My first few days in the area, I stayed at Watchman Campground in Zion National Park. I could only get a reservation for a few days, so after that I moved just down the road to a private campground in Virgin, UT.
My campsite at Watchman campground in the national park--
I had been to Zion National Park a long time ago, when you could drive the scenic drive. Now, you must take the shuttle bus on the scenic drive. I didn’t think I would like it, but it worked out great. I walked the Riverside walk twice. It is a very simple walk that leads to the Zion Narrows.
You can just make out a few people in the lower right corner. This was on a detour of the actual trail. In many parks, it seems there are fewer rangers/workers – I’m guessing due to budget issues. But they were doing some major work on part of this trail. Glad to see them trying to keep the park nice!
Below is at the end of the Riverside Walk. From here the trail becomes The Narrows Trail (mostly walking in the river). But it was closed for a few days as the river was running faster than normal.
The spring wildflowers were just starting to bloom. Below is a Columbine, that was blooming on the cliff beside the trail.
Since visiting several Utah National Parks, I have seen many foreigners. An example of the parks recognizing this --
The sign on the plastic recycle bin has 11 languages on it!
I did a few trails at the park. One of them was the Emerald Pools Trail. The 2 pictures below were taken at the first of the 3 pools on the trail.
Just a view from one of the bus stops -
If you travel to the east side of Zion, you go through a long tunnel. Once out of the tunnel the scenery is quite different. Just outside the tunnel is the Overlook Trail. I enjoyed this hike!
It immediately heads up and you have a good view of the tunnel.
The trail travels along Pine Creek Canyon and is beautiful.
The view from the overlook at the end is below. If you look carefully in the middle of the picture, you can see the road as it winds up the canyon, leading to the tunnel. (you can double click the photo to enlarge it)
From the overlook, you can also see one of the windows that are in the tunnel. I wanted to get a picture with a car or so you can see the size of the window.
After the trail, I did the drive on this side of the park. One of popular rock formations is Checkerboard Mesa --
I also visited several places not in the park. I went on one hike in Snow Canyon State Park and really had a good time on the Hidden Pinyon Rocks trail. On this trail there were a couple of places I had to scramble down some rocks and was a bit concerned about how I would get back up on the way back to the trailhead. I am sure that I could have, but fortunately at the end of the trail I realized that I could connect back to a walking/biking path and had a much easier walk back to the car.
I had to scramble down some rocks and then under the rocks above. It was fun and gorgeous!!
The rest of Zion and Virgin will be in part 2, which I will post tomorrow.