My trip to Zion National Park was absolutely breathtaking and I’m sharing my travel adventures to this magical place. My girlfriends and I planned a super last minute trip to visit the beautiful national park. It was my very first hiking and canyoning trip. This getaway was a much needed break from reality and a way to celebrate being alive in this amazing place.
Zion National Park is located in southern Utah and has some of the most incredible scenic canyons in the U.S. Utah is considered one of the driest places in North America, yet within Springdale is a spring that provides the lifeline to the surrounding cities.
August is smack dab in the middle of peak season for Zion National Park and it goes through September. We worked quickly to book our flight, lodging, and transportation. It’s much cheaper to fly into Las Vegas and take the 2.5 hour drive to Springdale, Utah than it is to fly into any of the smaller Utah cities. We found roundtrip tickets for less than $200 on Southwest and AA. Even though we had planned a pretty aggressive trip, our first day didn’t go quite as planned…
We originally intended to fly in early (land at 8am), make the drive, and start hiking our butts off by noon, but Dallas had different plans for us. One of the girls was stuck at DFW airport for 8 hours while me and my other friend were waiting in Vegas. Not a bad place to kill time I have to say.
My friend Hillary and I decided to explore Vegas while we waited for the monsoon in Dallas to dissipate and for DFW to get their sh*t together. So we picked up our car and buzzed around the city. For this trip, I partnered with Mitsubishi and Drive Shop. They sponsored my car rental and it was the cutest, pink car ever. Not your typical hiking car, but it made us all giggle. No better way to scream city girl than with this! I laughed so hard when this little bug of a car pulled around the corner.
I had a blast zipping around in this Mistubishi Mirage. Perfect pop of color in all our photos. Before hitting the road, we killed time in one of the best foodie cities ever. That included this rose gelato from Amorino. They are actually opening a spot in Houston and possibly Dallas soon.
Then we stuffed our faces with burgers from Wahl Burger and caught a Gondola ride.
We had still hoped to take some sort of hike later on, so day drinking wasn’t an option unfortunately. Once we scooped up Mel from the airport, we finally hit the road around 2:30pm.
Of course, we made the best of it and were just grateful we were all finally together. The drive was so scenic and beautiful. It was so vast and this was just the beginning of the trip. We hadn’t even begun to see the beauty of the canyons. We stopped in Hurricane city for additional supplies like water and more snacks. We bought way more food and water than we needed. Might as well have been preparing for an apocalypse.
Being my first hiking trip, I was really nervous about what to pack. Aside from workout apparel, athletic shoes and toiletries, it does get kind of tricky packing all the other stuff you need for the actual hike. Let’s just say we definitely overplanned. Here’s a round up of things to bring with you:
- Transitional workout gear and/or layers. It was mostly warm in Utah. We enjoyed beautiful 80s and 90s weather. It never got blisteringly hot like it does in Dallas and we were in the shade the most part during out trip. It wasn’t humid or muggy. I was most concerned about heat exhaustion, but our hikes were covered. You will experience cooler weather in the mornings and at nights so a light pull over jacket is highly recommended. I recommend getting socks with the tabs on the back. You’ll be walking for hours so aim to be as comfortable as possible.
- Waterproof hiking back pack. Make sure it has padding in the straps so that it’s comfortable. I ordered mine from Amazon for $20. You’ll be carrying your snacks, water, camera, and any additional gear you want to bring a long. I loved all the pockets in mine.
- Ziploc bags and/or dry bags. Ziplocs are great to carry food. The dry bags are most useful to keep your clothes, food, camera dry when/if you get into the water.
- Sunscreen. Because skin cancer. Duh.
- Water bottle. I brought my thermoflask because I enjoy ice cold water. I brought 3 extra water bottles to refill along the way. It’s good to get one with a handle that you can clip onto.
- Snacks: Our goal was to bring anything that would survive the heat and travel and provide energy. You need your carbs and protein. We brought jerky, protein bars, cuties, apples, cookies, and tuna packs.
- Portable battery: Since there was no service, my battery life didn’t die as quickly. I put it on airplane mode and used it for photos and SnapChats (since I can resend snap chats later). I didn’t use my battery once, but it was nice to have anyway as a security blanket.
- Shoes: Aside from good socks, I’d bring 2 pairs of athletic shoes. You do have the option to rent shoes which I will go into detail about later.
- Sunnies and a cap or hat. I wouldn’t recommend bringing anything expensive in case you lose or break something.
Once we arrived in Springdale, we checked into the Quality Inn. It was worth the money to spring for a hotel than it was to get an AirBnb. We had a microwave, mini fridge and your usual accommodations. At the time, the rate was $140 a night which wasn’t bad at all. We didn’t look into camp sites so I don’t have any info on that. I will say if you try and go for Airbnb, most are outside the city and just not worth the drive in and out of the city, especially after a long day. It’s easily a 40 minute drive. If you plan early enough, I’m sure you can find more options for lodging than we did. It is crazy how quickly those rooms go! Our hotel was at full capacity that weekend.
After dropping off our stuff, we had maybe 2 hours of sun light left and we quickly learned that it’s not recommended to do anything after 3pm. We were also there during their monsoon season and flash floods do occur mostly in the afternoons. So we drove up a steep canyon road and took a few moments to look over the canyon.
My friends were way to close to the edge for my comfort. So I happily stood back. I can jump out of planes, rappel down building, cliff jump into lakes, but I CANNOT stand on the edge and just look down. No way!
The city of Springdale is such a cute little town. Very homey and cozy. I imagine a barren country city with crappy little diners but it was actually a perfect family town. There are quite a few restaurants, coffee shops, and other boutique stores to peruse if that’s your thing. Super casual and laid back. Each business was unique and eccentric. The food wasn’t bad either.
Did you know, outside of Las Vegas, you can easily travel to the Grand Canyon National park, Antelope Canyon, Arches National Park, and Bryce National Park? The drive from Vegas into Arizona or Utah is not Texas ridiculous where you can drive for 15 hours and still be in the same state. Definitely something to keep in mind when planning your next trip!
Our first day ended up being the perfect way to ease into the weekend. Even though I consider myself a relatively fit person, I was worried about my endurance and if I could survive the heat and the hike. More on that in my next two blogs!