Pictures don’t do it justice. Zion National Park is one of those places that has to be experienced in person. Despite this, I’m going to show you a lot of pictures of Zion. And in an attempt to shorten my blog posts (falling behind again and my normal ones take FOREVER!), I’m going to talk less and let you look more. Shall we?
Virgin Dam Boondocking
Kelly and I first camped together back at Las Cienegas, met up again in Sedona and continued on together to Zion. We’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling during the summer as we are now business partners, but I’m getting ahead of myself. You’ll just have to stay tuned for future blog posts.
Anyhow, the boondocking destination for the Zion stay was a large chunk of BLM land right on the Virgin River (the water that cut Zion Canyon). There were a few other fellow nomads that I knew staying there so we crashed the party.
The Virgin Dam boondocking area is named after the Virgin River Dam (how unexpected!). We parked our rigs right on the edge of the cliff, just upstream of said dam, and had a panoramic view of the area surrounding Zion National Park.
Hurricane (Monkey) Mesa
One evening Kelly and I drove up onto Hurricane Mesa, which was the imposing land formation just due north of our boondocking spot. Also known as Monkey Mesa since back in the day they used to test ejection seats right off the edge of the mesa. Allegedly monkeys were used to test the ejection systems at one point, shooting them right off the edge down towards where we were staying.
If you drive far enough down the dirt roads on top of the mesa, you can enter Zion National Park from the west.
We entered the actual park multiple times during our two week stay and went on three hikes. Before I dazzle you with pictures from the hikes, I’d like to mention something about the transportation system inside the park.
During the peak season (Spring thru Fall), you aren’t allowed to drive your vehicle very far into Zion Canyon (the main area of the park). Instead you have to ride the shuttle buses, which stop at 9 spots. You would think this would be a royal pain in the ass, but it wasn’t. The buses are very clean, run quite frequently, and we never experienced long lines that I’ve heard can be an issue. It’s very nice to let someone else do the driving so you can stare in awe at the scenery passing by. And you will. Unless you are a heartless soul.
The Emerald Pools hike was the first one we tackled. It’s a very easy and quite popular. There is an upper and lower pool.
Angel’s Landing is probably the most iconic trail in the park, we had to do it. We were joined by Lon and Diana, a full-timing couple. Great hike. Very, um, not friendly for people afraid of heights. We left early so it wasn’t crowded on the way up, but we were definitely the fish swimming upstream as we headed back down.
A longer hike than Angel’s Landing, and still pretty popular, Observation Point actually looks down on Angel’s Landing and was an overall better hike in my opinion. You get to see a lot more of Zion’s diversity and didn’t have to fight the crowds.
Kolob Canyons is a much less visited part of Zion National Park and one that takes a bit more effort to see. Located way up in the northwest corner of the park, Kolob Canyons is a decent drive from Zion Canyon, but well worth it. We drove the Kolob Canyons Road to the end, hiked out a short distance, and hung out for a while enjoying the spectacular views.
P.S. Not sure this blog post took any less time. So. Many. Pictures. Sigh…