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Zion National Park

A Narrow, Straight-Up Walled Canyon

semi-overcast 68 °F

Getting to Zion National Park from our overnight stop at Richfield, Utah was an easy 2 1/2-hour drive through the desert and through some off-and-on rain. We stopped at Hurricane, Utah, a few miles from our campground, to drop Deacca off at a very nice board facility, On The Spot Play and Stay, because Zion River Resort bans pit bulls and rottweilers. We considered bringing her into the campground anyway and just walking her at night but even though she is the sweetest dog, she does bark and growl a lot, meaninglessly, but the noise is still there, so we thought it best for everyone's peace of mind to just board her for two days.

Once we set up camp, the campground shuttle took us to the national park, about 10 miles away, and we got started exploring. The nice thing about Zion, besides the amazing views, is that they have a free shuttle system that takes you to all the locations in the park from the visitors center. Since it was about 3:30 in the afternoon, we chose to go to the last stop and do an easy two-mile walk on the Riverside Trail:

Riverside Walk


When we got back to the visitors center, we called Dan, the Uber man in town, to take us back to the campground. That's because the resort shuttle only runs from 9am to 3pm. Talking to Dan on the way back we learned that he is also a work-camper at Zion River, getting his site for free in exchange for eight hours of work at the campground each week. He told us that work-camping is actually a burgeoning cottage industry with its own website for news and recruitment. No, we're not interested in joining that trend, but we may know some who could be!

It rained all night, and with the campground right on the banks of the Virgin River, I kept waking up thinking we might be swept away in a flash flood. But no worries, nothing happened. Our shuttle driver (into the park) told us that the river had only risen a few feet overnight and that they have a complete monitoring system with all the warning bells and whistles. It had only happened once where the river rose over 20 feet and washed away the wall protecting the campground, but they had plenty of advance warning and moved everyone to safety.

Once we arrived at the park, we embarked on the Watchman Trail, where we walked about 3 miles and 400 feet in elevation to some amazing panoramic views of Zion Canyon. Along the hike we saw a family of bighorn sheep up on a ridge. They kicked a few small boulders our way then went galloping down the ridge, across the trail and toward the other side of the mountain. It was really cool to see and I wish I could have gotten my camera out before they disappeared. A ranger on the trail told us later that we were lucky to see them because they rarely come onto the trail side of the mountain.

Watchman Trail


Afterward, we took the shuttle to Zion Lodge and enjoyed some pizza and beer at their outdoor cafe. During lunch, a big piece of the mountain cliff next to the lodge broke loose and crashed nearby causing lots of gasps and oohs and aahs. Once again, the camera wasn't fast enough! After lunch, I ambled down the Lower Emerald Pool Trail across from the lodge while Maggie stayed and watched the horseback riders head out. Just past the waterfalls at the lower pool, the trail to the upper pool was closed due to a big rock slide. The pool and the Virgin River were far from "emerald" or clear because of all the rain overnight.

Lower Emerald Pool Trail


Campground Review

We really liked this VERY NICE campground. Their free shuttle service to the park was handy for folks like us who don't tow a car. We wish they would consider changing their dog policy though, because most pit bulls, etc. are very nice, harmless dogs. It's just bad owners that ruin it for the rest of us.

We picked up Deacca (who had a great time without us, apparently - would definitely recommend the boarder-very nice folks) and headed to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area outside Las Vegas, Nevada.

Posted by travelswitz 09:39

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