According to National Geographic, Zion is the third most popular National Park in the country. While most all of the big national parks have seen an increase in vistorship over the past several years, since 2010, the number of visitors at Zion has increased by a whopping 70%. The park has already instituted permit requirements for certain hikes, has banned vehicular traffic through much of its most famous section (offering a well run shuttle system instead), and is now actively considering a proposal to require visitors to use a reservations system just to visit the park. This newest proposal is truly unfortunate but the park and the town that surrounds it can only handle so much volume and, unfortunately, while it’s awesome that people are getting out and appreciating our national park system, too many visitors can really damage these places. I’m not sure what the end result will be, but we were happy to visit this gorgeous place at a low tourist time and we took advantage of every day we had.

Zion’s most famous feature is the fifteen mile long canyon that cuts through a portion of the park. The canyon was created by the Virgin River which, over the course of hundreds of millions of years, has eroded the surrounding rock and left a breathtaking span of colorful cliffs, textured rock, pretty waterfalls, and large expanses of green vegetation.

Can you believe this little bullshit river:

The Virgin River in Zion National Park

…created all of this???

Zion National Park canyon

Me neither. It’s nuts.

Anyway, if you’re considering visiting Zion, late April featured fantastic weather and relatively quiet trails. And while we got some surprised reactions from friends when we told them we were staying at the park for ten days, in the end, we thought it was a perfect length of time to visit. We hiked almost all of the famous trails, spent time with some friends who were in town, and still had a reasonable amount of downtime to relax and recover from all the hiking.

The Watchman Trail

We started our explorations on the Watchman Trail. This is a 3.1 mile loop trail that is listed as “moderate” in most hiking guides. While we encountered plenty of people, it was by no means crowded and the folks we did see were spread out. It was pretty perfect.

As for the scenery, I’d say it qualified as “not too shabby”:

The Watchman Trail at Zion National Park

The Watchman Trail at Zion National Park

The Watchman Trail at Zion National Park

This was a perfect hike to knock the dust off our boots and get us ready to tackle the more challenging trails.

The Narrows

The Narrows is one of Zion’s most famous hikes, and for good reason. The “trail” is actually just the Virgin River. Hikers walk up the river through the canyon and watch as the walls get taller and narrower. This trail is only open certain times of the year when the water flow is at a safe level. We did not expect it to be open in late April because the water is usually too high (as a result of snow melting at higher elevations), but the river was still running low which meant we could do it.

Daily conditions report for the Narrows hike at Zion National Park

Because the water is cold, and because the river bottom is covered with large rocks, most people rent waterproof pants, neoprene socks, specialized boots, and a walking stick from a local outfitter. The supplies help keep hikers warm and (hopefully) upright, as they make their way up the river. On the morning of our hike, we forked over the $41 per person, got ourselves fully outfitted in our super sexy waterproof gear, and headed for the trailhead.

Kevin wearing his waterproof gear for the Narrows hike

Once in the water, hikers can walk as far up the river as they want. Some travel just a couple hundred yards to see the views, while others hike several miles. After speaking with a staff member at Zion Outfitters, we decided to try to reach the area known as “Wall Street,” which is a little over three miles from the trail-head (there’s only one point of entry so however far you go, you have to double it to get back to the trailhead… so our hike would be about six and a half miles).

As we made our way up the river, there were times we could walk along the edges on the rocks, but most of our time was spent in the water. The deepest it got was to the middle of our thighs.

The Narrows at Zion National Park

While that may not seem especially high, we quickly learned that the strong currents and unsteady footing could easily throw us off balance. While we never fell in, we saw several people who did.

The Narrows at Zion National Park

When not concerning ourselves with doing a faceplant in the river, we marveled at our surroundings. The landscape changed at every turn. Sometimes the canyon walls would open into large sunny areas that allowed trees and other vegetation to thrive…

The Narrows at Zion National Park

While other times the walls would close in and almost completely block out the light, and any hope for greenery…

The Narrows at Zion National Park

The landscape and lighting made for some mind boggling views.

The Narrows at Zion National Park

And, as you can see from the pictures, the farther we went up the river, the fewer people we encountered.

Except this guy. He kept showing up in all my pictures.

The Narrows at Zion National Park

By the time we passed through Wall Street, we were among just a handful of other hikers and our knees, ankles, and feet were screaming. We will say it was absolutely worth it to rent the gear as it helped us maintain our balance on the slippery rocks, but even with that stuff, there is a lot of twisting and turning, so if you have problematic knees or ankles, be prepared for some discomfort.

No, We Did Not Hike Angel’s Landing

If you tell anyone who’s been to Zion that you’re heading there, they will likely tell you that you “HAVE TO hike Angel’s Landing!” And if you tell anyone who’s been there that you just left, they’ll excitedly ask: “Did you hike Angel’s Landing??”

Why is this particular hike so popular? Because the last half mile or so requires hikers to climb a very narrow ridge with 1,000 foot drops on either side, assisted only by a chain nailed into the mountain.

This is a picture of Angel’s Landing a couple years ago: Notice the people on the bottom right corner about to head up the ridge…

Photo Source: TsaiProject

Here you can see the size of the path as well as the chain hikers hold onto….

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

It goes without saying that this is really dangerous and, in fact, several people have fallen to their deaths on the trail, most recently a 13 year old girl in February of this year. The hike is an exceedingly risky proposition on a good day, much less given the current situation.

The problem is Angel’s Landing has become extremely popular on social media resulting in thousands of people trying to complete it every year. And a great number of those people are not experienced hikers but rather tourists who have six hours to “do Zion” and want a picture of themselves at the top of Angel’s Landing just like they’d want a picture of themselves at the top of the Eiffel Tower. The difference is, there are crowd control and safety measures at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Here? Not so much.

Here’s a photo of the trail last summer:

Photo Source: St. George News

See the problem?

We certainly don’t hold ourselves out to be some sort of hiking pros, but we give serious consideration to every hike we take on and make sure we are adequately prepared. The danger with a hike like Angel’s Landing is that it’s not just you you have to worry about. It’s everyone else. And, as you can see, these days, that means you have to worry about a LOT of other people.

Since we began traveling, we’ve seen people hiking without any water, we’ve seen people hiking in flip flops, and we’ve seen many, (MANY) people who’ve been more concerned with getting an impressive selfie than paying attention to their footing or to the people around them. And these are the same people who will run to hike Angel’s Landing because they saw a picture of it on social media and want one for themselves.

I expect NPS will eventually limit the number of hikers on this trail by turning it into a permit system – I’m actually surprised they haven’t done it yet – but until they do, we’ll be taking a hard pass.

All that said, the views from the top of the canyon are outstanding and we wanted to experience them; we just didn’t want to end up the victim of stupid. So, we chose to take on a rather awesome – but very demanding – alternative.

Observation Point

I had read about the hike to Observation Point on a couple blogs. All described an extremely strenuous but, ultimately, very rewarding hike. Because it’s difficult and because it doesn’t have the name recognition that Angel’s Landing has, it weeds out some of the yahoos. The trade off is it’s extremely tough – 2100 feet of elevation change in less than 4 miles. So, the equivalent of walking up about 175 flights of stairs….

The hike starts with a set of steep switchbacks, levels off for a bit, then goes up another set of switchbacks before leveling off once more.

Switchbacks on the hike to Observation Point at Zion National Park

This was taken from the first set of switchbacks… you can see how far up we had hiked, but we had a long way to go….

Views from the trail to Observation Point at Zion National Park

This was at about the 75% mark, I think….

Views from the trail to Observation Point at Zion National Park The higher we climbed, the more exposed the trail became. It was cold (which was helpful) and windy (which was not), and the trail just continued to go up. Every time we thought we were done with the switchbacks, we’d turn the corner and find another one.

The trail to Observation Point at Zion National Park
The trail is built into the side of the mountain, so to our left is hundreds of feet straight down…. making the crumbling surface of the trail an incredibly comforting feature.

But, when you finally do reach the summit, you get to see this neat plaque left by the U.S. Geological Survey:

U.S. Geological Survey marker at the top of Observation PointAnd, more importantly, you get to take in this mind boggling view: View from the top of Observation Point at Zion National Park

(By the way, the wall jutting out from the right hand side of the canyon in the center of the picture is Angel’s Landing. People who complete Observation Point like to point out that it’s much higher than Angel’s Landing and actually looks down on it. So there.)

Speaking of yahoos and selfies, as we were all standing at the top, huffing and puffing, red faced, sucking down water, and pulling our sweaty shirts away from our backs, along prances in “Instagram Alice” and her boyfriend “Photographer Pete.” Alice bounded through the exhausted hikers at the top of the mountain and plunked herself down on the cliff’s edge where she immediately struck her most perfect “staring out into the distance contemplating the meaning of life” pose while the rest of us rolled our eyes in unison.

There’s a back way you can get to Observation Point that doesn’t require all the hard work and well, from the looks of it, they took the back way.

Notice the girl in front of me wearing the baseball cap staring at Alice. You can feel the contempt burning a hole in poor Alice’s back. I mean, Alice had to work hard too. Probably had to blow dry AND flat iron her hair to make it look that shiny, and that super sexy fitted top didn’t just pick itself! Not to mention it’s HARD WORK to fake thinking deep thoughts while sitting on a very lumpy rock while Pete takes FOREVER to snap the photo.

Meanwhile, our rage-filled hiker’s boyfriend is keeping an eye on her to make sure she doesn’t suddenly lunge forward and shove Alice right off the cliff.

Anyway, once Alice got the hell out of the way, the rest of us happily took each other’s photos, ate lunch, and started the long trek back to the canyon floor.

“Move it, Alice. We actually earned this photo.”
You can see that little U.S. Geological Survey marker on the ground behind Kevin… Additional evidence of my theory that NPS likes to mess with tourists… “Yeah, let’s put the marker here, right on the very edge of this cliff of doom so our guests will feel the need to walk right up to the edge to see what it says. Safety first!!”

Other Trails

We completed a number of other hikes while we were in the park. We particularly liked the Pa’rus trail which is really just an easy walking path through a pretty portion of the park. We found the trail was almost always deserted around dinnertime, so on days we weren’t taking on other major hikes, we’d head into the park and enjoy the beautiful surroundings in relative solitude.

The Par'us Trail at Zion National Park

We also checked out the Lower, Middle, and Upper Emerald Pools Trails, but try as we might to avoid visiting during popular times, we still found ourselves surrounded by tons of people. While the views are certainly pretty, given our other experiences at Zion, these trails fell to the bottom of the list.

The Upper Pools at Zion National Park
This is the end of the “Upper Emerald Pools Trail.” Somewhere behind all those people there’s a pond or something. Meh….
Communing with nature…and lots of other people….

Scenic Drive

While regular traffic is prohibited in the canyon (only shuttles can drive through), there’s a scenic drive that meanders through a different portion of the park before leading drivers toward Bryce Canyon National Park. The road is full of hairpin turns, dramatic scenery, and a mile long tunnel through a mountain.

Scenic Drive at Zion National Park

As you drive, you can’t help but notice all the different types of rock formations, their sizes, colors and textures.

Scenic Drive at Zion National Park

It’s most definitely worth taking the drive when you have some time to kill and want to check out another section of Zion.

Springdale and Friends

The town of Springdale sits right outside the gates of the National Park. It’s a nice little community with restaurants, hotels, and shops. We noticed that all the buildings fit a certain style and color pattern that coordinate nicely with one another. (Apologies for the dark pictures. I took them when we were walking around one evening after it rained.)

While in town we caught up with my college roommate and very, very dear friend, Melissa, who’d brought her mom out to Utah to see some of the big national parks. We had a lovely dinner at Bit & Spur, which we highly recommend. We also had dinner at Oscar’s Cafe one night with fellow RVers Jon and Cathy. (For some reason, I didn’t get a picture of either of these events. I know, I know – first I miss a dog on a skateboard and now this. I’m a mess.) Anyway, Jon and Cathy are also from D.C., bought a motorhome from the same dealer we used, and started traveling around the same time as us (their blog: here), so we’ve hung out several times. Jon enjoys giving me a hard time about the status of my blog (because it’s weeks behind) but no matter how many times I explain that Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can’t rush greatness, he just keep giving me crap.  So, anyway, if you’re sick of getting these 3,000 word posts every week, blame Jon. The guy’s a real nag. (Hi Jon!!) 🙂

Speaking of getting caught up, I’m still not even close. But next week, there will be PUPPIES!!!!!


Where we stayed: Zion Canyon Campground, Springdale, Utah


  1. Wow!!!! What incredible pictures! Those views are insane. It really makes you realize how insignificant people are and how awe-inspiring nature is. Kudos on those hiking trails, those are no joke and the one for Angel’s Landing gave me hives – you know how I feel about heights….. really not cool for me – but the pics are beautiful! Enjoy and continue to be safe. Hi, Melissa!!!!

    • Yeah, “small and insignificant” is exactly what one feels as they explore this park. Just conceptualizing how long it has taken for these formations to come about, and knowing that these processes are still happening, is mind boggling. We have seen a lot of incredible scenery out here, but, so far, Zion is my favorite. It had a little bit of everything – colorful rock, beautiful greenery, waterfalls and rivers… Just fantastic. And yeah, you would hate everything about Angel’s Landing. I generally don’t have an issue with heights, but given the circumstances on that trail, no way.

  2. I can’t see Zion doing anything but making it necessary to have a reservation. We visited before Utah decided they needed to advertise the Big Five (why I will never know). We spent the month of March at a park outside Zion. We hiked 28 of the 30 days. At that time there was no shuttle until April. We did the Emerald Pools hike and had it all to ourselves. I don’t believe this will ever happen again. Hidden Canyon (off the Observation Point Trail) is one of my favorites. The east side of the park is our favorite area with so many unknown trails and no people. I am so glad to hear you say you didn’t hike Angel’s Landing! You feel exactly as we do. And…prior to this years death, the previous five deaths were women over fifty who lost their balance. There is no way I am going to try to pass someone while on a narrow ledge and holding a chain! If you continue past Angel’s Landing and continue on up the West Rim Trail, you can look down and over to the actual Angel’s Landing Trail and see how narrow it is and how many people are there together with their flip flops!!! How cool you got to do the Narrows. It never opened during our visit. Glad you enjoyed your visit:)

    • Hidden Canyon was the one trail on our radar that we never got to and one that I would absolutely like to do when we get back there. And whenever we return, I would want to check out some of the non-canyon areas of the park. I’m sure they are fantastic and I can see how you were able to stay busy for 30 days. We had more than enough to keep up busy for 10 in the tiny area of the park we explored. There’s a lot more to see and experience. As for the flip-flop brigade, it is truly frightening how many people get in way over their heads in these parks. We were chatting with a woman who lives near Zion whose son volunteers with the NPS over the summer and she was sharing some of his stories about unprepared hikers who not only didn’t know what they were getting themselves into, but would actively disregard the good advice they received from NPS staff while there. It’s a wonder more of these people don’t end up seriously injured or worse.

  3. Great post, Laura. Your photos are beautiful, and your take on the park is exactly the same as ours. We’ve visited Zion three times, but the last time was at least 10 years ago before Utah started their “See the Mighty Five” (AKA “Let’s See How Many Yahoos We Can Attract and Ruin Our Parks” campaign. We’ve been reluctant to return ever since. But we have considered a visit in April, because we’d like to hike those trails again (the same ones you did, although we’ve not yet hiked the Narrows, and it’s on our list). I did Angel’s Landing way back in the 90’s, but I would never, ever do it now.
    So glad you had such a fabulous visit! You did Zion justice. :-))

    • That Mighty Five campaign has definitely not helped but I think it’s also the rise of social media. People see pictures of these incredible places that are right in their backyard, an easy flight away, and realize they too can go experience these wonders. It used to be you’d have to see this stuff in a travel magazine or travel guide, but now everyone gets it on their phones all day every day. It applies to us too. Half the places we visit these days are because we saw pictures on a blog or social media. And it’s a double edged sword. On the one hand, when people actually see and experience these wonderful places they are more likely to support their continued protection which, lord knows, we need right now. On the other hand, too many visitors can lead to a lot of damage and a less desirable experience for everyone. I’m not sure what the answer is, but something has to give, and soon.

      As for visiting Zion, I do think there’s a sweet spot at the end of April like when we went, and one of the employees at a restaurant there said that early November, right before Thanksgiving, is another excellent time to visit. He said the weather is usually still pretty nice and the summer hordes have left.

  4. Great post Laura. Don’t tell your friend, you know, the one pestering you to “keep up”, but the reason he can keep his posts more up to date is he doesn’t bother to use as many words as you do……All pictures for that guy. I love your blogs, whenever they arrive. You make me laugh and that’s a good thing.

    We’ve avoided Zion these past 30 years because neither of us enjoy discovering the beauty in nature with hundreds of others. I would have absolutely shoved little Alice and her cameraman right over the edge. No, I’m not usually this aggressive, but the sight of all those people riles me.

    Beautiful pictures and great narration. I almost felt like I was there with you.

    • Haha… You and Jon pretty much said the exact same thing about the difference between our blogs. He’s just giving me a hard time because he enjoys my posts and I went several weeks without posting any (when we were busy screwing off in San Diego.) I’m glad people like these articles and I consider his pestering a nice compliment! And I really do need to stay on top of them because otherwise, it gets overwhelming and I end up forgetting lots of stuff. But I’m getting there!

      As for our Instagram friends, given the other comments, it sounds like there are plenty of people who get annoyed with it. I certainly post plenty of pictures to FB and Instagram and enjoy scrolling through the photos of others as it gives us fantastic ideas about where to go and what to see, but it’s one thing to share reality; it’s another to manufacture fiction and try to sell it. People aren’t stupid…

  5. You could always do what I do and just throw up a bunch of pictures while being brief, who needs 3000 words anyway…but I must say they are enjoying to read and I look forward to your posts. I also note people also leave long comments on your blog, you must be surrounded by Long Talkers….

    • Honestly, if I didn’t write all this stuff down, I wouldn’t remember what we did. As it is, I’ll look at photos on my phone from three weeks ago and think “Where the hell were we that day??” My memory is a sad, sad, dysfunctional pile of neurons. Plus, I like this writing stuff. It’s a fun hobby for me and gives me a continuous project to work on as we travel. I feel like fewer and fewer people are writing consistent blogs these days, so I think those of us writing longer form articles tend to connect with one another and since we all know how long it takes to write these things, and how nice it is to engage with people over them, we leave substantive comments on one another’s sites. Hence, the consistent lengthy comments. But I don’t think there’s any right way to do any of this. Some people just throw pictures up on social media, some people create videos for youtube, some people write short blogs every couple days, some people write long articles once a week or once a month, some people never do any of it. It’s whatever makes you happy, really….

      • So true, it really is about what makes you happy, and we are pretty happy with the exception of the dead beat renter…

  6. Great photos, of course, but also great points about the problems of crowds. We are excited to get to Utah next year, but we’re willing to go very early in the season and put up with cold weather just in the hope of having fewer people on the trails. One of the best things about our trip through less-popular areas of the country and during off-season has been almost complete solitude on the trails. We have encountered 0 other hikers on 90% of the trails we’ve traveled, which has been awesome. I think the most trafficked trail we’ve experienced was one of the easier hikes in the Smokies on a sunny weekend day, and we probably saw about 20-30 people over 10-ish miles. I really don’t think we could handle the crowds of high season. As you said, it’s great that people are getting out and enjoying the natural beauty of the country, but why bother if it feels as crowded as a NYC subway car?

    • I agree completely and we have consistently tried figuring out how to avoid the masses. Whether it be scheduling our trips in the “offseason” or visiting the parks at off hours, we’ve done pretty well avoiding the crowds. Another piece of advice I read somewhere that has turned out to be true is that you should focus on the lands right outside the big national parks. Oftentimes, the national parks are surrounded by national forests or state parks that feature similar landscapes without all the crowds. We had great luck doing just that when we got tired of the crowds at Bryce and, here in Page, we’ve been finding all kinds of awesome landscapes and hiking just outside the biggest tourist areas.

  7. I’m really surprised the Narrows was open to hiking in April. You captured some beautiful images. Were you concerned taking your good camera on that hike? My daughter and I still talk about our Observation Point hike. Love your take on ‘Alice and Peter’ … spot on! And yeah, we didn’t even consider Angel’s Landing. There was another fatality just a couple of weeks before our arrival – sad.

    • For the Narrows hike, I just used my cell phone camera, but I had it in a waterproof pouch. I had to take it out of the pouch every time I wanted to take a picture, so I generally waited until we were in an area with dry rocks that I could stand on. I was too worried about dropping it in the water to take it out when we were actually walking in the river. That’s why I don’t have any pictures showing the deeper areas. While I would have loved to capture more, I couldn’t risk destroying my phone. Similarly, I would have loved to bring the DSLR, but, in addition to worrying about dropping it in the water, given how dark the canyon was, I would likely have needed a tripod and it would have just been too much to deal with on that trek. So I just used my phone and, overall, I was pretty happy with what I got from it.

      And your blog was one of the ones where I read about Observation Point. It definitely inspired us to take it on and it was an absolute highlight of our time there, so thank you!!

  8. Wow–beautiful photos. I hate Alice. Alice seems to be everywhere annoying the crap out of people. I can’t wait to get to Zion at some point (preferably off season).

    • Yeah, Alice…. what a jerk. She really does seem to be everywhere. Hopefully she’ll get the message soon that no one’s buying what she’s selling and stop being full of it. We can hope anyway….. And yes, Zion should be at the top of your National Parks bucket list. It’s an incredible spot.

  9. Wow, the hike to Observation Point looks amazing! Angel’s Landing looks like a shit show, and a good thing to skip given the crowds. Crowds do ruin things.

    Very funny take on one of my biggest pet peeves – National Park Glamour Shots! I understand the impulse, we all take pictures in the parks, but the glamour shots photo shoots take forever and are not very courteous to others. They also seem to miss the point of being out in nature. And the Instagram posts that they are trying so hard for, are the same ones that attract the boards that ruin things! I’m usually the girl in the hat shooting daggers out of my eyes, and my husband talks me down.

    The first year of travel, I posted blog entries on the day we left a place, that’s how up to date I was! Currently I think I’m about a month behind. It stresses me out!

    • I can honestly say I had no idea how often I would be rolling my eyes in national parks, but these folks really know how to bring it out, ya know? The funny thing is, it’s all so unnecessary, Observation Point is a stunning landscape. Just post a picture of that and people will love it. If you’re trying to make Peoria look interesting, by all means, add the sexy model. But Zion is pretty good all on its own, ya know?

      But – what the hell do I know? Alice and her boyfriend are probably laughing all the way to the bank.

      Ah well…

  10. Alice and her photographer boyfriends sure are getting around a lot these days. I’ve spotted them on a number of trails lately. More often than not she is perfecting some quasi-sexy yoga pose while Pete takes a photo from every angle and the rest of us watch with a mixture of anger and second-hand embarrassment. The rise of social media has some strange consequences.

    • Indeed it does… One minute, it is so incredibly helpful and beneficial and another, it is so unbelievably annoying. Maybe when we see these yoga girls we can offer them advice on their form? Tell them they’re doing the pose all wrong? I mean, if they’re gonna insist on doing yoga in front of an audience of strangers, I feel like they are kind of inviting our commentary, no?? 🙂

  11. AMAZING pics…..sorry, just cat help myself!! Have wanted to hike the Narrows forever and will pass on Angel’s Landing. Gosh, there are so many hikes on my list….feel like I need to get going before I’m too old to!!

    • We are endlessly blown away by how many awesome hikes there are in these places. For every one we’ve heard of, there are ten that are just as interesting, challenging, and beautiful, and like I was saying in another comment above, there are often lots of fantastic hikes in the state parks and national forests just outside the national parks. It’s been nice to find options outside the crowded parks when necessary.

  12. Thanks for another great post Laura! Awesome photos…especially the Narrows. Zion is still on our list and I sure like the idea of early November. We will see! Your take on Instagram Alice is hilarious and so true. The “special” people is what Joe and I always say are so annoying or all of us!

    • Ha! “Special,” indeed. Zion was wonderful and the Narrows are a true one-of-a-kind experience that we have not seen or heard of anywhere else, so we’d highly recommend it. I would assume early November would be a good time as far as water levels go, but I’m not 100% sure. Either way, whenever you can get there, you should! It’s a spectacular place!

  13. We’re heading west next year and I think I will just follow your itinerary! It has all been amazing so far! I DID have Angel’s Landing on my list, but you have convinced me to take it off. You may have saved my life. Thank you.

    • Yeah, I just think given the situation there, and given the available alternatives, it’s a no-brainer to skip it. We had at one time planned on doing a loop of all the big national parks in Utah at once, but it gets damned hot here pretty quick, so we are saving the other three for a future trip. We have liked this itinerary though because we get to experience changing environments pretty consistently. This whole area is stunning!

  14. Awesome pictures Laura and lucky you getting to spend ten days there! We were fortunate to spend three day in Zion a few years ago and got in some good hiking with very few people around. Can’t wait to hear about the puppies 🙂

    • We were definitely the outliers at our campground. I think we had 6 different next door neighbors over the course of our 10 days. Most people only hang around for a day or two before moving on (the RV park was very expensive as well which didn’t help, but we figured if we were gonna visit, we wanted to stay as long as possible to see as much as possible.) Puppies are coming up!!

  15. What an amazing place. It is on our ‘some day’ list. But definitely in the shoulder season! You know those little cards they give out to identify animal prints? I’ve been working on one to identify hikers. One print is sandals (think Keens) – captioned ‘novice’, one is sneakers – captioned ‘cheapster’, another is a hiking boot – captioned ‘experienced’ and the one of a flip flop is captioned ‘idiot’ What do you think? Like you (and lots of others I know) I am about 3 weeks behind. Finally being in Alaska, it’s hard no to jump ahead, but if I do, you’ll never get to read about hunting for a cold beer (coming up next). Love your post, they always make me laugh and have to add a place to my ever growing list!

    • I LOVE the identification system… I mean, really… who goes on a hike in flip flops? Just the other day, we saw girls in heeled boots walking on a sandy trail on their way to Horseshoe Bend. What the hell??? I am so incredibly jealous that you are in Alaska… first because it’s Alaska, and second, because it’s becoming brain meltingly hot in the desert southwest and I imagine it must be wonderful up there right now. I look forward to reading all about it (after your beer hunting story…).

  16. Zion was one of our favorite trips ever waaaaay back in 2009. The whole family, besides my FIL and me, did Angels Landing (he and I waited for them at Scout’s Lookout.) It wasn’t as insanely crowded then, but falling to my death wasn’t high on my to-do list. I also thought the Observation Point hike was far better, and it allows you to spit in the general direction of Angels Landing if not directly on the Alices of the world!

    • Right? The combination of “not dying” AND being able to look down on the crazy people on Angel’s Landing really IS quite the winner, ya know? We don’t feel like we missed out at all, at least given the circumstances as they are now. If they ever do turn it into a permitted hike, we might consider it, but for the time being, Observation Point was more than enough for us.

  17. Your photos are bring lots of great adventures and even our two week stay there was never enough, lots to do. And I am glad you did the Narrows, that’s the one we could do as it was closed during our visit. It is a WOW and very enticing enough for a return visit. We did not complete the last half mile of Angel’s Landing, for there were so many crazy hikers out there.
    And yes there are other non-crowded areas nearby Zion that are also worth a visit and worth a chunk of your memory card 🙂

    • Yeah, we really lucked out with the Narrows. I’m not sure if the snow was just slow in melting this year, or if there just wasn’t any snow to melt, but whatever it was, we were very surprised to see the hike open. We will most definitely want to return again in the future. There is the whole area around Kolob Canyons that we did not explore and which supposedly has some pretty nice hikes as well. Plus, we missed out on Hidden Canyon… which, I still cannot believe you hiked on the same day as Observation Point. You guys are making us look really weak!

  18. Looks like a wonderful time at Zion, spent a little time there once a long tine ago.. With the crowding in the National Parks not sure if we’ll ever do any of the big ones again. I don’t like hikes like Angels Landing to begin with, won’t catch me out there with that many crazy tourist.

    • I can certainly see the decision to not go back to the big parks again if you’ve been to them before. I am envious of anyone who was able to see these places before they all became overrun with visitors. These are all new to us, so we’re willing to deal with some of the craziness just so we can see them, but, as often as possible, we are trying to go in the off-season or at off hours to avoid at least some of the masses. I expect several of our upcoming visits are going to be pretty frustrating.

  19. I was recently talking with a woman whose daughter just graduated from college. When I casually asked what the daughter’s plans were and if she had a job the woman said her daughter was focusing on being an “Instagram Influencer”. I feigned ignorance and said, what exactly does that mean? This woman said, “Kelsey believes that she has what it takes to get companies to pay her money to promote their products in her photos”. I actually laughed in her face and said, “That’s not a job”.

    Coming soon to a National Park near you, Kelsey with her tube of Chapstick.

    • Hahaha! Yup, sounds about right. I mean, who knows? Maybe we’re just doing it all wrong and missing out on a golden opportunity, but I’ve never been able to master the whole “gazing out into the distance…” look. Maybe it’s because I’m too busy rolling my eyes. 🙂


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here