Hiking in Zion National Park was one of the top places we had high expectations on our US road trip. As Utah’s first National Park, we couldn’t wait to climb the massive sandstone cliffs within the 24 km long canyon. The Springdale Visitor Center is a great start to your hikes to pick up any last minute snacks or water and that special souvenir to take home! Our goal of the day was to hike the hardest and most challenging Angels Landing!
The night before we had confirmed what hikes we were interested in and how the day looked based on the limited time we had. With our backpack filled with at least 6 bottles of water, plenty of sun cream applied and hiking shoes ready we started the day driving from 06:00am. It took just over 2 hours driving to Zion NP from Page, but we knew it would be worth it knowing the sun would be shining all day (compared to the thunderstorms the day before).
Arriving at one of the main entrances it wasn’t too long to wait before we paid the national park fee and drove right through. We had arrived at the east entrance of the national park, entering a mile long tunnel and following the winding roads to the base at Springdale. Here we parked the car at the first available parking area and jumped immediately on the free shuttle bus to the Springdale visitor centre.
From the Springdale visitor centre we hopped onto the main shuttle bus that drives through Zion and headed straight to stop 4, the Grotto. Here we could start the hike of Angel’s Landing, an average 4 hour round hike but the most intense of them all. We sort of new what to expect from a few photos and so we were as prepared as we could be!
The first part didn’t seem too bad, winding up around left to right getting steeper each time. Hiking at the lower angle was already testing our stamina! Stopping only a few times for water on the first section, we made it to the first main area for stopping. At this point it was already 12:30pm so we were hiking in the hottest part of the day.
Here we had our lunch, take away Subway sandwiches that we took with us, while watching the very cute chipmunks and discussing the next step of the hike. From here there would be no more constructed paths like we had been walking on, but pure mountain rock at all different angles. This part definitely challenged ourselves from our comfort zone.
With drops of up to 460m, we ascended the next section, holding very tightly to some constructed hanging chains in the rock to pull yourself up. Climbing and scaling the rock was pretty difficult but pumped with adrenaline we managed to take each step correctly and slowly made it to the top!
With a few scrapes and bruises along the way we had pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone. Stopping only once or twice for some water and to wait for people to pass you on their way down.
But wow! We had made it! It sure was fantastic but frightening at the top as you can literally see 360° around you, with the drop off more scary than before. It didn’t help that it was significantly windy too, so after a drink, a sit down and our mini photo shoot we descended back to the previous stopping area. But WOW we did it! Even thinking back to it now I can’t believe it. An amazing hiking route with the best views I have seen in a very long time!
Other hikers spirits were also very high, with people helping out telling you where to climb and hearing motiving words like ‘Nearly there well done’ and ‘keep it up you won’t regret it!’. Everyone was positive and inspiring to keep you going when you reached difficult sections, which really helped out your confidence to push yourself further and reach the top.
Going down was just as adventurous though! But it seemed much quicker than going up, like we had a lot more confidence!
Back on more solid flat ground in the canyon we still had a few hours before we had to drive back to Page, so we visited the Emerald Pools and afterwards followed a sandy trail. This sandy trail was so peaceful that we only saw 1 other hiker on the whole 40min hike! The sandy trail allowed us the experience the peacefulness of the National Park and wildlife along the way that would have been hiding if it was a busier hike. We even enjoyed this hike just as much as Angel’s Landing.
It was great to see the baby deer grazing by the river and multiple species of birds. We kept out eyes peeled but don’t think we saw any falcons.
Visiting Zion National Park pushed us out of our comfort zone in such a positive way that it was definitely one of the top highlights of our whole US road trip vacation.
If you have never been hiking in Zion National Park before, our top tips are:
- Take water, water & more water! (we also had 1 sugary drink for the energy)
- Snacks too, for those energising moments
- Prepare for the weather – hat, suncream, sunglasses etc
- Dont take any unnecessary things with you in your hiking bag
- A spare camera battery/memory cards incase you run out at the top!
- Take your time – no matter what hike you do, don’t just think about the end stop, take your time and enjoy your surroundings along the way
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Have you been hiking in Zion National Park? We’d love to hear your stories and tips for next time!