Monday, February 18, 2008

Trip to Zion National Park

Who would have thought that a canyon oasis would be just two and a half hours' drive away from Las Vegas? Our trip to Valley of Fire was amazing but Zion National Park is another natural beauty we were glad to have visited this past Sunday.

We took a scenic drive through Zion Canyon, took several hikes to explore the Emerald Pools, walked along the Riverside Walk to the Temple of Sinawava, and hiked to Canyon Overlook after driving through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel for the best view in the park!

Before we started our journey through Zion Canyon, some delicious food was in order so we stopped at the Historic Pioneer Lodge for lunch in Springdale; just one mile outside of the park. I had a Reuben sandwich and my husband had fish and chips.

This town is so cute and perfectly nestled at the foot of the picturesque surrounding canyon. There are several neat little shops and tons of places for jewelry and Indian art. We would've have loved to browse around but we had a full day of walking ahead of us. Soon enough, we were on our way along the scenic drive.

Our first stop was the Emerald Pools where we took a 2-mile hike to the lower, middle, and upper level pools. Though the path was paved, it was covered in snow and ice until we reached the lower level pools. Water fell from the Middle Emerald Pool above into this lower pool as we walked underneath it along our path to the middle level and upper level pools. I can imagine when the weather warms up, how the waterfalls would cascade down--it was just amazing to be right there, I felt like Indiana Jones on an adventure!

(The rock formations and canyons are just larger than life, I simply couldn't capture the feel of being there in person with my point-and-shoot camera. Looking at my photos would be like looking at a magazine full of food instead of eating and tasting the yummy goodness of real food--they just don't justify the true beauty of Zion Canyon!)

The view from atop the trail was breathtaking when we would stop along the narrow path and look around. The path had long and steep drop offs that neither of us wanted to fall into as several deaths have occurred from people who have fallen.
Middle Level Pool

We really enjoyed the 1.1 mile drive through the Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel. At the time of its completion and dedication in 1930, the tunnel was the longest in the United States creating a direct access to Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon from Zion National Park. It was pitch black in the tunnel except for the occasional archway peepholes overlooking the canyon every now and then.

When we had reach the other side, my husband spotted the Canyon Overlook trail which was our best hike by far! One mile of narrow, winding, and at times vertical steps to the Canyon Overlook. The 163-foot ascent felt more like we were climbing the Empire State Building or something! But our efforts were well worth the panoramic view where we can see the other points (The Sentinel, Altar of Sacrifice, the West Temple, and Bridge Mountain).

We had a great time hiking and our trip made this extra-long weekend that much nicer. There are more photos on Flickr from our trip but Zion National Park is a place where we think you just have to be there in person to truly appreciate.


Anonymous said...

Looks like "Emerald Pools" might be a good spot for some Malibu Strings photos in warmer weather.
BK and KJ

Daly said...

LOL...that is funny you should say that. John said the same thing about Valley of Fire and Zion. I think we'll have to try it when the weather gets warmer!

johnny said...

Great trip huh? Can't wait to do it again. Oh, and I agree with the MS pix...!!

corrin said...

we have picture of zion hanging in our living room. my husband's sister and her family lived in vegas for years and she did some black and white photos for us.

Daly said...

@ corrin: oh neat!! I bet your sister-in-law's pics were way, way better.

We were a little disappointed looking back at our photos because they just doesn't compare to seeing Zion in person (but a good photographer with a nicer camera can sure work their magic--often times catching the beauty that we miss with our own eyes!).