We recently made our first ever visit to Zion and Bryce National Parks. We knew we were in for a treat, but neither of us imagined just how spectacular this part of Utah is.
Early May is a good time to visit these parks. The weather is cool, which is great for hiking, and the crowds are small. It is easy to take shots that make it look like you are the only visitors.
After a short flight to Las Vegas, we drove about three hours to Springdale Utah, a small tourist mecca at the entrance to Zion, where we met our friends Chris and Ben. We booked late for this trip, so with little to choose from, we found an available room at the Springdale La Quinta Inn, which as it turned out, had a spectacular view, a great pool, a perfect location for walking and entering the park.
Our first hike into the park was the easiest and had the biggest payoff at the end. The Canyon Overlook Trail — only open on the weekends at the moment — was my favorite hike at Zion.
We also hiked along the river to where The Narrows hike begins, but stayed out of the 47 degree water. We’re definitely not the type to attempt the scary Angel’s Landing hike, but we did visit all three “Emerald Pools”. We are in the midst of a devastating drought, so maybe this is why the pools were a bit underwhelming.
Zion is truly majestic, but I think we both preferred Bryce Canyon for its wild geography, color and unreal hikes. The featured image for this blog entry is Thor’s Hammer as seen from The Navajo Loop Trail. This hike with it’s 368-foot altitude change is listed as moderate, but for this old man, it was quite a bit of work. It was worth the effort though, as you can see from the photos.
For accommodations, we chose the charming lodge inside the park.