“You have to go to Zion!” was something we’d heard repeatedly on this trip. I couldn’t wait!
Fortunately, it has totally lived up to our increasing expectations. Just the drive through on Highway 9 offers stellar scenery and memorable travel through the mile long tunnel. It’s stunning to see the variation of mountain, canyon, river, red rock, and trees.
We’d have been content just to drive through, but we’re so glad we have many days to explore all of the popular trails.
Now, for all of our Austin peeps, you’ll appreciate knowing that you have something close to home that, in our opinion is comparable – Hamilton Pool. Our kids will even say that they like Hamilton Pool better!
But for the family, traveling through Zion, this is an excellent hike for all. It’s easy, but still interesting to make the entire hike to the upper pool, with a nice respite, cool breeze at the top. The 360 views are beautiful. One thing that hit me on this trail was, how even though we weren’t at the beach, there was soooo much sand! Be prepared to dump a half-cupful out of your shoes at the end of your hike!
Oh, before we started, we bought a tall soft-serve ice cream cone at Zion Lodge to cool us off on our journey. Totally worth it!
Visitor Center Trail
The Visitor Center is a perfect spot to pick up a couple souvenirs, get your passport book stamped, and ask for a Junior Ranger Booklet.
But it’s also a great place to relax by the river. Our kids loved getting wet, making mud pies, and eating dinner in the company of a blue heron. They could have stayed here for hours, literally.
Don has an awesome Snowpeak GigaPower Stove that makes it easy to heat up anything quickly. Raman noodles, Mountain House Meals, or even simple organic rice mixes with organic canned chicken work so well. The kids love eating out of their Snowpeak Titanium mugs with their titanium sporks! To them, it is all fine dining.
We kept hearing mixed reviews about The Narrows, so we just decided to try it out ourselves. Bringing two girlfriends with us and an extra pair of shoes, we thought we’d give it a shot. What a fun evening! The paved Riverside Trail to the mouth of the Narrows was an easy hike, but nice because of the canyon views. Sheer red cliffs straight up on both sides, with a bubbling river beside. We saw plenty of friendly squirrels and mule deer along the way.
There was a part of me that thought we’d get to the end of Riverside Trail and just look at the Narrows ahead, but the pull was too strong. We all took off our shoes and set foot in the freezing water. Our feet were numb for the entire time. But we didn’t care! Everyone loved the thrill of hiking through the Narrows. Just a little bit further, just around the corner, just to that waterfall. . . .okay, time to turn around.
We decided we’ll just have to come back another day, and we’ll do it “right.” Here’s what we heard for the recommendation: Start early – like before 1 PM, rent/buy a wetsuit and have a walking stick. Then, at the end, the reward it totally worth it – the super narrow stretches along with an amazing view at the end. I’m sold. At some points, the water will come up to an adult’s chest, so we’ll just help Jadyn swim through if we need to. Can’t wait!