Day 4 of our Road Trip kicked off our first day in Zion National Park!
We were very lucky to know someone whose family had a BEAUTIFUL vacation home in St. George, Utah who offered us a place to stay for a our visit in Utah – an invitation we graciously accepted and continue to be grateful for!
I strategically planned this day to be the most strenuous – so our adventures built up to this day – and we could spend the next two days on mild and pretty flat hikes to recover.
On this day, we planned to conquer Angels Landing – known as the most difficult but most stunning hike in all of Zion National Park.
Driving into Zion for the first time, I was so impressed with the beautiful mountain views that welcome you into Springdale, Utah. On our next trip to Zion, I think we might stay in Springdale so we can walk to the local restaurants and socialize with the other adventure seekers visiting Zion. This town was built to cater to the adventures and biking/hiking/climbing culture! And as typical tourists, we bought bumper stickers and visited the various rock vendors – FYI most of the rocks aren’t even from Zion #SpoilerAlert.
Similar to Yosemite, we paid the park entry fee (which was $30, like Yosemite for the week) and it was well worth the small price for the beautifully defined trails, maintained restrooms, visitors center (with a huge gift shop) and access to the shuttle buses… If you’re like me, the sound of “shuttle buses” sounded more like DisneyWorlds Magical Express and less like an outdoor adventure. But when you spend the bulk of your days hiking out in the sun – the buses are a luxury you quickly come to appreciate. And speaking of the buses, there are a series of narrations playing on the buses – which were pretty informative and shared a lot of information about the parks name and history that I am glad I learned – but probably would have never googled on my own.
Make sure you stop by the Zion Visitors Center before you board the shuttle buses and get a free park map! Our map was clutch for navigating the nine different stops and mapping out each trails distance and time commitments.
Angels Landing was everything I expected it to be and more… I totally over-packed for the hike, but I was comfortable and more than prepared – which I will take any-day over being under-prepared.
I had a 3L hydration pack for water, first aid kit, sun screen, warm-jacket for the morning (which was helpful – but I could have toughed out the first hour of the morning without it and free’ed up space in my bag for the rest of the afternoon), lunch, snacks, cell phone, GoPro, backup batteries and a solar light that I NEEDED to have in case I got stranded on a mountain overnight (not sure how my thought process got here – but glad I was prepared for a blackout on the mountain).
The switch backs and incline (almost the entire way up) were tough. But taking time to catch my breathe and gave me plenty of time to take in the amazing views – there isn’t a bad view anywhere on this trail!
Even though the there are clean bathrooms, shuttle buses and great amenities in the park – you totally feel disconnected from the “real world” and connected with nature the second you start the climb.
We picked the perfect time of year to make the trip to Zion. Late Septembers allowed for a bright blue and clear sky, cool mornings and highs in the 70-80’s – I don’t think the strenuous climb to the top of Angels Landing paired with 90+ degree weather would have made for a pleasant experience.
I spent a great deal of time contemplating my move to Springdale, Utah and wondering if I could live the rest of my life as a park guide. Highly unlikely, but this was one of those days so enjoyable you’d consider making huge life changes just to be able to reconnect with nature more.
My 3 liter hydration pack was more than enough water for me – I’d say you need to know yourself and your water consumption. I went with three friends and we all had different hydration needs.
This was one of my favorite views from Angels Landing, simply because from the base of the canyon the lower formation seemed so tall – but from Angels Landing that small formation didn’t stack up to even half the height of where we stood. Gave us all a great deal of accomplishment being able to understand how far we really went that day!
This was by far the best hike I have ever experienced… The views were stunning, the weather couldn’t have been better and sharing it with close friends was icing on the cake!
We saw young kids in crocs and Spiderman pajamas all the way to Grandmas hand in hand with their Grandchildren making the climb to the top. As long as you have the stomach for the height (the narrow trail to the top isn’t for those afraid of heights). I think this is a trail almost anyone in good health can accomplish. I’m putting this hike on my “things to do again” list and hope to share it with more family and friends on the next go around!
This hike was the perfect mid-point for our Road Trip and National Park Adventure. We built up to the hike after starting in Yosemite and had a good cool day in Death Valley. I left Zion that day looking forward to crossing more trails off the list in the next two days – and couldn’t wait to kick my legs up and relax after a great day of hiking!
Stay tuned for the more of our Road Trip Adventures and check out some extra footage I captured on my GoPro on my Vimeo Channel :