Destination: Zion National Park (PART 2)

We had two full nights in Zion National Park this past October, which gave us just a taste of what the place had to offer. After a scenic first day, my dad and I actually did a half-day trip to Bryce Canyon just two hours away (more on that in another post), and so upon returning to Zion in the afternoon, we only did a few stops at the pull-outs for some photos before heading back into Springdale, where we got an early dinner once more.

We went to the same restaurant as we had the night before, this time ordering a basket of chips and fresh guac and salsa. This time, I ordered tofu tacos, which were actually pretty good: the tofu was blackened and had some spices add to it for flavor, and it came with hearty rice and beans. Although I’m not a vegetarian, I wanted something light as to not put me in a food coma, and the tofu tacos were just right. Paired with a generic Sauvignon-Merlot blend, I was satisfied with the meal.

20211013_155402Tofu tacos for dinner

Just before leaving Zion, we decided to do one last hike on our final morning in town. After checking out of our hotel, we headed towards the park entrance to get started. However, it happened to be that Zion’s parking inside was already full…all before 9:00! That meant we had to park in Springdale, and we were lucky to snag a spot by the road just a few meters from the park’s entrance– granted, we had to pay $20 to park, but it was good for a full day’s worth. And thankfully, our hike was just at the base of the park’s entrance, so it wasn’t as if we needed to head 10 miles deep inside just to start the hike.

We did the Pa’rus Trail, a 3.5-mile loop with views of the distinctive Watchman mountain and Virgin River. To be honest, it’s more of a stroll than hike, as the trail is all evenly-paved for bikers and pedestrians to enjoy. Only thing to be concerned about is avoiding the bikers, some who literally zip up behind you!

20211014_085000The Watchman and Virgin River in the distance

The scenery was incredibly stunning, with the contrast of the jagged Watchman and brilliant blue Virgin River being absolutely striking. Along with the Canyon Overlook Trail we had done on our first day in Zion, the Pa’rus Trail offered a beautiful and accessible taste of Zion’s natural wonders. We completed the stroll in two hours and soon enough headed back to our car to leave Zion for our next road trip destination.

20211014_082142The Watchman and Virgin River

Overall, we didn’t do as much in Zion as we could have, due to the fact that we didn’t opt to take the shuttles deep into the park, nor did we hike the challenging trails (Angels Landing, The Narrows). Rather, we chose the scenic drive from west to east along the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, which still offered great views of some of the most-renown rock formations of the park, e.g. Twin Brothers, East Temple. Plus, the couple of hikes we did (Canyon Overlook, Pa’rus Trail) were easy enough and provided great views. Zion National Park is a beautiful part of Utah, and I’d be keen on returning someday, perhaps to challenge myself to Angels Landing once I gain more hiking experience.

Thanks for reading– more to come soon!

— The Finicky Cynic

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2 thoughts on “Destination: Zion National Park (PART 2)

  1. I know that feeling of missing out on some difficult terrain by staying on the main road or trails. Real nature is sometimes difficult to reach without good preparation, because it is wild.

    1. rebbit7

      Yes, nature really is that wild. I’ve heard that tourists have died while trying the challenging trails like Angels Landing, due to lack of hiking experience and under-preparation. Sometimes, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

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