Zion National Park

Posted: 11 March 2011 in Travel
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I decided today to stretch back into the recesses of my mind and describe a truly majestic place: Zion National Park. I grew up in St. George, Utah, which is barely and hour southwest. I have many fond memories of trips there whether they be family, church or recreational. I sadly I have very few pictures of these trips except for ones of the latest trip I went there with my best friend in September 2008.

While I love being there, many things have changed over the years. The last couple times I was there was when I was moving all my things back to Utah from Miami. Taking the back roads through the Indian Reservation in southeast Utah from Mew Mexico led me eventually through Zions. While physically, things still look the same. There a still the same amount of turnoffs to go park and hike and no new roads have been built, but access to various parts of the park have become limited.

For instance, the Zion tunnel has windows built into the side of it that lets people catch glimpses of the canyon as the drive through it. For years as I was growing up, it was such a pleasure driving through the tunnel. I love tunnels for one and this one is just incredible. It was much to my displeasure to discover that most the windows along the tunnel had been largely narrowed. I can understand why it might have been done (accidents for various reasons) but it still is depressing.

The next big difference I noticed was the turnoff to drive to the Emerald Pools and Angels Landing is now unaccessible by personal vehicles. In order for a person to get there, they must board a shuttle by the entrance of the park and the Visitors Centre. Not such a big deal, but still a bit of an inconvenience. I heard it was because of pollution reasons, but I am not 100% sure why it is.

It is crazy how things change over the years. I hadn’t been to Zions for over 6 years. The last time I can honestly remember being there before 2008 was probably 1999 for a family trip. My sister and I had been planning on going on the school Marine Biology trip to California but because of certain events, we both got grounded from going. On that trip, we had a picnic with my mom’s homemade fried chicken and hiked. It was a clear beautiful day so it was great. What was also great was that I had decided to talk to my dad about my going on the biology trip. It was what I had planned on going to school for so I really wanted to go. And I ended up being able to.

Fast forward nine years and here I was with my best friend hiking on trails I last had been to with the youth of my ward (church) in the late 90’s. We even made out own trail up the side of a steepish incline:

We were so high up that you can barely see my car. It was so nice being as high as we were. It was very peaceful and relaxing to feel so close to nature. And yes, getting back down was a little difficult.

While that road has some pretty amazing hikes and scenery, nothing compares to the majesty of the Emerald Pools. That has to be by far my most favourite place in Zions. I haven’t been there in over 10 years. Maybe I’ll there this summer just to take some pictures to post. Plus I’d then be needing to work out so I can look sexy in the pictures 😉 Anyway. There are three pools that you can hike to. The nice thing is that you don’t need to take three different trail to see them. You can either follow the same trail which leads past the first two to the last one or take another trail which bypasses the lowest pool taking you to the middle pool first. Anyway you do it, you can either swim in all three going up or going down. Which ever suits your fancy.

The one place there that I have always wanted to go but haven’t yet is Angels Landing. The highest point in the park, Angels Landing is the famous peak jutting into the sky that you can see from almost all over the park. I have had a few opportunities to do it but never have. But that was more than 10 years ago now. Perfect opportunity to go now. Now I should warn that it is not an easy hike, but the view should be incredible.

So for those of you planning on taking a trip out to Zions sometime in your life, you will enjoy it. There is quite a bit to do. If your time is limited to only a day or two, make sure to go early so you can see the Emerald Pools (as I said earlier you will have to be shuttled to the location), Angels Landing (also shuttled) and the Zion tunnel (you can drive through it yourself). Be sure to also do the hike directly after the tunnel (if you are driving north from Springdale). I myself am going to plan a summer trip down there to finally hike Angels Landing and photograph the Emerald Pools.

For more info: http://www.zionnationalpark.com/parkinfo.html

Also, as you will find on the site, the passes are $25 and good for a week, so utilise it 😉

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Comments
  1. I visited the USA in 1996 and took a coach tour of a string of National Parks – Zion was the final visit and my favourite.

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