As the year begins, we are starting to feel better about being able to travel. Rich and I have been making a few trips, all of which required negative COVID tests 48 hours prior to ﬂying. It is easier now that more people are doing the rapid tests. We have been to Hawaii and Panama City, Panama. When we returned from Panama, we were required to have a negative COVID test within 48 hours of returning to the States. No problem and the hotel arranged for a doctor to come to our hotel for the test, and we got the results the next morning.
I will do an article on Panama next issue, but this issue I want to talk about a trip we recently took to Zion National Park. We decided to take a road trip one Sunday morning, and Rich wanted to see Zion. It took us about 3 hours to get there from here. Some of it was rather dull, but as we got closer to the park, we started to see more interesting terrain.
We were headed for the town of Springdale, Utah. It is a charming little town and the entrance to the park. We didn’t arrive until after lunch, and after seeing the sign that it was $35 per person, we decided to come back when we could stay longer. We were at the gate and told the guard that we were just going to turn around and leave. He suggested that since we were senior citizens, we could pay $20 for one senior pass, which would allow a carload of people in at no additional charge and would be good for a year at every national park. Needless to say, we paid the $20 and went in.
The park itself is truly unbelievably beautiful. The rock formations in the canyon are spectacular. There are hotels and motels in the town for every budget. They suggest parking in Springdale and taking the free shuttle into the park. The Zion Lodge is inside the park and on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. The Drive is closed to private vehicles and is only accessible by the free shuttle bus. The shuttle service runs from early morning until early evening. The buses are wheelchair accessible and have room for backpacks, climbing gear, and up to three bicycles. While in Zion Canyon, you may get on and oﬀ the shuttle as often as you like.
Besides a campground in the park, there is a Visitor Center, a Park Store, a Canyon Wilderness Desk, a Human History Museum, and a Nature Center. You need to make reservations to stay at the Zion Lodge. The lodge has a dining room, and the café serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which you need reservations for as well. There are grocery stores and convenience stores in Springdale. Leashed pets on 6 feet or less leashes are only allowed on the Pa’rus Trail. There are four easy hiking trails. The Pa’rus.
Trail is 3.5 miles long and takes about 2 hours. It follows the Virgin River from the Visitor Center. The Grotto Trail is a mile long and takes about half an hour. It connects the Zion Lodge to the Grotto. The Lower Emerald Pool Trail is 1.2 miles and takes about an hour. This trail leads you to pools below Middle Emerald Pools and the Upper Emerald Pools. The Riverside Walk is 2.2 miles long and takes about 1.5 hours. It is a paved trail which follows the Virgin River in a deep canyon. There are also moderate and diﬃcult trails to explore.
For experienced climbers, there are two ways to explore the Left Fork (The Subway). Both trips involve extensive route ﬁnding. Visitors are encouraged to travel with an experienced hiker or obtain a detailed route description. Permits are always required regardless of the direction of travel. The Left Fork of North Creek is a day-use area only. Camping is not permitted.
FROM THE BOTTOM AND BACK
This strenuous 9-mile round-trip hike requires route ﬁnding, stream crossing, and scrambling over boulders. This route begins and ends at the Left Fork Trailhead on the Kolob Terrace Road.
FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM
This strenuous 9.5-mile route requires rappelling skills, 60 feet of rope, rappelling gear, harness, a helmet, and extensive route-ﬁnding experience. The route also requires swimming through several deep pools of icy debris-ﬁlled water. The route begins at the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead and ends at the Left Fork Trailhead. Both trailheads are located on the Kolob Terrace Road.
When we were in the park, we saw several deer close to the road and wild turkeys. The park is home to Mountain Lions, although there has never been a report of an attack in the park. Desert bighorn sheep are often seen as well.
The weather when we were there was a little cloudy, so I want to go back during the summer. The rock formations are even more spectacular in the sunshine. Zion National Park is truly a treasure that is close enough to visit in a day. Whether you are a hiker or just want to see the beautiful area, you will not be disappointed.
For more information or questions about your next trip, call Paige MacDonald at A Destination Travel, 702-248-1234 or 702-606-0993.