I hear you shout: “How can Zion be disappointing???”
Well, it can.
After seeing the amazing Arches National Park, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Grand Canyon, well, Zion National Park was just meh… If you love Zion, don’t let me sway you. For me it was disappointing, specially because everyone, and I mean everyone told me to not skip Zion National Park. They are all wrong! I dare you to go and see Canyonlands, Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Grand Canyon North Rim and after all that tell me that Zion is still worth seeing…
You probably say: “You didn’t go to the right spots in Zion, that’s why you didn’t like it.” And you are probably right. But it is impossible to go anywhere in Zion. The drive on Utah Highway 9 through Zion is a really pretty drive. It’s definitely been on the top 5 list of scenic routes on this trip. And you should definitely drive through if this is your route. But don’t try and stay.
You can visit this from the highway:
There is a rather small parking lot at the visitor center where you will have to park your car as only shuttles are allowed (at least in the summer). It is however nearly impossible to find a parking spot. We circle about 8 times and are about to give up when a spot opens in front of us.
We decide (with hundreds other people) that we would take the short hike to Emerald Pools. It’s a pretty hike, but oh so many people…
It’s summer and 97F, so the waterfalls are fairly small, but there is water and we can even walk behind the falls.
Once we pass through the waterfall we stop for a picnic with a marvelous view of the Lower Emerald Fall. We have become pretty good at finding picnic spot with amazing views.
Because of the crowds we decide to take the road less traveled and continue the hiking path towards The Grotto. This path is about 0.2 miles longer than taking the same route back, I am surprised how few people are walking this path. But then I am not surprised. I noticed how many people prefer taking the road well paved… Maybe they don’t want to be alone with their thoughts?
Well, all these people miss out on these incredible views:
And on prickly pears in bloom (I wish I knew how to make fresh prickly pear margaritas, but that’s totally besides the point…):
We never find The Grotto, but the shuttle is there when we get to the shuttle stop. We make one last stop at the Court of the Patriarchs, a majestic rock formation:
We finally leave Zion National Park – not after taking a long time to locate the car… And the irony has it that we have no trouble whatsoever finding the car at night in Las Vegas – which is our night stop today.
Good night, y’all.
Road Trip 2015