Vegas: Zion national park

For the last full day in Vegas, another trip to a national park. This time, Zion, a famous national park that is actually across several state lines from Las Vegas, in the southwestern corner of Utah, but doable as a (very long) day trip.

The drive there takes about 3 to 4 hours, but the drive there is already worth it for the scenery, winding through empty desert and wild mountains. It looks like straight out of an old Western movie, with an abandoned mine on one side, rusted railway cars on the other side, and any time now you expect the cavalry to be charging across the hills.

Unlike red rock, Zion is located next to a small town, so there are some shops and restaurants, and a cutesy visitor center built in faux-western style.

The whole national park is huge, but the most interesting area is again along one main road going from the town of Springdale through and to the end of the main canyon valley, along which you are driven by electric shuttle buses, stopping at a dozen lookout points or trailheads.

The whole area is pretty – less stark and extreme than red rock was, since there’s plenty of vegetation in the canyon due to the river running through it. So less spectacular, or at least less different for me, but nevertheless stunningly beautiful.

Just like in red rock, there are plenty of opportunities to go off the main path on little walks or hikes, or scramble across some rocks, to some interesting scenery, or just a pretty view.

At the end of the canyon, the most famous hike in the area starts – “the narrows”. Which means actually wading through the river, so I passed on that for today.

Although the refreshing water was very welcome. As you can see in my face, the temperatures again climbed to a nice and balmy 99 fahrenheit (though the narrow canyon provided more shady spots than in red rock).

Proof of the temperature

On the way back out of the canyon, decided to walk instead of taking the shuttle. Nature is best experienced when going slow.

Me and my faithful steed rented Toyota driving back to Vegas into the sunset.

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