We covered about 15 miles early yesterday morning, starting with a private shuttle drop at the East entrance and finishing at Observation Point. It took us about 4 hours to cover the first 11 miles, a decent place for us but more reflective of the gentle nature of the east rim trail than our abilities.
The climb to Observation Point is a BEAST but well worth it. Today we do Angel’s Landing then move on to St. George tomorrow. We still have a bit of Zion exploring to do this weekend in the Kolob Canyon area.
I forgot to mention we spent Monday afternoon at the nearby Red Canyon district of the Dixie National Forest. We expected some second rate trails but were blown away by the castle wall and buckhorn trails. This area doesn’t get a lot of hiker attention because of nearby Bryce but is well worth it. Some tough up and down made this four mile trek challenging and rewarding.
We made good time getting to Zion, and after all the warnings of crowds we were surprised with a painless parking and tour bus experience. I think late April might be a sweet spot for these parks — after spring break but before May crowds.
Today we hiked all the Emerald Pools plus Grotto trail, Hidden Canyon plus Weeping Wall, and finally the river walk out to the narrows. Tomorrow we will day hike the east rim trail plus Observation Point, about 15 miles total. We are getting some serious mileage on our feet this trip.
We woke up this morning to snow on the ground and 24 deg F temperatures at 6:15am. Didn’t stop us from enjoying a clear sunrise at Sunrise Point. Within five minutes of our return to camp the snow started falling hard and the skies locked up in grey.
We are now driving to our final Utah park stop: Zion.
Weather is colder and blustery this morning but we took a scenic drive to the south end of Bryce and worked our way back north. Some day I’d like to backpack the Under the Rim Trail.