Length of stay: 3 days
Visited: January 2023
Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah and features dramatic sandstone cliffs, high plateaus, narrow canyons, waterfalls and a desert landscape. The park contains two regions, each with their own Visitor Center, scenic drive and series of hiking trails and viewpoints. There’s the famous Zion Canyon, located along the Virgin River, and the less-visited Kolob Canyons, located in the northwest corner of the park. Zion is open year round and provides a series of adventurous hiking trails and overlooks through the dramatic landscape and different habitats in the park.
Day 1: Water and Snow in the Desert
We Canadians can deal with the cold, but the heat not so much. So what better time to explore the desert than in the middle of winter with lower temperatures and fewer crowds. So we packed our bags and flew into Las Vegas to take a road trip through southern Utah to explore the “Mighty Five” national parks, along with a few other nearby national and state parks, starting with Zion.
We flew into Las Vegas the day before. Despite landing in the early afternoon, we didn’t get to Springdale, the closest town to Zion Canyon until later in the evening. It was a three hour drive to get there and we lost an hour due to the time change. We also had some struggles to find our suitcase at the airport (it was randomly located by the oversized luggage area) and had some issues with our rental car. We waited in line for about an hour to pick up our rental car, only to discover that we were at the wrong location. But a cab ride later, we finally had our car and were ready to hit the road.
After eating an early breakfast, we were eager to start exploring Zion. We arrived at the park just before 8a.m and were waved through the gate. Typically the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is only open to shuttle buses. But one of the benefits of visiting in the low season is that we were able to drive to the trailheads since the shuttle buses weren’t in service.
We drove to the Zion Lodge where there is a large parking lot with access to a few trails in the area. After crossing the bridge across the river, we turned right to hike to the Emerald Pools, a series of trails that leads to three sets of pools and two waterfalls depending on the time of the year.
We started with the Lower Emerald Pool (1.9km round trip, rated easy). The path is paved and leads to a waterfall that falls over a ledge into a clear pool. The trail continues behind the waterfall where it was a bit wet and muddy, but no big deal.
The path then leads onwards and upwards to the Middle Emerald Pool (3.5km round trip from the trailhead, rated moderate). After climbing the first set of steps there’s a short detour to a viewpoint that overlooks the waterfall and the Lower Emerald Pool. After this point the trail gets a bit tougher as it’s mostly uphill and is no longer paved, but the trail is in good condition and there are a series of steps. The path leads to a sandstone ledge with a small pool.
After crossing the ledge, we headed towards the Upper Emerald Pool (1.6km round trip from the trailhead, rated moderate), which features another waterfall that cascades over the cliff into the pool below. It was a bit chilly outside, which created some frostiness near the base of the falls.
We turned around and hiked back the way we came. After passing the Middle Emerald Pool, we took the Kayenta Trail (1.6km one-way) to the Grotto parking area for a change of scenery and because the main trail was becoming busy. The sun was starting to come up over the mountains which casted a golden glow over the valley. Thankfully the ground was still frozen otherwise it looked like this trail would turn into a muddy mess later in the morning. The views of the valley were sublime and there were a lot of cacti along the trail.
Once we crossed the bridge over the river, we followed the Grotto Trail (0.8km one-way, rated easy) to get back to where we parked across from Zion’s Lodge. The path is flat and provided a different perspective of the majestic mountains from down in the valley.
We then drove to the trailhead for the Weeping Rock Trail (0.6km round trip, rated easy). There’s a short trail that leads to a viewing ledge in a rock alcove with dripping springs that create a small oasis of lush vegetation grown in vertical zones.
The next stop for us was at the end of the scenic drive to hike the Riverside Walk (3.5km round trip, rated easy). The path is paved and follows the Virgin River through the Zion Canyon. The end of the trail marks the start of The Narrows, a hike deeper in the canyon. But to hike this trail involves hiking through the river, something we were not prepared to do in the middle of winter.
At this point the park was starting to get busy and we needed to take a break, so we decided to drive to the Kolob Canyons region on the other side of the park, located about an hour from Zion Canyon. This section of the park contains a series of deep, narrow finger canyons at the edge of the Colorado Plateau. There is a five mile scenic drive along the Kolob Canyons Road which provides access to three trails and a few overlooks of the red rock landscape. It’s located at a higher elevation and even had a decent amount of snow on the ground.
The trailhead for the Timber Creek Overlook Trail (1.6km round trip) is located at the end of the scenic drive. The trail was covered in snow, which was starting to melt in the afternoon sun, creating some slushy conditions. It leads to an overlook that provides stunning views of Timber Creek, Kolob Terrace and the Pine Valley Mountains.
As we were driving back to our accommodations in Springdale, we passed a sign that indicated that it would be a two hour wait to get into Zion. We definitely made the right decision to ditch the crowds and explore Kolb Canyons for the afternoon.
Day 2: Angels Landing
Today we planned to hike Angels Landing, the most famous trail in the park. Due to overcrowding in recent years, hikers are now required to have a permit. Permits are available by two lottery processes, the seasonal lottery that occurs every quarter or the day-before lottery. We snagged permits through the day-before lottery and downloaded them to our phone.
I don’t like crowds and I was a bit nervous given Angels Landing is considered a strenuous trail with steep sections, slick rocks and narrow ledges. So we woke up extra early and got to the trailhead located in the Grotto parking lot at 8a.m. There were already a few cars in the parking lot. We packed a daypack with water, a snack and our microspikes as we weren’t sure what the conditions would be like at higher elevations, and off we went.
From the parking lot, we crossed the bridge and turned right at the junction towards Scout Lookout via the West Rim Trail (6.2km round trip, rated strenuous). Even without a permit for Angels Landing, hikers can still hike this portion of the trail, which is definitely worth it for the views. The trail first follows the river. It’s a gradual incline and the path is in good condition. It’s wide and mostly paved. The switchbacks then become shorter and steeper. We were thankful for the cooler temperatures and that we were hiking in the shade from the towering sandstone cliffs.
The path then levels out through a narrow canyon. There were a couple of signs to indicate that this was a quiet zone so as not to disturb the Mexican Spotted Owls that live in the area. It was good to catch our breath as the next part through Walter’s Wiggle is the worst part yet with a series of super steep switchbacks. There were some icy patches on the paved path, but they were easy to negotiate around.
After reaching the top of Walter’s Wiggle, the path levels out and leads through a clearing. The West Rim Trail continues to the left and Angels Landing to the right. Despite getting an early start, there was already a ranger at the junction who checked our permit and photo ID. While I downloaded our permit, I did not bring my photo ID, but thankfully my proof of COVID vaccination which I also had downloaded to my phone, worked.
The next portion of the path, known as Angels Landing (1.8km round trip, rated strenuous) is one part scary, one part spectacular and all parts fun. It’s a narrow route with cliff exposures and there’s a series of metal chains drilled into the rocks as a safety measure. The chains are useful to help navigate across, over, up and down the rocky terrain with steep drop offs, sometimes on both sides of the cliff.
The first few sections of the chains are relatively flat and you just have to shimmy across a series of ledges. The rocks were a bit slick and slippery from being so smooth and sandy. We made the right choice to wear our hiking boots which gave us a pretty good grip on the rocks. The path leads to the first plateau which gave us a glimpse of the great views down into the valley and of the path to come. What we did was just a warm-up as the real challenge lay ahead. The path steeply drops down the spine of the ridge only to head back up.
There was one guy in front of us who turned around at the first plateau. We were feeling pretty good and continued onwards. There were some icy patches along the trail, which progressively got worse to the point where we had to strap our microspikes on. These made the world of a difference and actually made things easier as we had better grip on the ice than the smooth rocks.
We took our time climbing up the spine of the outcrop. Thankfully it was not very busy. There were only two groups of hikers that passed us on our way up and we were able to safely navigate around them. A few sections of the trail were terrifying though, but we took it one step at a time and trusted the metal chains and our holding. The trail ends at a long narrow plateau and provides a panoramic view into the Zion Canyon. And we were the only ones up at the top.
Now to get back down. I found it was easier to walk down the icy steps and steep sections backwards. I had better grip with my microspikes and I felt more in control with the metal chain in case I slipped. It was also way easier on the knees. We took our microspikes off as the icy patches faded and made it back to the first plateau. This is where we started to encounter more hikers. It looked like most people only went this far, which was probably a good decision as we saw an alarming number of people with improper footwear or who were already slipping and a sliding on some of the rocks.
Once we made it past the metal chains, the ranger who checked our permit recommended that we hike a bit of the West Rim Trail to the first overlook for another nice view. So that’s what we did. We took a break here and drank some water and ate our snack.
We then started to make our way back down, which is always my least favourite part of any hike. Along the way we passed a bunch of other people who were making their way up the switchbacks. We definitely made the right decision to come first thing in the morning. Overall it took us just over four hours to complete the trail to Angels Landing.
Our legs were feeling pretty tired. Since we had hiked all the easy trails at Zion yesterday, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at the nearby Snow Canyon State Park.
Day 3: Canyon Overlook
It was time to hit the road again and head to Bryce Canyon National Park, the next national park along our road trip. The best way to get to Bryce Canyon involved driving through Zion Canyon towards the east entrance, a section we have yet to visit. Instead of taking the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive where most of the trails are found, we turned off on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, which involved driving through a large tunnel through the mountains.
At the end of the tunnel there’s a parking lot for the Canyon Overlook Trail (1.6km round trip, rated moderate). We crossed the road to reach the trailhead. From there the trail leads up a series of steps and crosses several ledges to reach an overlook above Zion Canyon.
When we returned to the parking lot, we hopped back in the car and continued the drive to Bryce Canyon.
111 thoughts on “Zion National Park”
Wow, Linda. I’m so glad you made it to the Utah posts of your blog. This was such a treat to enjoy in our -20 day this morning. 😊
Utah really is quite lovely and we’re, as I’ve mentioned, debating between that or Banff potentially this summer. Good to know about some of the tips and tricks, like airport issues, drive lengths, time difference, peak times and lottery systems for the permits.
Angels Landing is such a beautiful hike but yes, I can see how it can feel harrowing. I’m not sure if this is something T could do but we can certainly consider it. The view at the top is just stunning! But I can see how the trip back down can be a bit daunting.
I’ve seen photos of people taking the river hike. Did you not do it cuz of proper footwear requirements?
I had to laugh at the quiet zone in your hike as to not disturb the Mexican owls. No way T is not gonna disturb them. 😆
It looks like you and K packed so much into your few days there. What a treat. Did you do a pit stop in Vegas?
Thanks! It’s been nice to relive the memories of warmer days and sun from our time in southern Utah. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that we actually didn’t spend much (or any) time in Las Vegas. We drove by The Strip on our way to Zion and that was about it.
Angels Landing was hands down one of the best trails we’ve ever hiked. It was challenging and I contemplated turning around a couple of times, but I’m glad we pushed through. I missed the cutoff date for the seasonal lottery, but I’m glad things worked out with the daily lottery. We ended up both applying for two spots to increase our odds, which turned out to be a good call as only one of us was successful. But even if you don’t get a permit, even the hike to Scout Lookout is worth it.
We actually saw a few people who had rented dry suits and waterproof boots to hike The Narrows. This was our back-up plan if we weren’t able to get a permit for Angels Landing. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time for both. We ended up hiking through a couple of canyons in another national park that had a similar (although much smaller) narrow section, but without the river to wade through.
Best of luck deciding whether to go to Banff or Utah. Both are great options with fantastic scenery!! I just wouldn’t recommend visiting Utah in the middle of summer as there is not much shade on the trails. And it gets super crazy hot.
Beautiful!! I visited last May so it was neat seeing it covered with some snow. I turned around on Angel’s Landing, but my sisters made it to the end. Props to you for finishing it!!
Thanks!! I bet the desert landscape looked beautiful in May with all the wildflowers in bloom. Angels Landing is one of the best hikes we’ve ever done, but it was also super terrifying. It’s definitely not for everyone and it’s good to know your limits. I probably would have chickened out if the trail was busy. There aren’t many opportunities to pass people and I don’t like feeling the pressure of people waiting behind me. Thankfully we ended up having the trail mostly all to ourselves likely because it was the off-season and the trail was icy.
wow, amazing photographs
Thanks for your kind words. The dramatic desert scenery in Zion is beautiful. I’m glad we went during the winter when it was quieter. Plus I’m not so sure that we could survive the heat.
Reblogged this on happy solo traveller.
Thanks so much!
Zion is such a beautiful park! Angel’s Landing terrifies me…I don’t think I could bring myself to negotiate the slippery narrow and oh-so-high trails, so I am glad I was able to hike through your camera and description. It is breathtaking!
I’m so glad we finally made it to Utah. We were initially planning to go here in 2020, but had to postpone due to the pandemic. Angels Landing was my favourite hike in the park (and of our entire trip). It was incredible and incredibly terrifying. Thankfully it wasn’t very busy and we were able to take our time and move at our own pace.
Thanks! The landscape in Zion is beautiful, which makes for some scenic and enjoyable hiking. It was a bit chilly when we visited in January, but at least the sun was shining!
We also visited Zion, Bryce, Antelope and Grand Canyons in January, a few years back. So worth it for the lack of crowds. Never made it to Angel’s Landing though as it was too icy that day. A beautiful place and you have captured it well, Linda. Thanks for the memories. Allan
I’m all about travelling in the off-season to avoid the crowds. Plus I don’t think we could have handled the heat if we visited in a different season. Sounds like you hit up the highlights. After visiting the “Mighty Five” national parks in Utah, we circled back around through northern Arizona and went to Antelope Canyon and Grand Canyon too. Angels Landing was such a thrilling (and terrifying) hike. I was initially concerned about the icy conditions, but once we had our microspikes on, we had a much easier time on the rocks. There is no way we could have completed the hike without them. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Linda
That’s where we went wrong, no microspikes. We did land lucky and not have to pay for some of our Park admittances, due to the government shutdown though. Alright if you don’t need washrooms or rescue. Happy Sunday. Allan.
It’s funny because I was contemplating whether to even bring our microspikes as it meant having to check our bag. I’m so glad we did as they came in handy during Angels Landing and when we visited Bryce Canyon. Now that we’ve used them a few times, I wonder why it took me so long to buy a pair.
Your photos are fabulous. 😊
Thanks so much! It helps that the scenery is breathtaking so you could just point your camera anywhere and it all looks so beautiful.
True but you also have an eye to see the beauty through the lens of a camera. 😉
Aww thanks. You are too kind.
The pictures are amazing. You were wise to go in the off season.
Thanks for your kind words. The scenery in Zion is simply stunning. We’re all about travelling in the off-season when we can to avoid the crowds. The temperature was a bit chilly, but very comfortable for hiking. I don’t think we could have done half of what we did in the middle of summer in the scorching heat.
That’s true and often the experience is spoiled by an excess of tourists.
For sure. The crowds can definitely take away from the experience, especially on the trails. That’s one of the reasons why we typically try to get an early start to the day.
Lovely photos, this place has been on my radar for a long time. One day hope to get to see it in person as you did. Good idea to do it off-season when there are fewer people around.
We were initially planning to visit Utah during 2020, but had to postpone due to the pandemic, so this trip has been long overdue. Hopefully you’re able to see it for yourself someday. It was great to go in the off-season without the crowds and the heat. Plus we were able to drive to the trailheads without having to rely on the shuttle bus. The temperatures were a bit chilly, but great for hiking.
Angels Landing looks spectacular, one to add to my list. Good for you guys to keep going because the views you’re sharing are spectacular. Maggie
Angels Landing was hands down my favourite trail that we hiked in Zion and of our road trip through southern Utah. It was tough, mostly because I’m not a fan of heights, but I’m glad we pushed through it. It helped that we went first thing in the morning and that it wasn’t very busy so we could take our time. It felt special to be the only ones up at the summit. I would highly recommend it.
I love it that you did it in January too!!!! So fun! We got to Utah 1/31- are you guys still around? We are southeast in Comb Ridge!
In some ways it was probably better that we visited Utah in January without the crowds or the heat. I don’t think we could have done half the hiking we did if we visited in a different season. We were there earlier in January and are back home in southern Ontario now where it’s been mostly overcast and chilly. Enjoy the rest of your holidays! Looking forward to you doing a recap post so I can get ideas to return!
Spectacular photos! So glad you did Angels landing! You all chose some perfect hikes in Zion and wow the Zion Canyon. Truly beautiful photos!
Me too! I missed the cut-off date to apply for the seasonal lottery, so I’m glad we were able to snag last minute permits through the day-before lottery. Angels Landing is one of the best hikes I’ve ever done. Some parts were terrifying and tough though, but you realize that you’re stronger than you think.
Ah that’s so great! I’ve heard how great it is and I’m so glad you got in!
It was challenging, but very rewarding and one of the main highlights of our trip!
Zion is one of our favorite US National Parks. You get the bravery award for doing Angels Landing. Mike and I preferred to stay on flat ground and look up at it! Your photos are gorgeous.
Thanks! I can easily see why Zion is one of your favourites. The scenery is breathtaking and there are lots of adventurous hiking trails. I’m so glad we managed to snag permits and were able to hike Angels Landing. It was quite the challenge, but I’m glad it wasn’t crowded so we could take our time. I’d love to return and hike The Narrows and some of the longer trails in the park too. I bet it’s beautiful in the spring when all the wildflowers are in bloom.
I’m sure some of Canada’s national parks would become our favorites too. We will get there one day!
For sure. We have some great national parks on this side of the border too!!
Wonderful photos – it’s absolutely beautiful and I’m so impressed you did Angels Landing!!!
Thanks for your lovely comment. The desert landscape in Zion is so colourful and beautiful. I’m glad we able to get last minute permits through the day-before lottery to hike Angels Landing. That was my favourite hike in the park and of our entire trip. It was challenging, which made it very rewarding. Plus the views were incredible.
Zion National Park is such a Wonderful place 🌹🙏👌 So many variety of mountains best
View, waterfalls super and the nature so gorgeous 🌹😍 thank you for sharing ,grace wishes 🙏👌💕🌹
Thanks for your kind words and for leaving a comment. We had a wonderful time exploring the desert landscape in Zion. The scenery is breathtaking. Nature really is the best artist.
It’s been so long since I have been to Zion! Brings back memories!
Visiting Zion was a great way to start our road trip through southern Utah. The desert landscape looked lovely. I have no idea how people deal with the heat in the summer though as there is very little hiding from the sun.
Definitely, and temps have been insane in that part of the world now bc of climate change
For sure. It’s not just the crazy temperatures, but also the storms as well. One of the park rangers at Capitol Reef National Park was telling us about how they had a massive flash flood in the summer. One of the roads had washed out and dozens of people had to get rescued.
Beautiful scenery. Good thing you were prepared for the conditions. It was worth the effort.
It’s funny because we were debating whether to bring our microspikes as it meant the difference between bringing carry-on or paying to check our bag. In the end we decided to pack them and check our bag just in case. I’m so glad we did otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to hike Angels Landing. It was so worth it.
This post was wonderful Linda as it brought back such happy memories of our motoring holiday ages ago to the National Parks of Utah. I thought that both Bryce Canyon and Zion were spectacular and I remember going to Angels Landing. I even got my sons scrapbooks out of the attic to see where we travelled to. A great post.
Thanks for your lovely comment. I’m glad to hear that you were able to see the beauty of Zion NP first hand and that it brought back fond memories. Angels Landing is hands down one of the best hikes we’ve ever done. It was quite the adventure! I’m glad we went during the off-season and first thing in the morning when it wasn’t busy as otherwise I don’t think I would have made it. The hoodoos at Bryce Canyon are something else!
Such spectacular photos you have here! Looks like the weather was perfect. Super great idea to visit in winter when it is less crowded and hot although sounds like there were still a fair number of people hiking the trails. Good thing you had those spikes with you as some of those trails definitely look precarious!!
Thanks!! It was a bit chilly outside, but the sun was shining which helped warm everything up. It was actually fantastic weather for hiking. I have no idea how people can hike these trails in the summer months in full sun and the heat! And yes, I’m so glad we decided to check a bag just so we could bring our microspikes. It was worth it as otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to hike Angels Landing or any of the trails at Bryce Canyon National Park.
Love this park. We did not get to hike Angels Landing due to weather and time constraints. We did hike the Narrows. Nice photos.
Thanks! It’s too bad that the weather conditions and timing prevented you from hiking Angels Landing. It was my favourite hike in the park and during our road trip. We had similar constraints with The Narrows. If we didn’t get a permit for Angels Landing we would have rented dry gear to attempt it. We just didn’t have enough time (or energy) for both hikes.
It has been a few years since I was last at Zion. (I visited in late September and it wasn’t very busy at all.) So beautiful and your photos are fantastic. Thanks for the tour, Linda.
Thanks for your lovely comment. Glad to hear that you got to experience a quieter side of Zion too. It’s never fun hiking with the crowds (or in the heat). This was a fantastic start to our road trip through southern Utah.
“We Canadians can deal with the cold, but the heat not so much.” It’s the exact opposite with us Indonesians. In my city, it’s always above 30 degree Celsius all year round. So when we go to a place where the temperatures are in the 20s, we’re always prepared with warm clothing! 😁
It looks like you made the right decision to go in the winter. And good to know you brought your microspikes!
That’s too funny. I guess the temperature and weather are all relative. We must have looked crazy to some people as we were hiking with just a light sweater on whereas most people were bundled up in multiple layers. Once you get going on the trails though, it doesn’t take much to warm up, especially when the sun is out. I don’t think we could have done half the hikes we did if it was warmer outside. And yes, I’m so glad we decided to check our bag just so we could bring our microspikes. We couldn’t have done Angels Landing without them, which ended up being my favourite hike of the trip.
Too bad you could not experience The Narrows, a dangerous place and the heart of Zion.
If we didn’t get a permit for Angels Landing our back-up plan was to rent dry gear and attempt to hike The Narrows. We didn’t have the time (or energy) for both. Next time!
We passed on Angels Landing as our bodies and nerves could not handle it. ha ha
Totally understandable. It was quite the challenge, mentally and physically. Thankfully it wasn’t very busy when we went and we were able to go at our own pace.
Zion looks breathtakingly beautiful and your photos are stunning!
Thanks for your kind words. The landscape in Zion looks incredible with all those tall towering sandstone cliffs. It was surprisingly more lush than I was expecting considering it’s in the middle of the desert. We had a wonderful time soaking in the scenery and hitting up the hiking trails.
Wow!! The photos are stunning. What an amazing hike up to Angel’s Landing. I am quite certain, even if I got the draw, I could not do this. Super big kudos for pushing on! You always plan your trips so well. And I am certain you missed nothing by not stopping in Vegas.
Thanks! Angels Landing was quite the thrilling adventure. It was tough and there were some terrifying sections, but most of the challenge was in my head. I’m so glad we completed it and felt so proud of myself. We’re often stronger than we think. I enjoy trip planning and this one has been a long time in the making. We were planning on coming here in 2020, but had to postpone because of the pandemic. Good to know we weren’t missing much in Las Vegas. Gambling isn’t really our thing. We much prefer to be out in nature and enjoying the scenery!
Oh I love Zion! Your photos of the park are absolutely stunning! I”m really looking forward to your photos of Bryce as it is my favorite national park 🙂
Thanks! I’m such a fan of the desert landscape as it looks so different compared to anything we have here in Canada. I’m glad we went in the winter though as I don’t think we could have survived hiking in the heat. There really isn’t much protection from the sun. I can see why Bryce is your favourite. Those hoodoos are something else!
Sounds like you had a great trip after the initial frustrations around getting on the road. Zion in the off-season sounds like a canny move. Yes you have to brave the elements, but the rewards are clear I think with less people and no awful shuttle buses clogging everything up. We’re actually experiencing a similar thing now with three months on the Greek island of Naxos. The peace and solitude of the place in the winter has so many rewards, though obviously the island must be incredible in the summer. What amazing views you had across all legs of this hike, particularly from Angela’s Landing, which indeed looks a bit hairy. Did you catch a glimpse of a Mexican Spotted Owl?
Travel days are always awful. But thankfully we were pretty excited to spend time in the desert. I’m surprised the parks in southern Utah aren’t more popular in the winter as the weather is perfect for hiking. I don’t think we could have done half the trails we did in a different season. Plus it was so convenient being able to drive around the park without having to rely on the shuttle buses. Angels Landing was quite the hike! I’m so glad it wasn’t very crowded, otherwise I’m not sure I could have completed it. We unfortunately didn’t spot any of the owls. Maybe we weren’t being quiet enough.
Spending three months on a quiet island in Greece sounds so peaceful and relaxing. Enjoy the rest of your trip!
Thanks for your kind words and for leaving a comment. The landscape in Zion is breathtaking. This was a wonderful start to our road trip through southern Utah.
Yay! I love Zion! It looks like you guys had a wonderful time and pretty decent weather (and I love the dusting of snow, it’s so pretty with the red rocks and blue sky). So glad you got to do Angel’s Landing. It’s one of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done. Can’t wait to read about the rest of your trip.
Despite visiting in the middle of winter, we surprisingly had pretty nice weather and got a lot of sun. If anything, the cooler temperatures were much better for hiking anyway. Angels Landing was the highlight of our time in Zion and my favourite hike we did on our road trip. I’m so glad it wasn’t busy and we were able to take our time and enjoy the views.
Wow! Beautiful from that first photo all the way through. You’re a brave hiker! And…you’re getting closer to California. When will you come to Yosemite?
Thanks!! Angels Landing was one of the scariest hikes I’ve done. No wonder those metal chains are there to provide some support! It felt very rewarding to complete it and the views were amazing. We ended up squeezing a day trip to Death Valley before we flying out of Las Vegas. We’re hoping to hit up more of the national parks in California soon. It’s just a matter of timing. Yosemite is high up there on my bucket list.
I would love to visit one day.
The red rock scenery in Zion is breathtaking. Hopefully you’re able to see it in person someday. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.
Waterfall like shower 🚿 👌👌
One of the benefits of visiting Zion in the winter was that the waterfalls were visible, which in’t always the case. It was neat to even walk behind the one at the Lower Emerald Pool.
Wooow nice. Thanks for information. This is stunningly beautiful place dear. 😍😍
Squee this is all incredible! I love the look of Zion in winter! It is quite strange to see photos of angels landing with no people. Was it really empty!?
I would looove to copy this mini holiday!
This trip was a long time in the making as we were planning on visiting southern Utah back in 2020, but had to postpone because of the pandemic. My expectations of Zion were exceeded. I’m glad we visited in the winter when the weather was cooler and there was less crowds. It made hiking Angels Landing a much more enjoyable experience. We got to the trailhead early in the morning, which is why we didn’t encounter too many people while hiking. The trail was also very icy which might have deterred a bunch of people who came unprepared. It worked out well for us!
Yeah, if you are used to hiking on ice (and not afraid of heights) I can see it would be epic! I’m glad it was worth the wait!
You bet. That’s one of the benefits of living in Canada and hiking in the winter, is that we came prepared! The icy sections were actually easier than the first stretch because our microspikes provided better grip than our hiking boots on the smooth rocks.
It was great to see the Angels Landing trail through your eyes. I couldn’t have done it. I’ve been through Zion a few times and hiked into the Narrows, but not too far beyond wading at the beginning of the river. We loved it so much, we went another time, again just a day on our way through.
Thanks! If we weren’t able to get a permit for Angels Landing, our back-up plan was to rent dry gear to hike The Narrows. We didn’t really have time to do both hikes. We ended up hiking through a couple of narrow canyons in Capitol Reef National Park but thankfully there was no river running through them. It was pretty incredible. I can see why you would go back to Zion and hike The Narrows again as it sounds like such a fun experience.
I love your waterfall photos … and didn’t expect to see snow here! Those chains on your second day – it’s my worst nightmare! I agree that the views are incredible, but I’m very happy to look at your photos rather than doing it myself 🙃. You Canadians are not only prepared for the cold, you are also very brave!
Thanks for your kind words. One of the benefits of visiting in the off-season was that we were able to see the waterfalls, which isn’t always the case during hotter weather. The downside is that some of the trails at higher elevations were icy. We came prepared though. Angels Landing was quite the adventure and the challenge. It’s definitely not for everyone. I’m just glad it wasn’t crazy busy and we were able to go at our own pace.
The scenery here is so incredible! After reading your post, I am definitely putting this on the travel list of places to hike in the future. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos too!
Thanks! Zion was a great way to start our road trip through the “Mighty Five” national parks in southern Utah. The desert landscape is gorgeous, which makes for some great hiking and scenic driving. It was nice to visit in the middle of winter to enjoy cooler temperatures and fewer crowds.
My aunt used to live in Salt lake. It surprises me how beautiful a desert can be. You got some amazing pictures! Beautiful! I always enjoy traveling vicariously through your blog.
Thanks so much for your lovely comment. I couldn’t agree more about how the desert landscape is so beautiful, especially in Zion with all those towering sandstone cliffs. I have no idea how people hike here in the summer though!
This was a really enjoyable and colorful post . The views from the trails are astounding. It’s clever that you chose to go in the winter when it wasn’t so hot. I’m glad you got to take your time and get the photos you wanted ☺️. That Walters Wiggle trail probably would’ve scared the daylights out of me. I don’t mind heights at a distance from an edge but that looked like a narrow path. I’m grateful you guys navigated it so well and got to enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your photos and this trip 🙂
Thanks so much for your kind words. The hiking in Zion was incredible, especially Angels Landing (even though it was super terrifying with those steep and narrow sections along the ridge). I’m so glad we went in the winter when the temperatures were cooler as we probably couldn’t have hiked half of what we did in the heat. Plus it wasn’t super crowded.
That’s awesome 😎 I’m glad. I hear that . Hiking something steep and scary is not fun in the heat. I feel like it’s hard to focus and enjoy it
For sure. The warmer weather also tends to bring out the crowds, which can also take away from the experience.
I love the way the sun is casting golden glows over the mountains. And the effort for hike all the way to the top was well worth it, there are fantastic views of the canyon from there.
I was about to book few days to Las Vegas too, and see the canyons, but then I realized we need more days, and couldn’t decide where to start, since there are too many canyons there LOL
Zion is very picturesque, especially during the golden glow in the morning and afternoon. It’s great how there are so many national and state parks around Las Vegas. We were away for 11 days and thought that wasn’t enough time. There’s so much to see and explore. I guess we’ll just have to come back. Happy trip planning!
It’s never enough time to visit them all, we really need to prioritize them. Happy Wednesday!
For sure. In some ways it forces you to be more appreciative of your time since you can’t see it all. Have a wonderful weekend. Hopefully this snow storm tonight isn’t as bad as what the forecast is saying!
Thanks God I work from home🙂, stay safe!
No kidding! I can’t believe how much snow we got. We just spent the past hour outside shovelling and are not even halfway done our driveway. It’s heavy and there is a lot of it. Good luck shovelling out there! Hope you don’t have anywhere you need to be today.
Wonderful photos! A brave hike! Angels Landing… scary…spectacular…fun… so glad you did ‘Fear Not!’ You’ve made a trip my family and friends considered but didn’t due to Covid and Trump… don’t know if both have really departed so will wait for another time. Thanks for sharing this🤗😍💕✨
Thanks! Angels Landing was pretty challenging, but very rewarding. I’m glad it wasn’t too busy, otherwise I’m not sure I could have made it to the end! We were actually planning on visiting southern Utah in 2020, but had to postpone because of the pandemic too. One of the main reasons we decided to visit in the middle of winter was to avoid the crowds, which worked out rather well.
Yes well indeed. I wonder how many scenic photos I’ve taken trying to avoid strangers in them but there they are. I wonder how many scenic photos others have taken with stranger me! 😂 It’s funny but I’ve looked at some of those scenic photos I’ve taken of strangers imagining them not there and actually found those pictures less interesting when imagining them gone. I prefer fewer crowds too but don’t we all. 🤣 We tourists are often like schools of fish attracted to beautiful sights. 🤩😍🤗💕✨
I know what you mean. Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid the randoms. Either that or you have to just have a lot of patience or try to go as early in the morning before the crowds arrive! But you’re right, we can’t blame them because we’re part of the crowds as well!
Wow! What great adventure this was.You really inspire me to take on such kind of escapades…… perfect description of wanderers 💯
Thanks!! We had a wonderful road trip through southern Utah and managed to visit some pretty impressive national parks like Zion. Angels Landing was by far the most adventurous trail we hiked and it was also my favourite.
What a great post and wonderful photos, captures the scenery and experience superbly. Rich
Thanks! The desert landscape in Zion is breathtaking, which made for some memorable hiking (and taking a lot of pictures)!