Zion National Park
We spent two jam-packed days here in Zion. You can definitely spend way more time in this beautiful park, but what bringing Louis with us, we boarded him for the two days so we could hike, we didn’t really want to spend too much on the boarding cost. By the way, if you have your pup with you when in this area, Doggy Dude Ranch is the perfect boarding place for your furry friend; Louis thoroughly enjoyed his time spent there since he couldn’t come with us on the hikes.
Day One in Zion (Day Three of Southwest Roadtrip)
Day One in Zion was dedicated to the Narrows hike. We started off the day with this cafe I had seen on Instagram, Feel Love Coffee; we visited again the following day because it was that good. Then we hurried into the National Park to find parking. The time of day we chose made that a very difficult process, so we ended up missing out scheduled shuttle time, but luckily were able to easily hope on the next available shuttle after we finally found parking. Our shuttle driver was so outgoing and informative, chit-chatting the whole drive up to the Narrows drop-off, informing us that the chains section of the Angel’s Landing hike was in fact back open again, news we were very excited to hear since we planned on hiking it the next day.
We started hiking at about 12 PM, and even with the sun overhead, the canyon walls still managed to block it from shining directly on you and keeping the water freezing cold. When our feet first touched the water in the hike, I thought for sure that I wouldn’t make it very far but surprisingly, my feet grew used to the cold and we managed to hike inwards a total of 3.55 miles! The Narrows Hike is an out-and-back style hike, so we had to choose when we wanted to turn around and hike back to the entrance the same way we came. The hike itself is actually quite long, a total of 16 miles if I remember hearing correctly, which we definitely wouldn’t have had enough time for unless we were planning on leaving Louis at his doggy daycare overnight and having a backpacking permit to trek the whole thing.
We wish we could have went further but I think for the time that we had, we did pretty good, especially since we didn’t have hiking sticks and I was wearing Chacos for my footwear, not exactly the best shoes for hiking through freezing water and uneven rocks, but I made it work excellently. Despite being sad about having to turn around to make it in time to pick up Louis from his daycare, we were freezing, ready to shower, and exhausted, in much need of some warmth. It was hands-down the most unique and beautiful hike we have ever done, and we highly recommend it to anyone planning to visit Zion National Park. In total, we managed to hike 7.15 miles round-trip.
Day Two in Zion (Day Four of Southwest Roadtrip)
My favorite hike of the trip. We started Day Two in Zion a bit earlier than the first day, especially since we knew more of what we were up against with parking and such. But first, coffee from Feel Love Coffee, which truly chose the perfect spot for a coffee shop. We started hiking around 10:30 AM and this day was a bit colder than the day before, so we were so glad we didn’t choose to do the Narrows on this day! Poor Austin was worn out before we even made it a mile into the hike, due to the steep incline and his lack of physical activity. (Lol)
I was certainly getting some Jurassic Park vibes from this hike, which lead me to thinking about the past and imaging this area when dinosaurs were walking through it – if it even looked like this back then!
After 1600 ft of elevation gain and countless chipmunk sightings, we made it to the top! The chains section – absolutely exhilarating, although slightly more traffic than I was expecting since the information of the chains being open once again wasn’t very well known, or so I thought… Word of mouth spreads quick, despite it not being mentioned on the park website. Anyways, I truly thought I was going to be terrified of the chains section, especially after I had been noticing an increased fear of heights and edges of cliffs the last couple of days, something that wasn’t really an issue for me in the past, but honestly, it really wasn’t that bad!
When we reached the top, Austin and I literally spent a good 30 minutes just sitting and enjoying the view, while also having a picnic before making the trek back down, which was much quicker than going up as you could imagine… In total, this hike was 5.15 miles round-trip! Definitely got my steps in (and a good workout) for this day and the day before!
These two were definitely the most strenuous hikes of the whole trip, with Angel’s Landing being my absolute favorite overall. It definitely isn’t for those who are afraid of heights and/or edges, unless you can muster up the courage as I thankfully managed to; I couldn’t imagine not making it the rest of the way and not to be rewarded with that gorgeous view at the top. Worth it? 100%.
Next up, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef!