Zion National Park
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The Narrows
View from Heaven - Angel's Landing
Zion National Park - The Narrows
Zion National Park - Big Bend Star Trails
Hiking the Narrows
Hiking the canyon
Zion - Mt. Carmel Highway
Zion - Mt. Carmel Highway
Serenity on the Virgin River: The Narrows in Autumn
Rappelling, Canyoneering, and Gorgeous Desert Views Await You
The Narrows
View from Heaven - Angel's Landing
Zion National Park - The Narrows
Zion National Park - Big Bend Star Trails
Hiking the Narrows
Hiking the canyon
Zion - Mt. Carmel Highway
Zion - Mt. Carmel Highway
Serenity on the Virgin River: The Narrows in Autumn
Rappelling, Canyoneering, and Gorgeous Desert Views Await You
The Narrows
This hike is also one of my top contenders for "Best Day Hike in the World." Zion, tucked in Springdale, Utah, is already such a profoundly striking national park, and the chance to tackle the famed Narrows hike on the Virgin River completes an epic visit. Be sure to check the weather reports for possible flash flooding and make sure that you have a lot of water, snacks for fuel, and layers for when you start to get cold in the slot canyon shadows. I'd encourage you to make reservations for shoe and trekking pole rentals with the Zion Adventure Company. Once you're in their office you're greeted warmly with information, maps, instructional videos, and everything else you need to know before heading in. You'll be hiking on the Colorado Plateau and almost entirely IN the river. The walls are vertical and sheer, and different shades of red and orange in color. Water levels change from season to season but be aware that you're always at least wading in knee- to waist-high water (if not swimming small sections). Due to the water level, Zion Adventure Company may outfit you with pants perfect for this type of experience. For the single-day hike experience in the Narrows, you'll be tackling the up-and-back route from the Temple of Sinawava.
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Zion National Park - The Narrows
I have to say, out of all of the places I've been, this is always my favorite. This is because of not only the amazing beauty of the Narrows, but also because it's more than just a trail you're walking through...it's a canyon covered in water and at some parts even requires a bit of swimming. I have done this trek about five times now and it is like I am experiencing a new place every time. If you are a national park exploring type of person, this is a must!
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View from Heaven - Angel's Landing
Angel's Landing is to Zion National Park as Half Dome is to Yosemite in terms of views and trekking. When you get to the top, it gives you gorgeous views of the entire valley. The hike up is not the easiest with switchbacks, cables, and narrow cliffs, but it is definitely well worth it!
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Zion National Park - Big Bend Star Trails
With much of the drama that Yosemite has, this place is paradise for hiking, exploring, relaxing, walking up Angel's Landing, eating, camping, and so much more. If you love the outdoors, you'll love Zion. And if you don't love the outdoors...seriously, whatsamatterwithyou? :D Oh, and I should mention that Zion National Park is open at night, and a lot of people choose to do night hiking or watch the stars drift past, as I did here with this photo, showing the celestial movements of the stars. Absolutely magical. It's a real privilege to be able to see the Milky Way or experience the quiet of night while watching the night sky. Really a fantastic stargazing opportunity!!!!!
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Zion - Mt. Carmel Highway
I spent two days at Zion NP and it was not enough time. It is an amazingly beautiful place and I could have easily spent many more days exploring. I spent the first day driving the Zion - Mt. Carmel Highway making lots of stops along the route to either hike, take pictures or just sit and enjoy the beauty of the park. There is a $25 entrance fee that is valid for 7 days.
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Zion - Mt. Carmel Highway
I spent two days at Zion NP and it was not enough time. It is an amazingly beautiful place and I could have easily spent many more days exploring. I spent the first day driving the Zion - Mt. Carmel Highway making lots of stops along the route to either hike, take pictures or just sit and enjoy the beauty of the park. There is a $25 entrance fee that is valid for 7 days.
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Hiking the canyon
On my second day at the park I did a lot of hiking. I started at the visitors center (you can fill up your water bottles here) and hopped on the park shuttle. My favorite hike was the Narrows. I disembarked from the shuttle at the Temple of Sinawava and strolled along the easy and paved Riverside Walk. It ends at the Narrows entrance where tons of people gather in and around the water. I decided to venture up the canyon alone with nothing but sneakers, water, snacks and my camera. In the beginning there are tons of people with you but after about 1/2 an hour they thin out. I hiked for about 4.5 hours round trip and saw only a small portion of this amazing canyon. This is not easy but not that difficult either. I would recommend a walking stick. I didn't have one and it's a bit difficult to traverse through water full of large rocks when you cannot see where to place your feet. The route I took does not require a permit but the hike from the top down does. Permits are snatched up 3 months in advance so plan early or take your chances on the lottery system, both of which can be done here: http://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/narrowspermits.htm There is food/water stations/bathrooms at the Zion Lodge shuttle stop (there is also a great trail called Emerald Pools at this stop). There is a $25 park entrance fee which is valid for 7 days.
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Hiking the Narrows
On my second day at the park I did a lot of hiking. I started at the visitors center (you can fill up your water bottles here) and hopped on the park shuttle. My favorite hike was the Narrows. I disembarked from the shuttle at the Temple of Sinawava and strolled along the easy and paved Riverside Walk. It ends at the Narrows entrance where tons of people gather in and around the water. I decided to venture up the canyon alone with nothing but sneakers, water, snacks and my camera. In the beginning there are tons of people with you but after about 1/2 an hour they thin out. I hiked for about 4.5 hours round trip and saw only a small portion of this amazing canyon. This is not easy but not that difficult either. I would recommend a walking stick. I didn't have one and it's a bit difficult to traverse through water full of large rocks when you cannot see where to place your feet. The route I took does not require a permit but the hike from the top down does. Permits are snatched up 3 months in advance so plan early or take your chances on the lottery system, both of which can be done here: http://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/narrowspermits.htm There is food/water stations/bathrooms at the Zion Lodge shuttle stop (there is also a great trail called Emerald Pools at this stop). There is a $25 park entrance fee which is valid for 7 days.
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Serenity on the Virgin River: The Narrows in Autumn
The Virgin River, the centerpiece of Zion National Park, presents different personalities throughout the year. In early summer, she runs swift and high with abandon. In autumn she has calmed down and become reflective ... and this is one of the loveliest times of year to wade up the river in the area known as The Narrows. In the indirect light that filters into the narrow canyon, the golden leaves and the red rocks are saturated with warm color (even when your feet are freezing cold in the water). With the water level much lower at this time of year, it's a fairly easy hike, though you still need the crucial piece of equipment: a walking stick ... available for rent in Springdale.
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Rappelling, Canyoneering, and Gorgeous Desert Views Await You
There are numerous canyoneering and rappelling opportunities in Zion National Park, but many visitors enjoy the easy hikes and desert views. Not into the outdoors? There are a few cute bed and breakfasts in the area as well. Get lost in the colorful landscape complete with alizarin crimsons, viridian greens, and cadmium yellow flowers all complemented by an azure blue sky. Visit in the spring or fall to avoid the heat. If canyoneering is what drives you, try June-July to avoid the heavy thunderstorms of August-October.
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