My husband and I had a few days for a honeymoon, so we made a quick but memorable trip up to Utah to explore some of the red dirt country. We flew out of Hobby airport in Houston and into McCarran in Las Vegas. From there it was about a 2.5 hour drive to Springdale, Utah, the nearest city to Zion National Park. We spent two days in Zion, and 1.5 days in Bryce Canyon before driving back to Vegas to fly home.
Day One: travel into Zion National Park
-flew into Las Vegas
-drove down the Vegas Strip
-breakfast at Farmer Boys: a fast-food joint that had pretty good breakfast and lunch food
-Valley of Fire State Park: about an hour outside of Las Vegas, this state park hosts majestic petroglyphs, wind-sculpted red-rock, and Dr. Seuss-esque striped rocks. It was $10 to enter and was a great start to our Utah adventure. There were a few short hikes that were easy to do and allowed us to get right up close to the unique rock structures.
-stopped at a Walmart in Nevada and stocked up for the trip. We didn’t’ want to have to eat out for every meal so we bought some burgers, fries, buns, breakfast food, snacks, and items to make peanut butter sandwiches for hiking.
-drove into Zion National Park: the nearest town is Springdale. We did part of the Watchman Trail hike, a 2.7 mile moderate hike that supposedly is beautiful at sunset. Unfortunately it was cloudy during our hike, but it still offered beautiful views of the canyon.
-Lodging: We stayed in an adorable tiny house about 30 minutes from the park entrance. There were two other tiny houses, for a total of three, on a plot of land isolated from the other nearby houses. We didn’t feel intruded upon at all by having other houses nearby, and it was just enough space for two nights. Very tastefully decorated and the space is utilized very well.
Day Two: Zion National Park
-hiked The Narrows: a trail that is the Virgin River cutting through Zion Canyon, The Narrows is a teal-blue river that can be day-hiked or done overnight. We only went about three miles up before the cold water got the best of us, but it was an extremely memorable experience. Hiking upstream in a clear blue river is different enough, add on the soaring canyon walls and you’ve got quite the experience. We rented dry suits, neoprene socks, a dry bag, and sturdy waterproof hiking shoes from Zion Outfitters (conveniently located near the entrance of the park). I would highly recommend renting these items if you want to stay warm and somewhat dry during your hike.
-hiked the Upper Emerald Pools trail: while the end pool of this hike is not emerald at all, it does have a panoramic view of Zion Canyon with the Virgin River, sheer cliff faces that you have to crane your neck back to see the top of, and a cute little waterfall that is so high, the spray disappears and doesn’t reappear till the bottom of the fall. We hiked to the Upper Emerald Pool using the Kayenta trail, since the Lower Emerald Pool path was under construction. It was a little steep at times, but all in was 3 miles round trip.
-we made burgers at our Airbnb for dinner and enjoyed our personal hot tub. A random lady at a random Nevada Walmart approached us while we were shopping for beef, scorned us for buying beef, and convinced us to try the Beyond Burger. It wasn’t bad, but it also was not good. Definitely not good when compared to a real beef burger.
Day Three: Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park
-hiked Angel’s Landing: The famous Angel’s Landing hike surprised me by being almost entirely paved. It was a steady uphill climb with gorgeous panoramic views of Zion Canyon and Valley. The final half mile of the hike is the famous Instagram picture portion of the hike – a steep climb up sheer (ish) canyon walls with only a chain to hold on to and keep you from falling to your death. Now, I personally didn’t think this portion of the climb was as daunting as the guidebooks and hiking maps portrayed it to be. Don’t get me wrong, it was steep, but there was often ample rock to prevent perilous falls. The view from the top was gorgeous-a panoramic 360 degree look at Zion Canyon. Hiking down is quite easy compared to the continual uphill climb on the way up.
-drove to Bryce Canyon National Park: the snow quickly accumulated along the fields outside our car window as we drove nearer to Bryce. Once actually in Bryce, snow blanketed most of the ground and dotted the hoodoos. After a quick stop in the visitor’s center, we decided to make the most of our day and do the 3-mile Queen’s Garden Loop. This loop took us down beneath the rim of the canyon and through the hoodoos, then back up in short but steep incline. We did not need our microspikes for this hike, as the snow was mostly along the sides of the trails rather than on them.
-dinner at IDK BBQ in Tropic: we drove into Tropic (about 20 minutes from the park) and had dinner. Admittedly, their smoker was broken so the BBQ was not the greatest.
-airbnb: we stayed at a 2 bedroom- 1 bathroom Airbnb in Tropic. While the central heating was out, space heaters provided copious amounts of heat. The place was overall a good price for a good location.
Day Four: Bryce Canyon National Park and St. George
-hiked the Peek-a-Boo loop beneath the rim of Bryce Canyon: this 5 mile lollipop trail winds up and down and around the hoodoos. We definitely needed our micro-spikes because majority of the trail was blanketed in fresh snow and ice. This made the hike even more stunning though. The combination of ups and downs balanced out the difficulty of the hike and overall it was gorgeous and enjoyable.
-we spent the remainder of the day driving in to St. George. We drove back through Zion National Park and did the quick 1 mile Canyon Overlook Trail.
-dinner at Zion Pizza and Noodle: gorgeous view of the sunset on the canyon walls
-stayed the night in St. George: we stayed at an adorable little studio above a pottery store. At 650 square feet, it was the perfect size for the two of us. Fabulous location in relation to downtown St. George and just what we needed!
Our trip flew by so quickly but it was an amazing way to kick off our marriage.
https://www.vrbo.com/1713114?adultsCount=2&noDates=true à Virgin, Utah Tiny Home
https://www.farmerboys.com/las-vegas-charleston-blvd/ à Farmer Boy’s Las Vegas
https://www.idkbarbecue.com/ à IDK BBQ Tropic
http://www.zionpizzanoodle.com/ à Zion Pizza and Noodle
http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire à Valley of Fire State Park
https://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm à Zion National Park
https://www.zionoutfitter.com/ à Zion Outfitter (who we rented our Narrows equipment from)