Earlier this year my adventure buddy, Jenna, and I planned a trip to Utah to see Bryce Canyon and Zion, two bucket list National Parks.
We arrived in Zion after 2 days in Bryce Canyon, ready to tackle The Narrows, one of Zion's most famous hikes. The Narrows is a hike through a slot canyon, where you wade through the canyon water up to 10 miles out and back. Since it's out and back you can make it as short or as long as you feel comfortable with. You'll need a walking stick for balance and water shoes if you want to be comfortable. Jenna and I got to Zion around noon, parked, and went to rent these items at the entrance of the park. After some deliberating over a 30% chance of rain we decided to give the hike a shot. Flash floods can happen in the canyon, and if you have nowhere to retreat then it can be deadly. Flash floods are more common in the afternoon, so the best thing to do is leave early morning for this hike, and talk to a ranger before you head out. There was a crazy line for the shuttle when we left, and the storm cloud's were brewing. By the time we got into the park the rangers advised against heading to the trail. We changed courses at the this point, a bit defeated.
Advise for The Narrows:
Leave early in the morning
Check for any storm warnings before starting the trail
Wear or rent appropriate gear (water shoes and walking stick for balance)
Bring plenty of water, I'd recommend a 3L Hydration Pack
Bring snacks for energy
A dry bag would be a good addition in case you fall into the water or have to float your pack
It was hot! Really hot! But Jenna and I were determined to get a hike in while we were in Zion, so we went to the next most famous Zion hike, Angel's Landing. This hike is a tough climb, 5.5 miles roundtrip, and 1,488 feet elevation gain. As we climbed up, 2 miles felt more like 5 miles. We reaching the landing, and looked ahead to the harder portion of the hike, a half mile of cable line with 1000 foot drop-offs to the top. We started the cable lines, stepping carefully along the path while holding onto the single cable line. My heart was beating pretty quickly at this point, mostly because there were a LOT of people attempting this hike. It was Labor Day weekend, and no permits are necessary. Jenna and I went along the lines for about 20min, and kept having to move or let go of the cable to let the people coming down pass us. The chains were really hot with the summer sun beating down on them. We decided it wasn't worth the risk. A note for all of you reading this: don't go on a holiday weekend, and start all hikes early morning to avoid the masses. Bring plenty of water! We saw people heading up to the top with a 16 ounce water bottle. I went through my all of my 70 ounces by the end of this trek.
Advise for Angel's Landing:
Stage coach grille
We were starving after Angel's Landing, and went to the hot spot restaurant of LaVerkin, Utah, called Stage Coach Grille. We met a cool guy on the trail and he joined us for dinner. Stagecoach is a meat eater's paradise. The waitress comes around with a variety of cuts, and you can choose you're cut right on the platter. I ended up getting some delicious ribs, and we all had a great conversation in the quaint little restaurant at sunset.
On the last day of our Utah road trip, Jenna and I booked a trip with Red Desert Adventure to go canyoneering. Canyoneering is traveling in canyons using a variety of techniques like scrambling, climbing, jumping, rappelling, and swimming. We left at 7am to Yankee Doodle canyon, a "wet" canyon that has some pools of water to cross. We started with a few longer repels into the beautiful swirling rock formations, then continued scrambling through a dry canyon. When we arrived at our first pool of water, we were pretty surprised at how murky the water was (even though our guide had warned us). This was opaque brown, stagnant water, with tadpoles and a few dead bugs floating around. Yuck! We avoided getting into the water as long as we could by chimneying through the canyons. When we finally had to wade through I screamed and shrieked until I got to the other side. I am usually a prideful, "tough" women, but that all went out the window. We continued down the trail, a beautiful walled in path of Sienna colored stone. At a few points we had to swim through the pools! When we arrived at the final pool of water, there was a baby snake right next it. This snake wasn't poisonous, but still... deciding to wade into opaque water that there might be snakes in is scary!!! But there was no other option so we basically ran through that last pool as quickly as possible! After exiting the canyon, we then hiked back up to the top. As crazy as it sounds, this was my favorite day. It was full of action and adventure, and the canyon was truly beautiful. I'd highly recommend Red Desert Adventure, our guide and owner Eric was a great guy, and so knowledgable about the area. We enjoyed his company!
Zion Hiking Essentials
This article has gear recommendations based on my experience. This page includes affiliate links. If you purchase an item, I receive a small commission at no added cost to you. Thank you for supporting this travel blog with your purchase!