Zion National Park, February 20-21

Zion National Park, February 20-21

We were not sure what to expect heading into Zion National Park. We had seen many beautiful landscapes by that point, from the barren Texas desert to snow covered mountains in Flagstaff. However, Zion turned out to be something truly remarkable. First, the majestic red cliffs of the Checkerboard Mesa rose high above us with a simultaneous archaic and otherworldly feel. Just as we were ingesting the impossible soaring cliffs we entered the 1.1 mile long tunnel and more formal entrance into the park. The tunnel itself is impressive as we imagined tons of dynamite blasting away at this grand vestibule that literally millions of people have driven through. Along the way, sudden picture windows would arise out of nowhere, giving drive-by glimpses of the stunning canyon below, framed by even higher cliff walls than we have ever seen.

Once we made it to the more popular west entrance, we could not decide which view captivated our attention more as the red cliff walls seem to reach to the heavens and the canyons to unbelievable depths. In a beautiful Purgatory sat grassy meadows with a meandering river and frolicking mule deer. A friend told us that Zion would be life-changing, and she was right.

The only downside was that we arrived at the park in mid-afternoon and the weather was already turning colder with rain clouds visible in the distance. Many of the hikes in Zion take advantage of the slickrock (which isn’t slick) and slot canyons. Both of these are dangerous during wet and rainy conditions. We did opt for a beautiful hike to the three Emerald pools and were not disappointed. Our videos say much more than we can.

After some great hikes with lots of other tourists, we decided to hike a less popular trail up a canyon on our way out. We saw some beautiful twisty, thin slot canyons with pools of water in them and at one point, we surprised some Bighorn sheep which was very neat.


We were thoroughly delighted with the town of Springdale, which is a fun and beautiful town just on the outskirts of Zion National Park. The people were friendly, there are many options for restaurants and excursions, as well as great options for lodging. An absolute shout out to the Best Western in Springdale, Utah as it had an enormous hot tub that was not only open, but with plenty of space to safely relax and look at the amazing sky and views and still keep our distance. We did meet a few people in the hot tub, even from 6 feet away. One gentleman who was lucky enough to come to Zion for work from Colorado often and a group of young people visiting from Minnesota. In the social desert that has been COVID-19 it felt like an absolute cocktail party. Perhaps an even better analogy is the first day of kindergarten when you come home and are excited to realize that you’ve made friends! We love, love, loved this part of  the trip and hated to leave with so many things in Zion left unexplored but recognizing at this point that every new adventure meant something new and fantastic around the corner.


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