Last July, my husband and I took a trip to Utah! I had won a ticket to a styled shoot just south of Salt Lake City, Utah, and we decided to make a summer vacation out of it! After a quick online search, I realized we could fly into Southern Utah and drive through five National Parks. All before going to my styled shoot and flying home! That became our plan and prepared to travel to Utah.
We started our trip with a delayed flight and landing after dark. Our first goal was to grab the rental car and our bags. Then we needed to go to the store and get groceries for breakfast and lunch. With the flight delay, we had to speed shop with less than a half hour to get what we needed for the week. After we left that area, we knew there were only small grocery stores along our route! Thankfully, we got what we needed, drove to Springdale, Utah, and checked into our hotel.
Zion National Park is known for two main hiking trails. The first is the Narrows, which takes you through a shallow river in a deep slot canyon. The second, is Angel’s Landing. If you have never heard of Angel’s Landing, it is hike that ends with steep drop offs on both sides of the trail and metal posts and chains for hikers to hold on to. I hate drop offs and even looking at pictures online of that part of the trail, it was making me nervous! However, we found out that there is a turn around spot on the trail called Scout’s Lookout. It stops just before the Angel’s Landing section, has similar breath-taking views, but without the awful drop offs!
Angel’s Landing is also a very slow hike because that section is so narrow that lines of hikers form and you have to wait for your turn. When we got up to Scout’s Lookout we could see all the hikers holding on to the chains and waiting their turn to go by. I am very thankful my husband was willing to skip that part and turn around at Scout’s Lookout to head back. We were able to sit and enjoy the views for awhile before heading back down the trail!
If you look closing on the right photo below, you can see the hikers going up the trail ahead and into Refrigerator Canyon. It was crazy to see the tiny dots and then make our way up to the very same spot!
Zion is amazing in the morning as the sun starts to fill the canyon with light!
Here was our view from the top of Scout’s Lookout! It was amazing!
In Utah’s summer heat, we knew we had to limit ourselves to only hiking in the morning and the evening. Since we planned to spend two days in Zion, we were able to go back to our hotel after our Scout’s Lookout hike. We ended up napping for awhile first since we only got five hours of sleep the night before, then we spent the afternoon in the outdoor swimming pool!
After supper, we decided to head back into Zion and watch the sunset. We thought about doing a short hike to get the best view, but did not want to risk missing the sunset while looking for parking! We decided to walk along the water and finding different spots to watch the light change. Then, we ended the night by sitting on a large rock until it was almost dark before heading back to our hotel.
Zion National Park – The Narrows
Day two in Zion we hiked The Narrows! When I was in the early stages of planning our trip, I was thinking we would do one park a day and only have time for one big Zion hike. After talking to some fellow wedding vendors while photographing a wedding, they convinced me to plan two days in Zion instead! I am so glad we did because The Narrows is the most unique hike we have ever done. We walked through waist deep water, over large rocks, and along canyon walls that are even taller than you could imagine.
The day before we picked up neoprene socks, hiking boots, and hiking sticks from a rental company in Springdale. Since we only had one pair of hiking shoes each, we wanted to keep them dry! We quickly realized thought that those rentals made our hike much more enjoyable. As other hikers were losing shoes and falling into the water, we had warm feet and kept our balance with the walking sticks.
The Narrows is a crazy hike. We spent around six hours walking and went a little over six miles. It’s slow going because you spend your time weaving through the river! The canyon walls narrow the further you walk too. It is such an amazing hike and experience! I only took a few photos though since we were in and around the water so often. I carried my camera with and only pulled it out a handful of times! The rest of the time I was trying to keep my balance and just soaking in the incredible views.
On our way out of Zion, we planned one more short hike to Canyon Overlook. This was our first early afternoon hike and quickly our last for awhile. It was close to 100 degrees with full sun. We were also surrounded by light colored rock, so the sun was reflecting off of everything. This was a very short hike, but exhausting because of the heat! After this, we much preferred driving in the air conditioned car in the afternoon and making only short stops to sight see.
Even though it was way too hot out to be safely hiking, at least we had this amazing view at the end! Zion National Park is beautiful from almost every angle! This was the last view we had of Zion before heading towards Bryce National Park. I am so glad we decided to spend two days in Zion. We got to experience both a high elevation hike, as well as a slot canyon hike. Both were very different and amazing experiences!
We had a busy beginning to our Utah trip and we had to plans to slow down! Next up is Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Park!
Ready to look back at some of our past trips?
Alecs Kay Photography is a Wedding & Portrait Photographer in Fargo, ND