Utah Trip Report

So, my brief flirtation with Utah and Zion National Park in February has blossomed into a full blown love affair. After almost a week of hiking and exploring, I’m just about ready to up and move to Southern Utah without even a glance backward.

We stayed at a Subway sandwich shop β€” well, the apartments above the Subway β€” and our location couldn’t have been more perfect. Not only were we less than 5 minute walk to the park entrance, but we could navigate back home simply by sniffing the air and moving towards the smell of bread and cookies baking. Pretty awesome, eh?

But instead of me just yapping at you, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

(sorry about the formatting, HTML and WordPress weren’t cooperating with me today and I ran out of patience)

Watchman Trail

This was a great introduction to Zion — a moderate hike that didn’t kill me with elevation gains but still provided some awesome views of the park and the valley below.


Tired? Have a seat.


Virgin River with some fall foliage


I think the guy looks like he’s having fun


Not a bad view, eh?

Emerald Pools

Even though the pictures don’t look like it, a lot of this hike felt like a half dozen tour buses had just released tourists into the wild.


A view of the valley


Lower Emerald Pool


Middle Emerald Pool


Heads we go left, tails we go right…

The Narrows

One of the most unique hikes I’ve ever done, this took place in the Virgin River, headed upstream — the “bottoms-up” hike of the Narrows. We were outfitted with neoprene socks, river shoes and walking sticks and waded our way up the river.


As you can see, some spots were fairly deep


The current could get quite strong


Wall Street, where the canyon was only 25-30 feet wide


Sun just starting to peek into the canyon

Hidden Canyon/Observation Point

Hidden Canyon was probably my favorite part of Zion (once you hiked up the switchbacks to get there). We ran into our first bit of exposed trails and then ended up in the canyon where we climbed and scrambled our way over rocks. So much fun! After that, the trudge up to Observation Point. Essentially, an unrelenting 2100 feet uphill. I came close to quitting this hike — it was one of the toughest hikes I’ve ever done — but the effort and sweat and swearing were all well worth it in the end (isn’t that the way things always go?).


The mouth of Hidden Canyon


Not as bad as it looks, honest!


A hint at the scrambling we did


Weirdly, the hike to Observation Point included what felt like beach.


See? Worth it. That’s Angel’s Landing there, looking rather small.


Totally worth the pain


On the way back down











Bryce Canyon

A day trip from Zion, we were told that we shouldn’t miss it. I’d say those opinions were correct — totally different than Zion and still gorgeous in its own way. Zion is mountains while Bryce is kind of a mini Grand Canyon, so completely different terrain. Had a great day hiking the Navajo Trail and the Peekaboo trail.


Hoodoos galore! View from the rim.


Hoodoos and spires


Windows in the canyon walls


Natural doorways in the stone


Angel’s Landing

The one hike that I had my eye on since this trip was booked. I had hiked up to Scout’s Landing in February and was too tired and out of sorts to do anything more than look at the climb up to Angel’s Landing. This time, I was ready to go for it. Whether the Observation Point set a new standard for toughs hikes or if I was simply in better shape, the ascent this time went much faster than last. We got up to Scout’s Landing,Β met up with the rest of the group and went to take on Angel’s Landing. I won’t bury the lead — I did not make it to the top. There were so many people going up and down, using the same path and chain, and it got to be a little much for me. After a short bit, I reversed course and headed back down. I’m not done with Angel’s Landing, though — I’ll be back to try again.


View from the valley floor


I loved all the flowers!


View from Scout’s Landing


The first part of the climb up to Scout’s Landing

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  1. I think you captured the essence of this wonderful trip! Thank you for your inspiration and vision for this adventure. North Carolina in 2017!!!

  2. *gasp* *gasp* I am breathless from taking all of those hikes with you πŸ˜€ Honestly, a delightful and well-rounded look at both parks. I went in May of last year and enjoyed some of those same trails. I have not been through the Narrows; it’s still on my list. When I get ready to go, can you hook me up with your B-n-B-n-Subway?

  3. Omygosh! The photos! I’m glad you let them do the talking, Laura, because they had lots to say and were very convincing. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for the virtual vacation.

  4. Amazing report Laura, superb photographs, and my jaw just dropped when I read the phrase ‘an unrelenting 2100 feet uphill’. Total respect! The landscapes are truly spectacular; what an enriching experience to be amongst those rock formations and rivers, and with such clear views out across the landscape from the viewpoints. Little wonder you want to return X

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