National Park · Road Trip · Trek · USA

Gorgeous Gorge: Zion National Park

The third day of our road trip, we reached Zion National Park. Zion is probably one of the smallest National Parks in terms of area nonetheless it is one of the best when it comes to picturesque landscape, hikes and viewpoints. It is home to one of the most unique hikes, “The Narrows” where you walk in a river and one of the most dangerous ones, “Angel’s Landing” wherein you hike on a narrow rock fin with dizzying drop-offs on both sides. We had limited time so needed to pick one. Initially, we were confused about which one to choose from them and then decided to hike the Narrows as hiking in waters was going to be a new life experience altogether for all of us.

Water in the Narrows gets really cold in winter so we rented a wet suit, boots, stick and a waterproof bag (to keep our refreshments) from the nearby Zion Adventure Company. Narrows starts with a riverside walk trail for around one mile which leads to the point from where you have to walk in the river. Water was quite cold but soon we acclimatised to it and wetsuits made sure that our body was dry. For the first one or two miles, there were a lot of places where we walked in and out of the river. There isn’t a specific route or side to stay on, but usually, one side will be shallower than the other, and you will have to cross the river multiple times. Soon we reached Mystery falls, This impressive 110′ high waterfall marks the end of Mystery Canyon and is one of the most favourite picture spots. We got lucky to be there on a day when the weather and water flow forecast was favourable for a hike. There were places where the water was almost at chest level but our feet could always touch the ground. After two hours of the hike, we reached the famous Big Bend which is also the start of Wall Street. From there the Canyons become narrow and you have to walk in the river. Imagine yourself standing in a river between canyons formed from red mountains. The view was like no other landscape that I had ever seen before. From Wall Street, it really depends how far you want to go and explore. We walked for around half an hour more and then decided to head back as we had seen the major parts and the last shuttle would leave at 5:45 PM and we were drawing close to 3:30 PM. It does not take much time to come back to the starting point but you have to be cautious as you are walking along the flow of the river.

Being in the Narrows is an unmatched experience. It is a great feeling, no matter if you are hiking it in the winter or in the summer. It is challenging in a unique way and thrills your inner explorer. It’s a must-visit if you love hiking.

We were so tired from the hike but it was totally worth it. At the beginning of the trip, we had planned only one day for Zion, thinking a day would be enough to cover Zion. Well, it turned out that even two days felt like they were not enough. After a strenuous hike on our first day, we decided to go easy on the following day.

It started snowing lightly the next day and it made the Zion landscape even more beautiful. Red mountains with lush green trees and fog travelling all over the place made the landscape surreal. We started our day with a short and easy hike to the Canyon Overlook Point.  It is just a one-mile hiking trail and leads to a dramatic observation point that provides an impressive view of Zion’s landscape. The view from the edge of the cliff is spectacular and so is the panorama you get from this vantage point. You can view ‘The West Temple”, “Alter of Sacrifice”, and “The Sentinel” from here. Even the famous Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is visible from here. The trail to Canyon Overlook offers plenty of places where you can take amazing photos. This is the place you can just sit, spend some time and soak in the natural beauty of Zion.

View from Canyon Overlook

After the Canyon Overlook, we decided to head towards Big Bend which gives amazing views of the Virgin River, Angels Landing, and The Great White Throne. There is not a lot to do at Big Bend but the view is worth a visit. After Big Bend, we boarded the shuttle towards Weeping Rock. Weeping rock is another 0.6-mile loop which is quite easy. The water seeps down through the sandstone and falls like rain over an overlook, giving the appearance of a weeping rock and hence the name.

Finally, we stopped at the Court of the Patriarchs, which is a viewpoint overlooking the three mountaintops named after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Though you can see them the road as well when passing by, this just takes 10 mins for a closer and proper look and is totally worth it. This is also a great place to take a lot of photographs.

Court of the Patriarchs
Court of the Patriarchs

Zion is hands down, now one of my favourite national parks. It’s so majestic and is filled with all different kinds of activities. Do “The Narrows” or “Angels Landing” if you love hiking, do drive along the Scenic Route, or just visit a lot of the viewpoints if you are not in a mood to hike.

Read more about my visit to other National Park:

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