After such a fun week at the state park, we made it to the highly-anticipated Zion National Park! I had such high expectations for this park and its beauty, but the first day was so cloudy that it ended up just being a fun hiking day and the beauty didn’t overwhelm.
Our 2nd day which I will post soon, the sun came out and it was so much more captivating! Maybe any park that followed our now-favorite Grand Canyon would be a little under whelming. Either way, it was a great 2 days!
Everybody warned us how crowded Zion would be but that really was a non-issue. We had to park in neighboring Springdale for $12 but were able to walk right to the park entrance and had no problems catching shuttles all day. It’s not Memorial Day yet, all the “normal” kiddos are still in school, and it was Mother’s Day Weekend so it was probably just a great time to visit!
We did “up canyon” the first day – which was stops 6 through 9 on the shuttle.
Weeping Rock was interesting and gave us our first of many head scratching moments as we wondered, “are they sure this is a desert?”
After Weeping Rock, we went to the Big Bend area, not to be confused with Big Bend National Park in Texas which the girls still say is their fave!
Just picture what this would like with blue skies and bright sun – the colors would be popping! It was still pretty 🙂
Then we were off to the Riverwalk. The narrows were closed because of the amount of water rushing through. We couldn’t even get a glimpse of the narrows which was definitely on the bucket list to hike.
But again – are we sure this is a desert? It’s so lush and green and there’s so much water!
So green! And moss too:
Beautiful desert, huh?
AB found a good spot to work on her Junior Ranger book:
So enough head scratching – yes the park is IN a desert (with less than 12 inches of rainfall a year in this area) but it has many different climate zones because of the differences in elevation. The Virgin River which cuts through Zion Canyon (and is a tributary of the Colorado River) makes everything so pretty and green. We hear there’s been a lot more rainfall than normal this year, imagine that. Every state was affected.
After lots of walking and dinner at the Lodge, we had ice cream in Springdale and picked up Betty to do some more driving exploring since the clouds weren’t agreeing with us.
Zion isn’t a large park. It’s only 229 square miles. So the shuttle takes you up and down the river to those 9 stops. There’s no driving allowed up that path besides the shuttle. But you can drive through the park and east. They had to blast through a mountain to make this tunnel and we loved there were windows you could see out. It’s a mile long tunnel! After coming out of the tunnel – you enter what I like to call Dr Seuss National Park. I had no idea what I was looking at, couldn’t figure out the order to anything and I felt crooked the whole time haha.
We were SO pumped to see these guys in the wild! Big-horned sheep:
This guy had a 3 year old-like hide and seek technique. “You can’t see me because I can’t see you”:
And babies too!!!! Ohh those babies were exploring big time. I wonder if the parents want them to explore or if the boy there in front (we will call him RR) has just gotten his 2 sisters in a jam. Here’s how I picture it all going down…..
RR: “Girls. Relax. It’s this way I promise. Just coooome on”
E: “that’s it! I’m going back”
RR: “hurry before Daddy see us”
E: “I told you not to go too far from mom. Waaaaaa”
AB: “wow I’m getting faster. Look how fast I can go on the edge”
RR: “hmmmm well I thought this was the way”
AB: “cool! I can see all the way to Arizona!”
E: “I’m not going a step further. A step!”
RR: “you’re on some of my scat”
E: “AB, just come with me. I’m going back to mom and we will just explain it was RR’s idea”
E: “I can do this. I can do hard things. I was made for this. Sheep do this all the time.”
AB: “sorry E . Just one minute. Need a snack and these bushes are YUMMY”
E: “I will not fall. I am sheep”
AB: “omgoodness did you try this bush over here!?”
E: “never again. Never! I am staying right next to mommy forever”
AB: “ohh do you smell that? Which bush is that?”
I think only people who know my 3 could really appreciate my humor. 🙂
This area east of the tunnel really was amazing. I can only imagine how cool this would have been with direct sun because it was fascinating with little light!
Before we crossed back through we parked and hiked up Canyon Overlook Trail.
I won’t post too many pictures because the grandmothers would freak. This trail had some tricky and slippery curves for sure. But what a view at the top!
That’s the road we drove on to get to the tunnel. Isn’t it crazy looking!?
It was a happy first day at Zion!