Do you wanna get lost in the beauty of the red cliffs and green trees? If yes, Zion National Park is the right destination for you. It’s an iconic and unique landmark that any nature lover should see and explore.
In the early morning of June 30th 2016 we started our trip to Zion National Park. The park is located in southwest Utah, Springdale, it’s around 4 hour drive from Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City. As we drove closer and closer to the park we were entering an area where we were surrounded by a wild world where the red color highlights the road and you can clearly feel the desert vibes. The park is placed in the Mojave Desert. Zion is a mixture of canyons, narrows, natural arches and emerald pools. They all together create sightseeings that will take your breath away.
Entering a national park in the US will cost you 30$ per car, and that ticket is valuable for 7 days. But if you are more adventurous and you want to visit more national parks, you can buy a 80$ ticket, which is valuable for a year and you can explore all the nationals parks in the United States with that same ticket. Is it totally worth it, right?
While entering the park we were driving on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive where you are surrounded with enormous cliffs and red sandstone. You can drive to a certain point, and after that you can continue exploring using the free park shuttle which drives you to any of the 9 areas of the park. Zion offers a variety of unique sightseeings, and if you want to see more, you need to stay for a few days. But don’t worry, there are hotels where you can spend the night, or if you want to have the real Zion experience, you can camp in the park’s camping area.
When we entered the park and had the map in our hands, everything was left to our courage and willingness to surrender to the nature. We decided to hike and enjoy the extraordinary view from the Angels Landing and swim through the Virgin River Narrows. The sky was cloudy and the weather was rainy so that made our adventures even more challenging. The park shuttle takes you to the station and from there you are on your own. Me and my group arrived at Angels Landing drop-off station, which is called Grotto Trailhead. Despite the facts that we didn’t had the proper hiking equipment and the weather was not good, we decided to hike no matter what and see the beautiful scenery with our own eyes. Angels Landing’s previous name was Temple of Aeolus. The trail is almost 4 kilometters long, but despite that is very dangerous. The highest point of Angels Landing is 1760 metters, and the view is totally worth the walking and the hiking.
The route to Angels Landing changed our mind so many times whether we should proceed or not and as we were getting closer to the highest point, it was more and more dangerous. The rain it was just making the whole situation worse. But despite all of that, after 2 hours we made it, and when we saw the view it was all worth it. This point gives you an indescribable and unreal view of the Zion Canyon, so don’t give up!
A legend says that Angels Landing received it’s name thanks to Frederick Fisher, who while exploring Zions at the beginning of the 1910s, said, “Only an angel could land on it!”
The Virgin River Narrows
Our next destination were The Narrows. One of the most fun experiences at Zion National Park is to hike in the Virgin River. The Virgin River Narrows represent a part of Zion where the breathtaking turquoise color of the Virgin river through the big nude rocks create a wonderful scenery, just as you’d imagine paradise looks like. Even kids can hike in the river, is it not dangerous at all and is it totally worth it to get wet!
Our adventure in The Narrows was one of the best moments in my life. As we headed to the destination, it started raining even more than before that. But for me and my friends the rain just made our impression of The Narrows more special. The only thing you should be more careful about it’s slipping, because the rain makes the rocks very slippery. We continued hiking in the rain, trying to hide our electronic devices although nothing was helping. And when we got all wet it wasn’t much different if we actually get all in the river and start swimming. So we started jumping from the rocks to the river, swimming and singing. It was so special that it made us all cry. The other visitors were thrilled by our reaction.
Somewhere on the social networks I once read that not everyone feels the rain, most of the people just get wet and put their umbrellas on, and the others feel it’s power and enjoy it, and that was perfectly describing our situation at the moment. We continued swimming in the hot water until the sky almost got dark.
On our way to the car, my friend Marta said to the shuttle driver: “We just took the virginity of the Virgin River!” Everyone in the shuttle started laughing. We had the time of our lives.
From my personal experience, Zion will always be one of the most amazing places I saw in Utah. The nature, the redness and the beauty of the canyon are something unique, especially for a European traveler. This was my first time seeing something like that. I read that Zion was in Top 5 America’s Greatest Adventures and I couldn’t agree more with that. I wish I had the time to explore more. But there’s a beauty in leaving something unseen, that means that one day you must come back for more, and I will definitely do that in the next couple of years.