Zion National Park 2016

Zion National Park’s canyons and mesas boast an especially exquisite beauty, even in a state known for dramatic landscapes. Breathtaking Zion Canyon is the centerpiece of this 147,000-acre parkland that protects a spectacular landscape of high plateaus, sheer canyons, and monolithic cliffs.

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Hiking in Zion National Park is major reason why many people visit. Hikers of all abilities will find trails that lead to sweeping vistas, clear pools, natural arches, and narrow canyons. Angels Landing and the Narrows are among the best hikes not only in Zion National Park, but frequently make top ten hikes lists across all the national parks.

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We visited this gorgeous park on July 4th long weekend and were totally mesmerized with its magnificent beauty. We drove all the way to the park. It was around 12 hours road trip but didn’t seem that long with the company of our amazing friends.

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The agenda of the trip was to HIKE..HIKE & HIKE admist this gigantic red canyons. Zion is one of the top national parks in the world and hiking through it is once in a lifetime experience

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We had 2 days with us so we decided to do 4 hikes..

Here is our hike Itinerary

On Day 1..it was Emerald Pools Hike & Weeping Rock. Day 2 was Narrows and Parus Trail.

We stayed in Hurricane City and drove 30 mins to the park entrance. The entrance fee is 30 dollars.

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Zion Shuttle Service

Due to the large amount of visitors to Zion National Park, a shuttle system has been put in place to deal with traffic and parking problems in the main canyon. The shuttle buses operate during the popular tourism months which now run from April through October. The shuttle system helps keep Zion’s main canyon serene and it also makes visiting Zion much less stressful and aggravating to tourists.

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Day 1

1. Emerald Pool Hike

This was our first hike of the day. Emerald Pools is one of Zion’s sweetest signature trails. Generously endowed with breathtaking scenery, this trail is one that children and adults alike will have fun hiking. Waterfalls, pools and a dazzling display of monoliths create the Emerald Pools Trail System.

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The most likely starting point for this hike is at the Zion Lodge. Cross the footbridge and follow the trail that goes north along the Virgin River. (You can also get to Emerald Pools from the Grotto bus stop, hiking southeast on a little connector trail, recently named the “Kayenta Trail.”) Total time for this hike: 2-4 hours (depending on how leisurely your stroll).

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LOWER EMERALD POOLS: In less than half a mile, the vegetation becomes more lush and the trail makes its way along a tall alcove under two tall waterfalls and the pools below. Getting to this point is quite easy even for the elderly and baby-strollers.

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MIDDLE EMERALD POOLS: Beyond the alcove, the trail gets more difficult and steps up and around to bring you on top of the cliff that you just walked under. The middle “pools” are the streams that form the waterfalls. This section is quite beautiful.

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UPPER EMERALD POOL: The final stretch is a hot and sandy quarter mile, but it is well worth the effort to get to the final pool at the base of the 300-foot cliffs above. The upper pool area is a great area to find a shaded boulder to relax and have lunch. Most of the time, you can see a faint waterfall coming from the mouth of Heaps Canyon far above. For the return trip, you can either retrace your path or take the optional loop back to the Lodge.

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2. Weeping Rock

Weeping Rock is a famous landmark of Zion National Park and is an easily accessible tourist attraction. Weeping Rock is a large bowl-shaped alcove where the lower layer of sandstone has eroded away; water that has been slowly descending within the sandstone formations reaches an impermeable layer of rock and is forced out the side causing the “weeping.” The weeping walls form a beautifully lush hanging garden with a little flowing stream below. While there are many weeping walls in Zion, this is the featured one with a paved trail and platformed viewing area constructed under the alcove back in the early days of the park.

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The stroll to Weeping Rock is a short 10-minute family-friendly stroll. From the Weeping Rock Trailhead, the 7th stop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle, walk up the parking lot, cross the little hiker’s bridge, then turn left to hike up the paved trail to the viewing area. Soon enough you will be standing under the beautiful alcove with the wonderful water sprinkling from above; this is a perfect little spot for both yound and old. Please note that while the trail is paved, it is not exactly wheelchair accessible because the trail is fairly steep and there are several steps near the end.

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For those looking to do more serious hiking, The Weeping Rock Trailhead is also the starting point for the famous Observation Point Trail, Hidden Canyon, and the East Rim Trail to Cable Mountain, Deertrap Mountain, and the East Entrance Trailhead.

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Day 2

3. Narrows

The North Fork of the Virgin River (aka “The Zion Narrows”) is probably one of the most legendary canyons to hike in all of Zion National Park. The Zion Narrows is the section of the Virgin River just upstream from the Temple of Sinawava (the end of the road up the main canyon). Here, the majestic walls of the main canyon close in to form a tall and narrow canyon with beautiful dark corners and the Virgin River flowing around you. With beautiful flowing water and barely any direct sunlight reaching the bottom, this is the slot canyon that all other slot canyons are compared to.

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No description of the Narrows would be complete without a stern warning about the danger of flash foods. Many tourists are caulous about taking the weather seriously, but please do not do this hike if the forecast calls for rain. A strong enough rain storm can quickly turn a calm and shallow stream into a deadly wall of rushing water. Please check the weather forecast and the Wilderness Desk for current conditions and for any advisories. Remember that it doesn’t have to be raining directly above you for a flash-flood threat to be possible.

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Zion Narrows “Bottom Up” Day Hike (from the Temple of Sinawava):

For tourists or casual hikers who want to see the best of the Zion Narrows, this is the hike that you want to do! Starting at the Temple of Sinawava (the last stop on the free Zion Canyon shuttle), you can hike up the Riverside Walk trail and then continue hiking right up the river to see some of the best “narrows” sections of the North Fork of the Virgin River. Hike up as far as you want to go and then turn around and retrace your steps. A side hike up Orderville Canyon is also a good detour to see even more amazing slot canyon scenery. As a round-trip hike, this can be as leisurely or strenuous as you wish to make it. A wilderness permit is NOT required for this hike

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Appropriate footwear and hiking sticks are required to complete this hike and can be rented at the park’s entrance.

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4.  Pa’rus Trail

Named after the Paiute word for “bubbling water,” the Pa’rus Trail is one of the newer and most accessible trails in Zion National Park. It is the only trail in Zion that is open to bicycles and pets, and it is also one of the few wheelchair-accessible trails in the park. Starting at the South

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Campground just north of the Visitor Center, this wide, paved trail skirts the Virgin River in the flat and open lower section of Zion Canyon and ends at the Canyon Junction. Along the way, the scenery is quite pleasant, including several bridges that cross above the river, various wildflowers, and mule deer can often be spotted

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The source of the amazing description of the hikes is Citrus Milo Zion Guide..courtesy Joe Braun © 2016.

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Zion National Park 2016