An impromptu trip to Zion National Park

Laurel at Zion National Park

This weekend I went on an impromptu trip to Utah’s first national park: Zion National Park. Originally, I had planned to visit Pando, the Trembling Giant, but I stumbled across an open campsite in Zion and jumped on it. So I found a dog sitter and hopped in the car with the hubby for our weekend getaway to Zion.

On the way there, we listened to an audiobook of Navajo’s Wear Nikes by Jim Kristofic. I enjoy reading books about experiences that are different. I’m not someone who is necessarily looking for another Jane Austen or Huckleberry Finn. While those books are great to read, I’m interested in other works. Navajo’s Wear Nikes was my idea to listen to on the way to Zion but it kept my husband engaged. My husband actually wanted to finish the book and hear Jim’s story (he wasn’t like that with the TV show Skinwalkers). I highly recommend this book for your next road trip.

After many hours on the road, we finally approached Zion with enough time to sneak in a hike. For some reason, I thought Zion would be larger, but it was still fun to explore. We found our campsite and set off on a hike to the emerald pools. It was a leisurely hike we snuck in before the sun went down. The hike was pretty and not too crowded as most people were already on their way out of the park.

Hiking Emerald Pools
Hiking Emerald Pools at Zion National Park

The next morning, we got up early and headed out to the shuttle. For those of you who don’t’ know, the park has a shuttle that takes you around the park (it reminded me of Disney World). Because this was an impromptu trip, we didn’t properly plan our meals. Instead of making breakfast, we stopped at a café inside the park and ordered breakfast.

Then, we headed out to Hidden Canyon trail for our morning hike. There were sections of the hike that really tested my limits. I’m afraid of heights to a certain extent and had trouble crossing a section that had chains bolted into the rock. I took a deep breath and focused on the trail in front of me (not the ground that was really far away on my right) and continued on until I made it across. Not to toot my own horn but I performed better than some other groups we met on the trail. We came across a group that had a party member screaming about the height. Listen to the park ranger when he/she tells you not to go on a trail if you’re afraid of heights.

At some point, we had snacks, enjoyed the sunrise and could hear the park getting louder as the crowds began rolling in. We needed to hit the road before lunch, so we headed back down the canyon to the shuttle.

A view of Zion National Park from Hidden Canyon
A view of Zion National Park from Hidden Canyon

What a difference a few hours can make.

We got back to the shuttle entrance and the parking lots were full, and the line to get onto the shuttle wrapped all around the info desk. It was like Disney World. We got off the bus, jumped in the car, and left the crowds.

We may not have experienced everything Zion National Park has to offer, but we did well for an impromptu weekend getaway. If you head out to Zion, plan in advance, get a camping site and start your day early (or late) so the place isn’t as crowded. Zion is a beautiful park and should be easy for families to find a hike for everyone (Emerald Pools is my recommendation).

So get out there, and #FindYourPark

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I am from New Mexico and love cooking, yoga, skiing, mountain biking, and exploring the outdoors. I also love to travel. I am a certified Ski Instructor.

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