riverside Walk. It was supposed to take an hour and a half, and truthfully, I probably had time to do the entire trail, but I wanted to take it slow. I wanted to enjoy the natural surroundings rather than speed through the canyon. I was on the trail for maybe 30 whole minutes, but I took my sweet time and enjoyed it.
First thing you should know is that this is a very busy trail. People were constantly passing me coming or going. It’s not a trail that I recommend for those seeking peace and tranquility. Secondly, it’s breath-taking.
I sat here by the river for about 15 minutes working on my farmer’s tan and listening to the bustling water. Families came and went as they had a picnic lunch or played in the water. The trail worked its way around the bend in the canyon following the river providing more and more natural wonders.
After a spell, I made my way back to the museum stop of the park to meet up with our group to head back to Vegas. The tour guide did tell us that our visit to Zion was more of a tease than anything else, and again, he was right. I hope to be able to return to Zion once day and spend more time in the canyon exploring all that it has to offer.