Two weeks in Utah’s Zion National Park: like a visit to the promised land!
Our campsite was next to the Virgin River, with the walls of “The Watchman” towering above us. One of our hikes was up “The Narrows” – a different hiking experience wading in the Virgin River 6 km up the Narrows Gorge to “Wall Street”, where the canyon is at its narrowest and highest.
On another day, we had a beautiful cycling experience riding down Zion Canyon. Along the way, we parked our bikes to hike up to the Upper Emerald Pool, nested below towering cliffs. Later, as we approached our campsite below the “Watchman”, the late afternoon sun made the mountain glow.
A drive up a switchback road and through a tunnel to the eastern section of Zion, near Checkerboard Mesa, took us to Keyhole Canyon, a slot canyon where seven canyoneers died in a 2015 flash flood.
Perhaps our best experience in Zion was a hiking from the canyon floor to “Observation Point”, a climb of 700 m (higher than the CN Tower) over 6.5 km. The view was spectacular, but the best part was climbing through Echo Canyon, a slot canyon entered high above the Zion Canyon floor. It was magical, underscoring the maxim “Its about the journey, not the destination”. The highlight was experiencing the changing light on the canyon walls as the day progressed.
On our last day in Zion, we hiked up to Hidden Canyon, then returned to Echo Canyon. Hidden Canyon offered up a trail along a cliff edge, a “sandfall” created by a bighorn sheep, and a small but pretty arch. At Echo Canyon, we scrambled our way down into a more remote section of the slot canyon. It was stunning.