Zion National Park is located about 45 minutes outside of St. George, Utah which makes it a little under 3 hours away from Las Vegas. This beautiful park is a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city. If you aren’t familiar with desert landscapes, the colors of the park are amazing! (If you ARE familiar with desert landscapes, you will still think it’s a lovely park, I promise.)
Zion has about 18 major trails for you to choose from. It’s easy to spend a few days in the park, however, I opted for a day trip. I was in the park itself for about 7 hours and I was able to do 5 trails! I knocked out: Weeping Rock Trail, Kayenta Trail, Upper and Lower Emerald Pools, and Watchman Trail. So here’s a quick rundown of the trails themselves…
Weeping Rock Trail
This is considered an “easy” hike, per the park map and it really is! It’s a super fast trail. About a whole whopping half mile round trip. Given, it is at an incline the whole way up, but it’s a fast hike regardless. The trail ends at a rock formation that is constantly dripping water… sometimes more…sometimes less. Overall, a nice way to ease into your active day but I don’t think this is a MUST SEE. I consider this more of a “if you have time to kill” hike. The view is nice from the alcove of Weeping Rock though and you can get some nice pictures if you are patient.
Kayenta Trail, Upper & Lower Emerald Pools
These 3 trails are all closely located to one another and is about 2.5 miles from beginning at one end and finishing at the other. It would be almost 5 miles if you did it round trip. Most of the hike is considered a “moderate” hike.
There are some uphill moments and a few loose rocks to maneuver around, but overall, if you are in decent shape, you should be able to handle it just fine. There were families with small children hiking the trail and towards the end, it’s paved nicely. The pools themselves were a little unimpressive. The best part of the trail were the views from the upper trail of the surrounding park and also going OFF trail in the middle pools and exploring the little rivers. This is a hike I would recommend if you wanted to have a lengthy and pleasant experience that didn’t require too much effort.
This hike was classified as a “moderate” trail as well but I would almost put it in the “strenuous” category. It’s about 3 miles from start to finish and is uphill the entire time until you reach the top. The trail is narrow and not paved at all. You will definitely get your workout in during this hike. At the end it has a nice view of the entry way to Zion. Not nearly as high of a view as some of the other hikes like Angel’s Landing or Observation point, but you still feel pretty accomplished at the end. My favorite part of this particular trail was that there weren’t many people on it a all. It gives you that “one with nature” vibe since there is really no one around you, especially at the top! You can really channel your thoughts into that moment which is what being in the outdoors is all about!
Next time hikes:
I didn’t get a chance to do it this time, but I have hiked Angel’s Landing before and loved it. I need to come back for this one and test my skills one more time! I also want to return in the warmer summer months and hike The Narrows. You have to actually get into the Virgin River and hike through the water. That sounds like a MUST DO adventure for me.
What no one told me:
Parking fills up in the park fast during busy days! If it fills up, you have to park in the small town and walk through the pedestrian entrance into the park. It is $12 per person to enter. If you are with a group of people be sure to tell the park attendant! It’s $25 for a car to enter and if you say you arrived in one car they usually only charge you the $25 fee. Another helpful note is that there is a shuttle that runs about every 15 minutes that can take you to most of the major trails. Great way to quickly get from one end of the park to the other without using your own gas :).