Hymn to Zion National Park

All day I kept thinking of the lyrics from the hymn: We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion. We’re marching to Zion, Beautiful city of God.

Red steep canyon walls are the backdrop pretty much everywhere along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

Red steep canyon walls are the backdrop pretty much everywhere along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

Zion is an awe inspiring sight. I thought maybe these Zion fans had never been to Yosemite. We are so blessed in the United States of America because we have so many truly special beautiful natural places. Zion National Park is among the best.

It was about an hour drive from the Inn at Entrada in St George. Highway 9 is very pleasant with small towns dotting the way. Go early in the morning for two reasons. First, the parking lots fill up quickly. Do not panic though because you can park and ride a shuttle from Springdale. Almost everyone moves about the parks on the shuttle buses or on a bike. Bring a daypack and remember water and sunscreen. Second, on the first of May it was 93 degrees in the afternoon. And it only gets hotter throughout summer.

The Visitor Center is a good stop to plan your trip. We got great advice from the volunteers and rangers.

The Visitor Center is a good stop to plan your trip. We got great advice from the volunteers and rangers.

The main Zion Canyon Visitor Center is on the edge of Springdale. It has a large selection of hiking gear and books just in case you forgot something. Even if you think you have your whole day planned, check in with the fabulous rangers or volunteers at the desk. They are full of useful information. Most importantly there are good bathrooms and you can never go too often if you are planning to hike.

Do not feed the animals.

Do not feed the animals.

We boarded the bus and laughed at the cute ads admonishing us not to feed the animals. Judging by how aggressive the squirrels are, I believe we should stop feeding them. The deer are also acclimated to crowds. Careful though, they are wild so admire from a distance.

We rode the shuttle bus to the end of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to hike the Temple of Sinawava trail. It was a relatively easy hike. Just right.

IMG_7260When we told colleagues that we were going to Zion National Park, they proved they did not know us very well by suggesting we hike Angels Landing Trail. Right, a trail that is so steep they provide chains to hang onto. They sell a t-shirt in the gift shop for those who finish! Or they’d say, “You have to do the Narrows.” Seriously? It requires a swimsuit and water shoes and you the water is above your waist on some parts of the trail. We were perfectly happy with the short and beautiful hikes we chose.

Hiking the trails in Zion.Next up was the lower Emerald Pools trail we started from The Grotto, ending at Zion Lodge.

The Zion Lodge on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive in Zion National Park.

The Zion Lodge on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive in Zion National Park.

The Zion Lodge has accommodations, a couple of food options, and a gift shop. It is not one of the grand lodges of the National Park System, more Yosemite Lodge less Ahwahnee. It would be super convenient if you wanted to do some of the longer hikes. We got some refreshments and did a bit of shopping and then caught the bus to the Zion Human History Museum. We were 20 minutes from closing and this was enough time to take in the views from the patio and look at the exhibits.

One more short ride on the bus and we were back at the Visitor Center and our car. We were tired and extremely saturated with sun and beauty. It was a great day and we still had our stop at the Iceberg Drive-In to look forward to… milkshakes!

The view of Zion Canyon from the lower Emerald Pools Trail.

The view of Zion Canyon from the lower Emerald Pools Trail.

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