This month marks the fifth time I will travel to southern Utah for work. Whether it’s been a meeting in Kanab or a field visit in rural Beaver County, projects have brought me to the high Utah desert more than once. Yet, over all these trips, I have yet to make it to Zion National Park. I’ve been less than an hour from this natural wonder more than once, but simply haven’t had the time to visit.
That should be changing on this trip. Hopefully.
Sandwiching Hiking Between Meetings
Serendipitously, I have two separate projects in southern Utah requiring work travel the same week. With the first taking up half of Monday and the second half of Wednesday, this leaves me Tuesday to pretty much do what I’d like. And visiting Zion is what I’d definitely like to do.
Visiting midweek at the end of September seems ideal, too. With summer crowds gone and the winter chill not yet here, the park should be both pleasant and not all that crowded. It’s known for being of the busiest parks in the nation.
The big question is: which hike do I pick?
Top Zion Hikes I’m Considering
- Angels’ Landing – This is a quintessential favorite in the park. Trouble is, I’ve completely missed the window for getting a seasonal permit. Best I can do is apply in the lottery a day before the hike. If I get it, this’ll be the likely choice.
- The Narrows – Completely different than the other two, this is a slot canyon hike. It’ll take most of the day. A cyanobacteria bloom in the Virgin River could kill this option, though.
- West Rim Trail – If I truly decide to take all day for a hike, this is a top choice. It sounds like it has good views and isn’t crowded. The last time I was in Yosemite National Park in California, it felt like Disneyland. I’d love to leave that feeling behind. If the other two don’t work out, this is the backup plan.
- Canyon Overlook Trail – This hike will likely get added on to any larger day plan. It appears to be only an hour and offer excellent views. If I hike West Rim, I might slip in either late Monday or early Wednesday for this one.
I’m excited about the upcoming visit. Living in a rather temperate climate where we get plenty of rain, the desert has always charmed me. It’s such an interesting change from conifer forests and frequent coastal fog. And Zion looks like one of the most spectacular desert places to visit.
Have you visited Zion National Park? What hike would you recommend?