~Paul, Amber, Sis
This is our last post from Utah's Zion National Park! It gives you a few more day-trip ideas to sprinkle throughout your visit. All of the stops in this post could almost be done in one long day...so if you've got the time and a car - go for it!
The first part of this trip is a beautiful and steep drive out of Zion on Utah 9. This takes you through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, a mile long rock tunnel (it's super-super dark). As you head up the mountain towards the tunnel you'll have a few opportunities to pull off a get a good look at the Great Arch (pictured below left). Although you're not supposed to stop while driving through the tunnel, you'll still see a few windows cut out of the rock (below right).
As you leave the tunnel and head down the mountain you'll pass by the Checkerboard Mesa (above).
Heading just a little out of the way, towards Bryce Canyon on 89, you'll discover some local rock shops (and lots of metal dinosaurs).
We also made a visit to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and went on a scheduled free tour. If you have any animal lovers in your party it's a must.
With an amazing visit to Zion National Park behind us we ventured back to Las Vegas for some good times and fancy Japanese food. Check back here Thursday for a quick taste of the Las Vegas strip!
~Paul, Amber, Sis
I hate to break it to you, but Bryce Canyon isn't technically a canyon. Oh well. It's still pretty cool and a nice day-trip from Zion National Park in Utah. It will take you under 2 hours to get to Bryce nearby Zion. There's great trails here and you'll quickly be exploring the hoodoos (rock pillars) and the natural rock features of the park. Where a lot of Zion trails start at the bottom and go up, Bryce's trails start at the top and head down into one of many natural rock amphitheaters. Bring some warm clothes - we visited in April and there was snow on the plateau!
~Paul, Amber, Sis, Dad, Susan
Maybe it was Indiana Jones…or Star Wars…but for some reason I've always loved the desert. The dunes at Pink Coral Sand Dunes State Park, Utah aren't really in a desert, but they are still amazing! This was our first day-trip during our week long exploration of the Zion National Park area of Southern Utah. The dunes aren't exactly in Zion, but they are only a little over an hour away and totally worth the visit. Definitely check it out!!! P.S. - it was April, and it was chilly! Bring warm clothes!
~Paul, Amber, Sis
Finally! I've edited and uploaded a short video from hiking the death-defying Angels Landing trail in Utah's Zion National Park. A few things before you watch:
*It's narrated just for you!
*After review it seems I narrated a few un-truths, mainly, part of the trail is called Scout Lookout (not Scout Landing)…I did it on purpose to keep you on your toes:)
*After further review, it seems that when I watch the video I get nauseous from the shakiness! Oh, well, it's nice to see part of the hike! I'll walk smoother next time!!!:)
Spend a few minutes in the Zion National Park Visitor's Center and you'll hear folks joking around about the Angels Landing hike. Browse the gift store and you'll notice many souvenirs stating: "I survived Angels Landing". Hmmm...I want to survive Angels Landing too!
My sister and I (my wife opted out due to her fear of heights:) picked a day, woke up early, and hit the park. Despite the warm-looking pics, the mid-April temps can get chilly in the morning. We layered clothing and hopped on a park shuttle, getting off at the Grotto stop to start the trail.
Don't say they didn't warn you about the steep & narrow trail, dangerous cliffs, potential death, etc! The trail starts out easy enough but quickly climbs with turns and a few longer switchbacks. The first 2 miles are paved:)
You'll have a moment to rest with some great views of Zion Canyon & the Virgin River below before you head into a smaller valley - a great time to catch your breath before you hit a series of 21 short switchbacks known as Walter's Wiggles…yikes.
If you survive the Wiggles (it's really not that bad), you'll make it to Scout Lookout. This is enough for a lot of hikers - my sister included. The rest of the trail was all me (and Karl Malone - more on that later).
Luckily there was a few poles and a chain between me and sudden death!
I actually made it to here (pic above) and thought it was over…then I realized it keeps going to the end of the ridge…!
Then, I made it to the end of the trail (the top at 5,790 ft)…what a view of Zion Canyon and the Virgin River below.
All and all, the 5 mile roundtrip Angels Landing trail wasn't that bad. It was very steep and stay away if you're afraid of heights. The average time for the hike is 5 hours but I completed it in way less (like 3). There's little shade but the trail is well maintained. Take extra of food & water!
As I rejoined my sister at Scout Lookout we noticed that one of our fellow hikers looked familiar. We hiked down and we heard a voice from another random hiker behind us,
"Hey, guys…do you watch the NBA?"
I mean, I used to, like 10 years ago…
"That was Karl Malone that just passed us!"
Huh. He was right. At first I thought it a bit cliche, I mean, should you see Karl Malone every time you visit Utah? Surely not. But hey, what-do-you-know: Karl and I survived Angels Landing!
~Paul, Sis, the Mailman
P.S. Come back to the blog Thursday for some death-defying Gopro video of the hike:)
Our first hike in Zion was a short one - the Emerald Pools. It was a nice start to hiking in the park (the death-defying hike comes later). It was only 3 miles roundtrip with a bit of an incline, but nothing too bad. The payoff - the pools themselves - weren't really that impressive to be honest, but views of the towering rocks nearby and the waterfalls along the trail made it totally worth it. We used our National Parks annual pass to get in, then hopped on a free shuttle from the Visitor's Center. After our hike we only had to wait a few moments before catching a returning shuttle.
Here's a great link to details about the hike, try it out if you visit Zion!
~Paul, Amber, Dad, Susan, Sis
Prep for our summer Coast to Coast road trip began way back in the spring. We took a quick trip to meet family for a week in Utah’s Zion National Park & Las Vegas (we'll call it road trip practice). The trip is a piece of cake - a quick and affordable plane ticket from Seattle to Vegas, rent a car, drive to Springdale Utah (home of Zion National Park) and play around for a few days. After some hiking adventures we’d drive back to Vegas, say farewell to the fam, and spend an extra day eating fancy Japanese food in Sin City before heading back ourselves.
After a slight delay due to construction between Vegas and Springdale, we arrived at our condo - right on the river and in walking distance to the main gate of Zion. Amber and I have been to other parks in Utah - Arches, Canyonlands - but this was our first trip to the big Z. Staying near the front gate and Zion Canyon Visitor Center was nice as the park is essentially one big canyon (with essentially one road in and out near town). Shuttle service runs all day (link to service) because cars are not allowed in most of the park during the high season. This is very different to parks like Arches where you drive your car to the trailhead and hike. During the Park's busy times it’s pretty much bus only.
The great thing about the bus service, besides limiting traffic, noise, and frustration, is that not only does it take you through the park, it continues through the main drag of town. Since most accommodations are on the main drag, it makes getting around easy. Want to head in to eat dinner? Go for it. Breakfast and then into the park - sure.
During our week in the area, we completed two and half hikes in the park - the Emerald Pools Trail, Angel’s Landing (only one of us made it to the top:), and the easy beginning part of the Narrows - we stopped before you get wet:) We also took a day trip to nearby Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park & another to Bryce Canyon.
The lush canyon of Zion is a nice change from the dry Utah parks we are used to. The town of Springdale had plenty of good eateries and shopping to complement a day of hiking in the park. The short distance to Las Vegas makes catching a flight more doable as US flights to Vegas tend to be cheaper. We had a great time - we’ll share pictures, videos, and stories from hiking (and avoiding death on the trail) this Thursday and into next week. Thanks for reading!
~Paul, Amber, Dad, Susan, Sis
Map of Zion
Things to Do in Zion
Hello fellow adventurers! This is the beginning of a series of road trip posts here on ETC. We’ve safely arrived on the East Coast after a Spring & Summer of road travel. We’ve enjoyed death-defying hiking in Zion National Park, award winning sushi in Las Vegas, browsing a great collection of dinosaurs near Salt Lake, climbing with cliff dwellers in Mesa Verde, we scratched a few sand dunes off our sand-dunes-across-America list, kayaked in snake-infested Midwest rivers, went on a Jurassic Park-like Buffalo bike ride, almost high-fived ‘Big Jesus’ in Arkansas, and finally arrived at our new home - coastal North Carolina (an adventure we’ll start writing about following our roadtrip posts).
So, stay tuned for more as we take you with us across the ol’ US of A! A new post every Monday & Thursday here on the blog. Be sure to also check out our Twitter & Instagram pages for more pics and periodic updates on our horrible cat, Kali. Finally, got some little adventurers around? Check out the plastic version of our trips at www.bricksailboat.com.
See you Monday in Zion!
~Paul & Amber
Hello all who follow Everyone's Travel Club!!! The Mrs. and I just wanted to touch base and let you know we'll be back to regular posting November 1st! Yee-hah!!!
Hopefully you've spied on our instagram (@everyonestravelclub) or Twitter (@Evry1stravlclub) over the past couple of months as we drove across the ol' US of A with our cat. We've settled on a family farm, close to the coast of North Carolina (Outer Banks anyone!?!?).
We've already started adventuring by land and sea, and can't wait to share the trips with you - problem has been - no home internet…yet. Being that we're staying in a newer, rustic farm house, it doesn't have the hookup just yet. We were tasked with setting that up…easier said than done! It turns out CenturyLink country folk move slow…super slow…we've been waiting for the juice since August…yikes.
But come November 1st, we're back with two posts a week…even if that means camping out in a free wifi zone to get-r-done (a new saying I've learned since coming here to the South). Y'all be sure to check back soon! (I'm getting the hang of this country-speak).
~Paul, Amber…and yes, she unfortunately made it - Kali the cat.
Greetings people! A lot has been going down in our world these days as we've sold our dear Kingsley and are trekking across the USA towards the East Coast and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We won't be blog posting until after the adventure is over, but be sure to check in to our Twitter and/or Instragram to see how we're doing!
~Paul, Amber (and unfortunate for our road trip - Kali the cat!)