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  • The 10 Best Spots To Catch Sunrise or Sunset in Zion National Park

    There is something about a desert sunset that just hits different. It is always such a thrill to watch the light dance and the colors bounce off the red canyon walls. In Zion National Park the sun rises and lights up the sandstone cliffs in vibrant orange and when the sun sets the pinks and oranges come out and light up the desert sky. It's a magical show that you get to watch twice a day.......if you're lucky! Being a photographer in Zion, sunrises and sunsets are my life. The beautiful glow that happens in the early morning and later in the evening make for beautiful photos and so I have spent a fair amount of time figuring out the best places in Zion to capture that sunrise/sunset magic. It does take a little work to find the perfect spot to watch the show because many times the massive cliffs are blocking the view......rude! ;-) The trick to Zion is making sure you get higher than the sandstone cliffs or head to a spot that is a bit more open. ARE DESERT SUNSETS REALLY MORE BEAUTIFUL? It is actually true that sunsets of more beautiful in the desert. Because Zion is dry and there is generally less people and air pollution the sunsets and sunrises are more colorful because you can see them better. There is some solid science behind it but since it all goes totally over my head, I will send you to this article to explain it better. There are plenty of spots to enjoy a breathtaking sunrise or sunset in Zion. I have put together a list of my favorite places to watch the sunrise or sunset in Zion National Park to help you figure out where to go and how to time it so that you will be there to watch the magic unfold. Timber Creek Overlook Canyon Overlook Watchman Trail Observation Point Kolob Terrace Angels Landing East Zion Towers Of the Virgin Canyon Junction Bridge Court Of the Patriarchs There are some spots that are super easy to get to and there are some spots that require a little more work but they are all stunning and you can't go wrong with any of them. ***Sunset at Timber Creek Overlook 1 - TIMBER CREEK OVERLOOK LOCATION Located in the Kolob Canyons section of Zion, Timber Creek Overlook is the last stop on the 5 mile scenic drive. LENGTH 1.1 miles round trip TRAIL DETAILS Timber Creek Overlook is a well marked trail and shorter distance to get to some epic views. The trail has stunning views along the entire trail but the end it where you get the 360 degree views with a vast view of rich red mountains and miles upon miles of wild desert. If you hike around times when it has rained or snowed the trail can be very muddy Sunrise/Sunset Details The overlook at sunset will light up the walls of the soaring cliffs to the east. Watching them turn a vivid orange is spectacular. At the overlook the contrasting red mountains with the greenery below create beautiful & vivid colors early in the morning and just after the sun sets in the West. My favorite time to hike this trail is at sunset! ***Sunrise at Canyon Overlook 2 - CANYON OVERLOOK LOCATION Just east of the Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel, above Zion Canyon LENGTH 1.25 miles round trip TRAIL DETAILS The is a fun and short hike that packs a major punch at the end with the most epic views. The hike can get very busy and parking can be very hard to find so plan accordingly. RELATED: Details for Hiking Canyon Overlook Trail - Zion National Park Sunrise/Sunset Details I have hiked Canyon Overlook many many times for sunrise and sunset in Zion. It is one of our most popular photography locations. Sunrise at Canyon Overlook means watching the sun light up the sandstone cliffs. The view faces to the west so you don't actually watch the sunrise. You will see the tips slowly get brighter and more vibrant. During the summer months the sun will go down before your eyes and you will have a chance of getting the sunset colors about 20-30 minutes after it dips below the cliffs. During the winter months the sun goes behind the cliffs a good 1-2 hours before sunset. ***Sunset at the top of Watchman Trail 3 - WATCHMAN TRAIL LOCATION This trail starts at the Zion Visitor Center next to the west entrance station. LENGTH 3 miles round trip TRAIL DETAILS The hike start at the visitor center and heads towards the south campground. Walk along the east side of the Virgin River and then climb your way to the top. This hike has some steady and steep elevation gain and can get pretty muddy if it has rained or snowed recently. At the top don't miss the loop trail you can follow to get views of Springdale, Watchman Mountain, and up the canyon. RELATED: Hiking Details for Watchman Trail - Zion National Park Sunrise/Sunset Details This hike is in the entrance to Zion Canyon so the views are a little closed in. For sunrise the sun is blocked by towering cliffs but you will see the mountains to the west slowly light up. There are views of Springdale, The Watchman Mountain, and up the canyon so if the clouds decide to light up this is a fun place to watch it. I like the light on this trail a little more for sunset because it isn't quite as blocked. ***Sunset at Observation Point 4 - Observation Point LOCATION You could once hike this trail from the canyon floor but a massive rock slide closed it 4 years ago. To get to Observation Point these days you will take East Mesa trail from the north/east side of Zion. LENGTH 6.5 miles round trip TRAIL DETAILS You'll be hiking in the dark one way regardless if you want to watch sunrise or sunset. The trail has some elevation gain. The temperatures are a bit cooler because of the elevation, so be sure to dress appropriately. Sunrise/Sunset Details Observation Point is one of the grandest views in Zion National Park. Angels Landing is dwarfed by the magnitude of Zion Canyon from this vantage point. The Virgin River is 2500 feet directly below you and Zion Canyon extends to the horizon. Sunset and sunrise are both great here. You will be looking down the canyon to the south. ***Sunset in the meadow along Kolob Terrace Road 5 - KOLOB TERRACE MEADOW LOCATION 14 miles drive up the Kolob Terrace Road starting in Virgin. LENGTH You can watch the sunset from your car or take a little trail deeper into the meadow. TRAIL DETAILS To get a little closer to the view of the Zion Canyon in the distance you will walk a little trail about .25 miles round trip. The trail is a little rocky in spots and in the winter months the trail might be completely covered by snow. Sunrise/Sunset Details The view of the meadow faces south so the sun comes up and goes down to the sides of you. Because the views are so wide this is a great spot the watch the clouds move through the sky. Sunset glows on the sandstone cliffs In the distance and totally lights them up. It is stunning to watch. ***Sunset at Angels Landing 6 - Angels Landing LOCATION This trail starts at The Grotto, shuttle stop #5. Cross the road, go over the bridge, go to the right and you are on your way. If you go to the left you will be on the Kayenta Trail. In the winter when shuttles are not going, there is a parking lot. Parking in the winter during the day will be hard to find. LENGTH 4.8 miles round trip PERMIT INFO Because Angel's Landing is such an awesome hike it has become very popular and very crowded. When it get's too busy on the chains it makes hiking unsafe.....and not fun. So the park implemented a permit system starting April 1st 2022. The permits are issued quarterly or the day before. TRAIL DETAILS The start of the trail will take you along the Virgin River. As you veer away from the river, you will begin the switchbacks and intense elevation gain. Before you reach the first top section called Scout’s Lookout, you will get the joy (haha) of climbing 21 steep switchbacks known as Walter’s Wiggles. From here you will start on the real fun stuff.....the chains and steep drop-offs. As long as you hold on to the chains, go slow and are careful with your footing, there is nothing to be scared of. RELATED: Hiking Details For Angels Landing - Zion National Park Sunrise/Sunset Details There are excellent views along the entire hike, and the views get better and better as you climb. The hike to the top is about 1500 vertical feet. Sunrise or sunset, it doesn't matter, it will be spectacular either way. During the months that the shuttle is running it will be hard to watch sunrise or sunset from the top of Angels Landing because of the schedule. Rent an e-bike and ride the canyon so you can go our earlier or stay out later. You will skip the crowds and heat as well. ***Sunset among the cliffs in East Zion 7 - East Zion LOCATION The east section of Zion is just past the Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel LENGTH It just depends where you pull over. You might have to climb a little or a lot TRAIL DETAILS Pull over on one of the many pull outs along the highway 9 in East Zion. Scramble the slick rock up, up, up so you will have a good vantage point to watch sunrise or sunset. Sunrise/Sunset Details The most stunning views will most likely be of the layered mountains facing to the west but you could get lucky and find a great spot to watch sunrise from the east. Sunrise or sunset from any of the higher up vantage points will be stunning. ***Sunset on a cloudy day 8 - TOWER OF THE VIRGINS LOCATION The Zion Human History Museum inside the park LENGTH No hiking involved TRAIL DETAILS There is a covered viewing deck with benches just behind the Zion Human History Museum with a stunning view of Tower of the Virgins. There is plenty of parking. This is the perfect spot if you want something comfortable and easy. Sunrise/Sunset Details The view faces to the west so you don't actually watch the sunrise. The sun will slowly light up the cliffs and turn them a vibrant orange. For sunset cross your fingers and hope that you get a light show with some clouds. That is always my favorite. ***Sunset on the bridge 9 - CANYON JUNCTION BRIDGE LOCATION The Canyon Junction Bridge is right at the junction of Highway 9 and the road the goes into the canyon. LENGTH This is a drive up spot unless you take the Pa'Rus Trail starting at the Visitor Center or Human History Museum. TRAIL DETAILS You can walk or ride your bike along the Pa'Rus Trail to get to Canyon Junction Bridge or you can drive and park up just after the bridge. Parking is limited so plan accordingly. Sunrise/Sunset Details The Canyon Junction Bridge is one of the most iconic locations in Zion National Park, offering an amazing view of the Virgin River and The Watchman. This spot is particularly good at sunset when The Watchman glows red and the curving Virgin River reflects the sky. There are 2 other bridges below the Canyon Junction Bridge that are also great for watching sunrise or sunset. You can also walk to the river just below the bridge to get away from the crowds on the bridge and get another great perspective. ***Sunrise on the river at Court Of the Patriarchs 10 - COURT OF THE PATRIARCHS LOCATION The Court of the Patriarchs is the first stop in Zion Canyon LENGTH No hiking involved TRAIL DETAILS The Court of the Patriarchs is the first stop in Zion Canyon with a short, paved trail leading to an overlook. This is a nice view but is very limited in composition opportunities. You can also cross the road and go down to the edge of the Virgin River for a beautiful composition of the river and sharp peaks. Further back along the paved road is a bridge crossing the Virgin River. A short trail leads to the left and down to the river just before the bridge. The 3 Patriarchs rise above the bridge and create a classic Zion composition. Sunrise/Sunset Details This entire area is incredible and usually uncrowded. Continue across the bridge and follow the trail for more surprises as the cliff walls rise directly above you. This is one of my favorite areas in Zion to shoot, so go and see why:). BONUS IDEA - SUNSET JEEP TOUR WITH EAST ZION ADVENTURES Take a rugged and bumpy adventure ride in a tricked-out open-air Jeep to catch stunning views of the sun setting behind the Zion cliffs with East Zion Adventures. I did the 1.5 hour tour a couple summers ago with my girlfriend. The ride was rugged, bumpy, and so much fun. The jeeps were open air and more than capable of taking on the steeped hills and crazy dirt roads. At the top of the knoll, we had time to relax, take in the views and enjoy the show as the sun descended behind the towering cliffs of Zion National Park. It was the perfect evening! I hope this list inspires you to watch a sunrise or sunset during you time in Zion National Park. It is a magical experience to watch the cliffs light up and it never happens the exact some way. Be prepared to be surprised and delighted. Happy Adventuring, Arika CHECK OUT THESE OTHER RELATED POSTS

  • The Dwellings; Best Place To Stay in La Verkin, UT - Outside Zion National Park

    In a little town, just 25 minutes from Zion National Park, sits a modern tiny home property on the rim of the Virgin River, overlooking a beautiful 344-acre park below. The setting is incredible, with views of the emerald-colored river against the backdrop of lava rock cliffs and panoramic views of Pine Valley Mountain. I know The Dwellings well because it is right around the corner from where I live. We also went on a little staycation to The Dwellings a few summers ago to experience it fully. We loved our stay, and I always recommend The Dwellings to families and travelers visiting Southern Utah. ABOUT THE DWELLINGS - BEST LODGING OPTION IN LA VERKIN, UT The Dwellings in La Verkin, Utah is a modern, eco-friendly, tiny home rental property with 13 dwellings and all the familiar comforts and necessities of a home away from home. Inside every dwelling, you will find a great balance of modern designs, classic touches, and technology features. Each Dwelling has a small kitchen, private patio, and cocktail bar in the backyard. The property is within walking distance of coffee and dining options and has direct access to the Confluence Park Trail. There is a communal fire pit lit seasonally by staff on request, and there is no need to worry about thin walls and noisy neighbors keeping you up at night because the tiny homes are separate from each other. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH - CLICK TO LEARN MORE WHERE IS THE DWELLINGS LOCATED The Dwellings is located in the Hurricane Valley with the convenience of being 5 minutes from a Walmart and surrounded by tons of desert beauty, hiking, and red rocks. To get to The Dwellings, you can fly into Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport, rent a car and drive 2 hours. You can also fly into the Saint George Regional airport. This airport is much smaller with minimal flight options, but if you can find one that works for you, the time savings and convenience will be a huge bonus. It's only a 30-minute drive. The next closest major airport is Salt Lake City. Salt Lake is a 4-hour drive. DRIVING DISTANCES The Dwellings is within easy driving distance to so much and is a great option as your home base when exploring all that Southern Utah has to offer. Lake Powell - 2 hours Kanab - 1 hour Coral Pink Sand Dunes - 40 minutes North Rim of Grand Canyon - 2 hours Snow Canyon State Park - 35 minutes Valley Of Fire State Park - 1 hour 45 minutes Zion National Park - 30 minutes Bryce Canyon National Park - 2 hours Las Vegas - 2 hours Cedar City - 45 minutes Saint George - 20 minutes Brian Head - 1 hour 30 minutes Duck Creek - 1 hour CHECK OUT THIS RELATED POST: SMALL TOWN BIG ADVENTURE - A GUDIE TO VISITING HURRICANE VALLEY. CONFLUENCE PARK From The Dwellings you can take a short trail down to Confluence Park. Confluence Park is a 344-acre park that sits in a gorge just below The Dwellings. The Confluence Park Trail runs along the Virgin River with croppings of lava rock, historical buildings, and plenty of areas to play and swim along the river. There are three entry points to this trail. One route starts at the end of Main Street in Hurricane, one begins at Power Plant Park in La Verkin, and the easiest and flattest trailhead starts at the north end of La Verkin. But if you are staying at The Dwellings you will have your very own access point. Our favorite thing about Confluence Park is that it leads to a fun area with a sandy beach, picnic benches, a great swimming spot, and a rope swing! What kid doesn't love a rope swing, right? OUR EXPERIENCE STAYING AT THE DWELLINGS Our staycation at The Dwellings was such a fun little getaway. The tiny homes are the perfect size for our family of four. I loved the clean and modern design, and the kitchen was fully stocked if we wanted to do a little cooking. My kiddo's favorite part was the outdoor patio. We ate dinner and cereal in the morning at the wine bar overlooking Confluence Park. With views like that, you gotta take advantage. Watching the sunset from the property in the evening was magical. One of the best things about The Dwellings is where it is situated. The Dwellings is right next to my two favorite things, River Rock Roasting Company and Confluence Park. After we checked in and explored the property, we headed over to River Rock for a cinnamon roll (the best cinnamon roll you will ever eat), and then we headed down to walk along the river at Confluence Park. My kiddos love walking along the trail, exploring, swinging at the rope swings, and swimming in the river. Since we live in La Verkin we hang out at Confluence Park a lot. If you want to explore all that Southern Utah has to offer, I highly recommend making The Dwellings your base camp for adventure. We loved every minute of our stay in this beautiful property with a unique desert setting. A Two Day Family Itinerary for staying at The Dwellings Here is a sample itinerary to give you an idea of what is possible when staying at The Dwelling. Because it is so close to so much you can pack a lot in in one day. Day 1 - Zion Day Morning - Stop at the visitor center for a junior ranger handbook Hike Riverside Walk Picnic lunch at The Lodge Afternoon - Hike Emerald Pools Day 2 - Snow Canyon/Sand Hollow Morning - Jenny's Canyon slot canyon hike Run and play at the Sand Dunes Explore the Petrified Dunes Afternoon - Cliff Jumping at Sand Hollow When I say that The Dwellings is close to so many things to do, I'm not kidding! Check out this list of 12 things to do that are all within 45 minutes of The Dwellings and CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE - 25 THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN THE HURRICANE VALLEY 1 - Visit Grafton Ghost Town 2 - Tube the Virgin River 3 - Hike Red Reef trail at Red Cliffs National Reserve 4 - Visit Snow Canyon State Park 5 - Play In the river at Sheep's Bridge Park 6 - Hike Lambs Knoll 7 - Visit Kolob Canyons 8 - Go Cliff jumping at Sand Hollow 9 - Hike Zion Canyon 10 - Hike Kanarra Falls Trail 11 - Take An ATV/UTV Sand Dune Tour 12 - Visit Veyo Pool and Crawdad Canyon Have I talked you into visiting the Hurricane Valley and making The Dwellings your home base? Staying at The Dwellings means you have easy access to great places to eat, shopping, and great hiking. Even if don't plan to do much but spend time with your people you will still have epic views and nature right out your door. Happy Adventuring, Arika CHECK OUT THESE RELATED BLOG POSTS

  • 16 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting Zion

    Visiting a national park for the first time can be very overwhelming. There is so much to know about weather, must-see spots, travel conditions, where to stay etc. Growing up 30 minutes from Zion National Park and working with clients who are often first-time visitors to Zion means I get asked a lot of questions about visiting Zion. I love helping people plan their trip to Zion, and I am always happy to help, so I have put together a list of all the questions I get asked most. Here is my list of the 16 things you should know before visiting Zion. 1 - CAN WE DRIVE TO CANYON OVERLOOK? The Zion shuttle runs from early March through November. Outside of those times (it does run again over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays), you can drive your car into Zion Canyon. CHECK OUT THE SHUTTLE SCHEDULE HERE. The Zion shuttle ONLY runs to Zion Canyon. Everywhere outside Zion Canyon is accessible via car. Canyon Overlook is located in the East Zion section of the park and is only accessible via car. The shuttle is free, and no reservation is needed. In the summer, when the park is the busiest, mornings are crowded with long lines. Afternoons are less busy and usually have no line. 2 - WHAT DO WE DO IF IT IS STORMY IN ZION? If you are visiting Zion in the summer from July through September you need to know that there is a big chance of encountering evening storms. This is monsoon season in Zion. Prevailing winds over the desert southwest shift to bring more moisture up from the Gulf of California. This leads to thunderstorms regulary rolling in during the afternoons. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH - CLICK TO LEARN MORE The monsoon rains can cause flash flooding, so if you are in a slot canyon like The Narrows or hiking along a stream, river, or dry streambed, there is a chance of flash flooding. Always check the weather. Things to do if it's a stormy day in Zion Take a drive up Kolob Terrace road. Head to Snow Canyon State Park 1 hour away Grab an umbrella and walk the Pa'Rus trail Go to the Zion Human history museum. Sit under the viewing deck and watch the clouds come and go around Tower Of the Virgins. Put on your raincoat and hike to Scouts Landing of Angels Landing. Take the shuttle to The Zion Lodge and Temple of Sinewava. Both have great waterfalls to watch from there. Get a coffee at Deep Creek and then walk across the road and visit the art galleries in Springdale. 3 - HOW HOT DOES IT GET IN ZION? In the summer the heat can reach up to 115 degrees. If you are visiting in the summer be prepared. Heat illness is the cause of many medical emergencies in Zion every summer. Carry and drink at least one gallon of water per person per day. Pace yourself, wear sun protection, and hike in the early or later parts of the day. Tips to beat the heat Early mornings are always the best time of day to start hiking if you want your best shot at beating the heat. Evenings are also great. Chose water hikes like The Narrows, Riverside Walk, Lower Pine Creek Falls or Taylor Creek. Ice cream is always the great way to cool off, right?!? We love getting a soft serve cone at Castle Dome Cafe at the Zion Lodge and eating it while sitting on the grassy field in front of the lodge. It is about as good as it gets. Finding spots to splash and play along the Virgin River is a great way to cool off from the summer sun. A few of our favorite spots include, the many paths down to the river along the Pa'rus trail, anywhere along Riverside Walk, Canyon Junction has a fun spot to slide down the rocks and into the river, and Springdale Park. 4 - WHAT ARE THE PARK HOURS? The park never closes. The entrance station is only open at certain times of the day but the park never closes. If you drive into the park early in the day or later in the evening and the entrance station is closed, that just means that you don't need to show your park pass or pay the entrance fee. 5 - WHERE SHOULD WE GO IN ZION? Zion National Park is made up of 229 square miles of land and is comprised of four main sections. ZION (MAIN) CANYON This is the busiest section of Zion and is only accessible via shuttle for the majority of the year (see below for details on navigating the shuttle). Zion Canyon is where you go for iconic hikes like Angels Landing and the Narrows. EAST ZION East Zion is located on the east side of the Mt. Carmel Tunnel. It is at a higher elevation, just above Zion Canyon, and temps run 5-10 degrees cooler. Great hikes include Canyon Overlook, Many Pools, and off-the-beaten-path exploring along Clear Creek. KOLOB CANYON One of Zion's best-kept secrets, Kolob Canyon is tucked into the northwest corner of Zion National Park. Soaring cliffs of red Navajo Sandstone and breathtaking views are the highlight along a stunning 5-mile scenic drive. The canyons are easily accessed from Interstate 15. Our favorite family-friendly hikes in Kolob Canyons are Taylor Creek and Timber Creek Overlook. KOLOB TERRACE Kolob Terrace is a section of Zion that begins with a 15 minute drive west of Springdale and leads you to great Zion hikes like The Subway, Northgate Peaks trail and Lambs Knoll. It is a stunning scenic drive and perfect for rainy days. 6 - WHAT'S THIS ABOUT A TOXIN IN THE VIRGIN RIVER? In July 2020 a puppy died 20 minutes after coming into contact with a toxic algae bloom in the Virgin River. Since that happened, the park has been monitoring toxin levels in the park’s streams and rivers. As of November 4, 2022 toxin-producing cyanobacteria have been detected in the North Fork of the Virgin River. The North Fork of the Virgin River runs through Zion Canyon and is at a Warning Advisory level. During warning advisories, the park recommends that recreators avoid swimming or submerging their head in the river because toxins can enter the body by swallowing water or through the nose, eyes, or open wounds. Drinking water from the Virgin River is not advised. Toxins cannot be filtered out by standard hiking filtration methods. Dogs must be kept on a leash. If pets get into the river, remove them from the water immediately, rinse off their fur thoroughly, and monitor for symptoms of toxin poisoning. A dog can die in as little as 15 minutes from anatoxin-a poisoning. INFO FROM A LOCAL Since July 2020 there have been thousands of people hiking The Narrows and swimming in the Virgin River. I have hiked The Narrows and swam in the Virgin River. I have not gotten sick or heard of anyone getting sick. 7 - HOW DO WE WORK AROUND THE CROWDS IN THE SUMMER Visiting Zion during the busiest times of the year means you may experience extended wait times at the entrance station, wait times to get on the shuttle, and heavy traffic getting around the park. Tips to avoid the crowds Go early to get parking at the Visitor Center and avoid long shuttle lines. Walk the Pa'Rus Trail and follow the paths leading down to the river. Go into the park later in the day, up to 2-3 hours before sunset but don't miss the last shuttle out. Hike along Clear Creek in East Zion. Drive the Kolob Terrace road. Get off at the Court Of the Patriarchs stop and explore along the river and hike Sand Bench Loop trail. 8 - CAN WE DRIVE THROUGH THE ZION-MOUNT CARMEL TUNNEL? WHAT ARE THE HOURS? Vehicles sized 11'4" in height or 7'10" in width, or larger, are required to have an escort, or traffic control, through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. A $15 dollar tunnel permit fee is charged, and the tunnel is open to large vehicles on a regular schedule when rangers are present to manage traffic. Those hours are: November 6 to March 31: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 1 to September 30: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Regular cars can drive through the tunnel any time day or night. 9 - CAN WE PET THE CUTE SQUIRRELS? Keep at least 50 feet away from small wildlife like squirrels, birds, and reptiles. As animals become used to humans and dependent on them as a food source, they become a nuisance and aggressive. If you are watching an animal and it notices you or changes its behavior, you are too close. Human food is hard for animals to digest, and feeding them has led to several fatalities. Animals stay happier and healthier without human food. 10 - WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP TAKE CARE OF ZION? We all need to do our part to take care of Zion. Being a good steward of that park means you are doing your part to be courteous to other visitors, protect the wildlife, and respecting the precious ecosystem in Zion. The park has put together this list, and I hope you will all read it and follow it. Plan ahead and prepare by reading and following the information in the park newspaper. Keep personal food away from all wildlife, and never approach or touch a wild animal. Protect the canyon walls, rocks, and trees from graffiti and vandalism. Preserve the park scenery by not collecting wildflowers, rocks, or plants. Never enter a narrow canyon when there is a potential for flash flooding. Be ready to pack out my human waste, toilet paper, and diapers from trails and river corridors. Stay on established trails to protect vegetation and fragile cryptobiotic soils. Leave rocks as you find them, and do not stack rock cairns or build river dams. Protect the natural sounds of the canyon by talking softly and using headphones for music. Recycle and dispose of trash and food appropriately. Park in designated areas and avoid blocking traffic. Share these stewardship principals with others. 11 - HOW DO WE AVOID A FLASH FLOOD? Flash floods can happen even if there are blue skies overhead. Your safety is your responsibility. While the park service can give you information on weather, flash flood potential, and risks, it is ultimatly up to you to make the best choice for yourself. Keep a close eye on the weather and do not go into slot canyons or hang out near rivers or streams before, after, or during a rainstorm. 12 - CAN WE BRING OUR DOG HIKING IN ZION? There is only one trail in Zion where dogs are permitted and that's the Pa'Rus trail. National Parks aren't usually the best place to bring pets. If you can't leave Fido at home make sur to follow these guidelines for dog owners visiting Zion Bag your pet's poop Pet owners are responsible for removing pet waste from all areas in the park including campgrounds, picnic areas, parking lots, roads, pet-friendly trails, and other developed areas. Always wear a leash Pets must be restrained on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Respect wildlife Pets can harass or harm wildlife by making noise or scaring wildlife away. Know where you can go The only trail that allows pets is the Pa’rus Trail, which begins at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. Pets are not permitted - on any other trails, wilderness areas, on shuttle buses, or in public buildings in Zion. Additionally, properly restrained pets are welcome along public roads and parking areas, in the developed campgrounds and picnic areas, and on the grounds of the Zion Lodge. 13 - CAN WE HIKE ANGELS LANDING WITHOUT A PERMIT? The first portion of Angels Landing, up to Scouts Lookout, can be hiked without a permit. After Scouts Lookout is when the chain section of the hike starts, and this is the section that requires a permit. To get a permit you can apply quarterly or from 12am - 3pm the day before. Visit the National Park website for more info CLICK HERE 14 - WHERE DO WE FIND OUT ABOUT ROAD CLOSURES OR HIKE CLOSURES? The Zion National Park website is your friend. They keep everything up to date so check it for rock falls, hikes closures and roads closures. CLICK HERE FOR LINK 15 - WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO HIKE THE NARROWS? Summer is generally the best time the hike The Narrows. The water is a nice temperature and it is an excellent respite from the desert heat. Summer is also when it is most crowded so make sure to get on the first shuttle out in the morning. July through August, The Narrows will often close due to flash flooding from the monsoon storms. Spring runoff often causes The Narrows to close much or April and May. The Narrows closures occur when the river is running above 150CFS. Some years if the mountains of Southern Utah don't get much snow The Narrows may not close at all. Winter can be a great time to hike The Narrows to avoid crowds, but you will have to have all the right gear to stay warm and prevent frostbite. ***Cliffrose Lodge in Springdale 16 - WHERE SHOULD WE STAY WHEN VISITING ZION? If you plan to spend most of your time hiking Zion Canyon and East Zion, Springdale will be the most convenient place to stay. Springdale is a touristy town with touristy prices, but it also has charm and a ton of great restaurants and lodging options. Other good options close to the park include Hurricane, Virgin, La Verkin, Orderville, Kanab, or St George. I hope you find this list of 16 things you need to know when visiting Zion, helpful when you are planning your trip. I love where I live so much and I want everyone to have a fabulous time when visiting my favorite place in the world. Happy Adventuring, Arika Check out more about me and book a shoot here CLICK HERE FOR RELATED BLOG POSTS

  • Hiking Taylor Creek in Kolob Canyons - Zion National Park

    Taylor Creek is a beautiful scenic hike located in the Kolob Canyons district of Zion National Park. With a small stream running along the trail, Taylor Creek is one of my favorite water hikes in Zion in the summer, but really it is a beautiful hike any time of the year. Soaring peaks of Navajo sandstone line the trail and lush vegetation make for a cool and shaded summer hike. Taylor Creek features two historic cabins and a double arch alcove at the end. This is a great morning or afternoon hike. Take a sack lunch with you and eat under the alcove at the end. Don't let the 5 miles round trip discourage you if you have kiddos. This hike is a great one to take slow and play as you hike. If you don't make it to the end, it is still 100% worth it. LOCATION The Kolob Canyons district of Zion National Park is located at Exit 40 on I15. Taylor Creek is a 20-minute drive from Cedar City, a 20-minute drive from Hurricane, and a 50-minute drive from Springdale. Taylor Creek is the first hike you will come to along the 5-mile-long scenic drive in Kolob Canyons. CLICK HERE FOR DRIVING DIRECTIONS HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH - CLICK TO LEARN MORE DIFFICULTY The trail starts with a short and steep descent down to the canyon floor. It is easy to navigate with stairs and a well-maintained path, but hiking back out will get your heart pumping. After reaching the bottom, you will hike along a stream for the majority of the hike with minimal elevation gain. There are plenty of ups, downs, and overs, but a well-worn path makes it easy to navigate without too much trouble. LENGTH Taylor Creek is a five mile round trip - out and back hike. The average hike time is 3-4 hours. BEST TIME TO HIKE TAYLOR CREEK Taylor Creek is best hiked in spring, summer, and fall. In the winter, from November through February, the trail can be icy and snowy. The Kolob Canyons road also often closes in the winter. TRAIL DETAILS The trail starts with a short and steep hike down to Taylor Creek. At the bottom of the canyon, the trail levels out and runs along the small stream all the way to the end. The trail crosses the stream numerous times, and even though there is minimal elevation gain, you will be navigating over boulders and downed trees throughout the hike. Water shoes or waterproof hiking boots are necessary if you want to avoid getting your feet wet. About 1 mile in, you will hit the first of two historic homestead cabins along the trail. Built-in the early 1930s, the first historical cabin is the Larson Cabin, and about another half mile up is the Fife Cabin. It's fun to walk around the cabins, peeking into the windows and imagining what life was like for the settlers who built these remote cabins. You'll know you have reached the end of the trail when you hit the Double Arch Alcove. The alcove is massive and cavelike, with a large wall of seeping water and lush green ferns. Don't let the term double arch fool you; it's not a true open arch but the closed arches in the sandstone soaring high above are super cool. After spending some time enjoying this beautiful and secluded section of Zion, give yourself a pat on the back, turn around and head back the way you came. Always be respectful of the land. Leave no trace and pack in + out anything you bring with you. Leave nothing behind. GOOD TO KNOW All guests are required to stop at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center to show your Park Pass or pay the Zion National Park entrance fee. There is a pit toilet at the trailhead but no water. You can fill your water bottle at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center. This trail is sometimes referred to as Middle Fork of Taylor Creek. You can take two other longer hikes with this trail, but along the creek is the most popular and easy way to do it. LIST OF THINGS TO BRING WITH YOU HIKING SHOES OR HIKING SANDALS - Wear water shoes like Teva's or Chaco's when hiking Taylor Creek in the summer. Keen also has great water shoes for kids. Click here for my favorite hiking sandals on the planet.....I'm a Teva's girl! HIKING CLOTHES - Wear comfortable, light and breathable clothes if visiting in the summer. If visiting in the spring/fall, bring a light jacket. Chances are it will warm up mid-day. SUNSCREEN - Always take sunscreen with your wherever you go in the desert! HAT & SUNGLASSES - The sun is intense. Having a hat and sunglasses is a must. SNACKS, AND LOTS OF WATER - Always hike with snacks and plenty of water HIKING DAY PACK - You will want a small backpack to carry snacks, water, camera & phone. BEST PLACES STAY WHEN VISITING KOLOB CANYONS I recommend staying a few days in the Hurricane Valley to explore all the different sections of Zion. There is so much to see and do. The Hurricane Valley is located 30 minutes from the west entrance of Zion National park, 2 hours from Bryce Canyon, 2 hours from the north entrance of the Grand Canyon, and 30 minutes from Kolob Canyons. READ MORE ABOUT VISITING THE HURRICANE VALLEY HERE 15 HIKES + THINGS TO DO CLOSE TO TAYLOR CREEK/KOLOB CANYONS 1 - Visit Cedar Breaks 2 - Hike Timber Creek Overlook Trail 3 - Hike Kanarra Falls 4 - Hike Spring Creek Trail 5 - Visit Sheeps Bridge Park 6 - Hike Lambs Knoll 7 - Visit Grafton Ghost Town 8 - Hike Red Reef Trail 9 - Visit Snow Canyon State Park 10 - Hike Watchman Trail 11 - E-bike The Canyon 12 - Hike Lower Pine Creek Falls 13 - Hike Ashdown Gorge 14 - Go to the Shakespearean Festival 15 - Canoe Navajo Lake Hiking Taylor Creek is an amazing way to experience all the beauty that the Kolob Canyons section of Zion has to offer. This stunning 5-mile round trip hike is perfect as a day trip or water hike in the summer for families so get out and enjoy!. Happy Adventuring, Arika Check out more about me and book a shoot here CLICK HERE FOR RELATED BLOG POSTS

  • 10 Ways To Spend One Day In Zion National Park ; Zion Itinerary

    Do you want to experience Zion National Park, but you're short on time? Being a local, I have spent my whole life taking day trips to Zion. So whether you are visiting in the summer, winter, with girlfriends, or your family, I will show you what things to check out and how to make the most of your one day in Zion. I have put together ten different ways you can spend one day in Zion National Park. IS IT WORTH IT TO SPEND ONE DAY IN ZION? Let's just get this out of the way right now; spending one day in Zion isn't enough. I get it, though. Sometimes that's all you've got, and that's ok. One day in Zion will be just enough to whet your appetite and get you to make plans to come back later for more. One day in Zion will allow you to see the magnificent towering red cliffs that Zion is known for and get a taste of that Zion magic. GETTING TO ZION The most popular way to get to Zion is by flying into the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas and renting a car. Las Vegas is a 2.5-hour drive from Zion. Driving from Las Vegas means you can stop at Valley of Fire State Park & Snow Canyon State park to break up the drive and see some stunning sights on your drive. These two state parks are absolutely stunning and 100 percent worth the stop. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH - CLICK TO LEARN MORE The next closest major airport is Salt Lake City. Salt Lake is a 4.5-hour drive from Zion. Flying into Salt Lake will allow you to turn your vacation into a week-long road trip! First, go through Moab and hit up Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Then head south and stop at Goblin Valley State Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park. You can also fly into the Saint George Regional airport. This airport is much smaller with minimal flight options, but if you can find one that works for you, the time savings and convenience will be a huge bonus. It is a 50-minute drive from Saint George to Zion. THE DIFFERENT AREAS OF ZION Zion National Park is made up of 229 square miles of land and is comprised of four main sections. If you only have one day in Zion, I suggest focusing on just one or two sections. When visiting Zion, the closest town with restaurants and lodging is Springdale, UT. Springdale is located right next to the visitor center and campgrounds. The visitor center is where you will park to get on the shuttle to go into Zion Canyon. THE FOUR MAIN SECTIONS OF ZION ZION (MAIN) CANYON ***E-biking the Zion Canyon This is the busiest section of Zion and is only accessible via shuttle for the majority of the year (see below for details on navigating the shuttle). Zion Canyon is where you go for iconic hikes like Angels Landing and the Narrows. EAST ZION ***Views from East Zion East Zion is located on the east side of the Mt. Carmel Tunnel. It is at a higher elevation, just above Zion Canyon, and temps run 5-10 degrees cooler. Great hikes include Canyon Overlook, Many Pools, and off-the-beaten-path exploring along Clear Creek. KOLOB CANYON *Views from Kolob Canyon in the winter One of Zion's best-kept secrets, Kolob Canyon is tucked into the northwest corner of Zion National Park. Soaring cliffs of red Navajo Sandstone and breathtaking views are the highlight along a stunning 5-mile scenic drive. The canyons are easily accessed from Interstate 15. Our favorite family-friendly hikes in Kolob Canyons are Taylor Creek and Timber Creek Overlook. KOLOB TERRACE ***Views along Kolob Terrace Kolob Terrace is a section of Zion that begins with a 15 minute drive west of Springdale and leads you to great Zion hikes like The Subway, Northgate Peaks trail and Lambs Knoll. It is a stunning scenic drive and perfect for rainy days. GETTING AROUND ZION AND NAVIGATING THE SHUTTLE Let's start with the one thing that confuses people the most. The Zion shuttle ONLY runs to Zion Canyon. Everywhere outside Zion Canyon is accessible via car. The shuttle runs from early March through November. Outside of those times,(it does run again over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays) you can drive your car into the Main Canyon. CHECK OUT THE SHUTTLE SCHEDULE HERE. The shuttle is free, and no reservation is needed. In the summer when the park is the busiest, mornings are crowded with long lines. Afternoons are less busy and usually have no line. If you don't want the hassle of parking at the visitor center, the free shuttle running in Springdale can take you from your hotel to the walk-in entrance station, where you can board the Zion shuttle. This is a good option when the park is super busy and parking at the visitor center is full. PRO TIP The park never closes. If you get to the entrance station before or after the rangers, you get into the park for free. THE BEST TIME TO VISIT ZION ***Family hiking Riverside Walk in the Summer Any time is a great time to visit Zion, but each season has positives and negatives. Here is a rundown of what to expect in each season. SUMMER (MAY-SEPTEMBER) Visiting Zion in Summer is when you have to work around the most crowds and when the heat will be the most intense. But Summer is when Zion is at her most beautiful. Everything is so green and lush in the canyon, and if you like water, well, this is the best time to play in the Virgin River and do water hikes like The Narrows. SPRING/FALL (MARCH-APRIL & OCTOBER-NOVEMBER) Visiting Zion in the spring or fall is great because you won't have to deal with the intense heat or cold, and the crowds won't be quite as bad. I still suggest getting out first thing in the morning, but it will be harder to stay in the park later in the day since the days are shorter than in the summer. WINTER (DECEMBER-FEBRUARY) Winter is the least busy time to visit the park, except during Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. There is no shuttle service, so you can drive into Zion Canyon. Trails can be closed, and icy conditions are often present. Services in Springdale are more limited in the winter. ***Cable Mountain Lodge in Springdale, Ut Where to stay when visiting Zion If you only have one day in the park, you will want to stay somewhere close to the park. I recommend staying in Springdale or, for something less expensive, the Hurricane Valley. Springdale is a touristy town with touristy prices, but it also has charm and a ton of great restaurants and lodging options. The Hurricane Valley includes Hurricane, La Verkin, and Virgin. These small towns are 15-30 minutes from the west entrance of Zion & Springdale. These towns feature hotels, Airbnb, places to eat, and grocery stores like Walmart. Where to Stay in Springdale Cable Mountain Lodge Cliffrose Lodge Flanigans Inn Where to stay in the Hurricane Valley The Dwellings Open Sky The Ardella Cottage 10 DIFFERENT ONE DAY ITINERARIES FOR VISITING ZION 1 - A Chill day in Zion (March - October) 2 - Girls trip Spa Day (Any time of year) 3 - High Adventure Day (May-October) 4 - Zion Canyon Family Day (June-September) 5 - Family adventure day (May - September) 6 - Pack in as much as possible (March - November) 7 - Zion off the beaten path - Kolob terrace & Kolob Canyon (Year round) 8 - East Zion Family day (March - November) 9 - A Snowy Winter Day in Zion (December - March) 10 - Casual Summer Day in Zion (May - September) 1 - A Chill day in Zion (March - October) MORNING Canyon Overlook East Zion Drive AFTERNOON Shuttle ride through the park Hike Riverside Walk Zion Human History Museum Walk the Pa'Rus trail for sunset This one-day itinerary gives you the best of the park without feeling rushed. Have a slow morning eating breakfast before heading into the park. Oscar's Cafe is a great breakfast option. After breakfast, drive up to East Zion and hike Canyon Overlook. It is a quick hike at 1.25 miles round trip but packs a punch with stunning views. After the hike, drive through east Zion for a scenic tour, turn around, and head back to Springdale for lunch. I recommend Zion Pizza Noodle or Wiptale Grill for lunch. Head to the visitor center after lunch to park and get on the shuttle. Take the shuttle through the park for a scenic tour. Get out at the last stop, Temple of Sinewave. ***The Riverside Walk trail Hike Riverside Walk and then take the shuttle back out the canyon and go to the Zion Human History Museum to learn the history of Zion, see artifacts from the native people, and watch a short film about the history of Zion. After the museum, walk along the Pa'Rus trail and take one of the paths down to the river. Enjoy solitude along the river, and then head back to Springdale for dinner. 2 - Girls trip Spa Day (Any time of year) MORNING The Spa at Cable MTN AFTERNOON Rent an e-bike and bike the Zion Canyon This one-day itinerary is excellent for a girl's trip or couples. You will have the morning to relax and pamper yourself and then e-bike the Zion Canyon. Start the morning with breakfast at Mimi's Cafe and then head over to The Spa at Cable Mountain Lodge for some relaxation and pampering. If you are with your girlfriends, the 30-minute targeted treatment in the social sweet is the way to go. You can also get a massage, body treatments, or a facial. One of my favorite things about The Spa is the beautiful women's locker room with a lemongrass eucalyptus-infused steam room and whirlpool. I also love the relaxation lounge. It's such a peaceful space with a lighted salt wall, moving art, fresh fruit, and fruit-infused water. After your relaxing morning, arrange for Greater Zion E-bike Rentals to meet outside The Spa and drop off your e-bikes. They will give you a quick tutorial, and you'll be off. Ride your bike to Whiptail grill for lunch and head up the canyon via the Pa'Rus trail. CHECK OUT THIS POST FOR MORE INFO IN RENTING AN E-BIKE IN ZION There is nothing like exploring all along the canyon at your own pace. Zooming through the canyon with the wind in your hair and the smells of the lush desert vegetation around you is the best way to experience the canyon. Make a stop at the Zion Lodge and get ice cream to eat under the big cottonwood tree on the lawn.....heaven!!!! PRO TIP If the Castle Dome Cafe is closed (only open in the summer & they close at 4) you can get ice cream to go from The Red Rock Grill located in The Zion Lodge. Head back into Springdale, drop off your bikes, and then head to Oscars Cafe or Zion Pizza Noodle for dinner. 3 - High Adventure Day (May-October) MORNING The Narrows AFTERNOON Rent e-bike Angels Landing This itinerary is for adventurous couples and families with older kids that are in good shape and skilled in the outdoors. This itinerary also requires you to get a permit to hike Angels Landing. GET MORE INFO FOR GETTING A PERMIT AND HIKING ANGELS LANDING HERE. Your day will start early. Have everything ready to go the night before. Pack a sack lunch, plenty of snacks, and water. READ THIS BLOG POST FOR TIPS AND INFO FOR HIKING THE NARROWS. Eat a quick breakfast at your hotel/Airbnb and get on the first shuttle heading up the canyon. Take the shuttle to the last stop, Temple of Sinewave. The Narrows starts once you step off the paved trail of Riverside Walk. Bring walking sticks for added support. ALWAYS check the weather before you head into a narrow canyon. Flash floods are always possible. Time the hike so you are on the shuttle back to your hotel by mid-day. Rest, and then pick up your e-bike. Renting an e-bike will allow you to hike Angels Landing a little later in the day than most. You will skip the crowds and heat as well as not have to worry about missing the last shuttle out of the canyon. Bike up the canyon to The Grotto shuttle stop. With an e-bike, it will take about 20 minutes to get to the Angels Landing trailhead. Time your 5-mile round trip hike to watch sunset at the top of Angels Landing. As soon as the sun sets, head back down the chains while the light is still out. Once you hit the end of the chains, it will be dark, and you will pull out your headlamps for the remainder of the hike. Enjoy riding your e-bike out of the canyon in the dark. It is a magical experience. 4 - Zion Canyon Family Day (June-September) MORNING Junior ranger handbook Hike Riverside Walk AFTERNOON Picnic lunch at The Lodge Hike Emerald Pools Nature center Start your day by visiting the Zion National Park Visitor Center to get a Junior Ranger Handbook for the kids to work on throughout the day. Jump on the shuttle and ride it to the last stop, Temple of Sinawava, where you will hike the Riverside Walk trail. The the 2.5-mile round trip Riverside Walk trail is mostly level and paved, making it doable for all skill levels. Shear red rock mountains and hanging gardens line the path as you walk along the Virgin River. The end of this trail is the beginning of one of Zion's most popular hikes in the summer, The Narrows. After your first hike of the day head over to The Lodge and eat a picnic lunch on the lawn. The large field is so fun for kids to run and play. After lunch, walk across the road to the start of the Emerald Pools trail. This classic Zion hike is great for kids and features one of the few waterfalls on display in the park. Hike 1 mile round trip for the lower pool, 1.25 miles for the middle pool, and 2.5 miles round trip for the upper pool. After hiking Emerald Pools, jump on the shuttle back to the visitor center and walk or drive to The Nature Center. Time it so you hit the 4:30 program. The Nature Center features daily youth-specific programs where kids will learn about powerful geological forces and much more. All programs are carefully developed by staff to create a fun and enjoyable learning experience for visiting youth and their families. The Nature Center is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Finish up the last of the Junior Ranger Handbook and then head back to the visitor center, where your child will present their completed handbook to a park ranger and take an oath to protect and care for the National Parks. 5 - Family adventure day (May - September) MORNING The Narrows AFTERNOON Canyon Overlook/Pa'Rus Trail For this day you will start early. Have everything ready to go the night before. Pack a sack lunch, plenty of snacks, and water. READ THIS BLOG POST FOR TIPS ON HIKING THE NARROWS WITH KIDS. Eat a quick breakfast at your hotel/Airbnb and get on the first shuttle heading up the canyon. Located at the last shuttle stop in the main canyon, The Narrows starts once you step off the paved trail of Riverside Walk. Bring walking sticks for added support. Plan plenty of time for the kids to play in the water. ALWAYS check the weather before you head into a narrow canyon. Flash floods are always possible. When you finish hiking The Narrows, jump back on the shuttle and head back to your hotel. Take some time to rest and eat dinner. After dinner, head to the Pa'Rus trail for a casual stroll along the Virgin River. For something a little more adventurous, you could drive to Canyon Overlook on the east side of the park. This 1.25-mile hike is fun for kids and has stunning views of the park. 6 - Pack in as much as possible (March - November) MORNING Riverside Walk/The Narrows Weeping Rock Scouts Lookout/Angels Landing Emerald Pools AFTERNOON Clear Creek Canyon Overlook Watchman Trail or Pa'Rus This full day in the park will allow you to see all the main points of attraction that Zion is known for. This day will also leave you exhausted.......in a good way. For this day you will start early. Have everything ready to go the night before. Pack a sack lunch, so you don't have to waste time going in and out of the park for food. Pack plenty of snacks and water. Eat a quick breakfast at your hotel/Airbnb and get on the first shuttle heading up the canyon. You will take the shuttle all the way through the park (45 mins) and get a wonderful scenic view of Zion Canyon. Riverside Walk starts at the last shuttle stop. This 2.5 mile round trip hike takes you right along the Virgin River. The end of this hike is the start of The Narrows. Walk up the river for a little bit to check The Narrows off your list. With your first two hikes out of the way jump in the shuttle and get off at Weeping Rock. Weeping Rock is a super short hike but also a Zion classic. Get back on the shuttle and get off at the Grotto. Hike an hour or so of Angels Landing. No need for a permit. You won't be hiking the chain section. The elevation is steep right off the bat, so an hour of hiking will get you to some stunning views. If you have time (try to be done by mid-afternoon), try to make it to Scouts Lookout. Head back down and take the shuttle to The Lodge. Cross the street over to the Emerald Pools hike. If you are running short on time only hike to the first pool. This concludes your morning hiking through Zion Canyon. Take the shuttle back to the visitor center and drive up to East Zion. Stop at the Many Pools trailhead. From here, you will hike and explore along Clear Creek. Clear Creek is the main dry streambed that follows Route 9 throughout the east side of Zion. Although it may not be an actual named hike in Zion, it is excellent for some off-the-beaten-path hiking and fun. CLICK HER TO READ MORE ABOUT HIKING CLEAR CREEK After exploring Clear Creek, head back the way you came. Stop just before the tunnel to hike Canyon Overlook. Canyon Overlook is a 1.25-mile family-friendly trail on the east side of Zion that features big horn sheep sightings, caves (kind of), and one of the most breathtaking views in the park. If you have any energy left after a day of hiking, head back down the canyon and park at the Zion Nature Center. From here, you will walk along the Pa'Rus trail. This paved path along the Virgin River has stunning views of the iconic Watchman Mountain and is perfect for an evening stroll. 7 - Zion off the beaten path - Kolob Terrace & Kolob Canyon (Year round) ***Views at Timber Creek Trail MORNING Kolob Terrace Road Lambs Knoll AFTERNOON Kolob Canyon Taylor Creek Timber Creek Overlook This Zion itinerary is not the one for you if you want to see and do all the iconc things in Zion. This itinerary will get you away from the crowds and let you see a beautiful side of Zion National Park that most people don't get to see. Start your morning by driving up the Kolob Terrace Road. This road starts in Virgin and winds you along meadows, red rock walls, beautiful wide open views, and much more. Stop at Lambs Knoll for a short .8-mile round trip hike. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT VISITING LAMBS KNOLL. Lambs Knoll is a cluster of breathtaking rock formations and big views popular for climbing and canyoneering. This short hike is excellent for families and leads you to a tight slot canyon. After Lambs Knoll, get in the car and continue your drive to see more sights along Kolob Terrace Road. Make sure to stop along the way and enjoy the stunning drive. When you are finished exploring along Kolob Terrace for the morning, head to River Rock Roasting Company in La Verkin for lunch. River Rock has great coffee, sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, and views of the Virgin River. After lunch, head to Kolob Canyon. One of Zion's best-kept secrets, Kolob Canyon is tucked into the northwest corner of Zion National Park. Soaring cliffs of red Navajo Sandstone and breathtaking views are the highlight along a stunning 5-mile scenic drive. ***Double arch alcove at Taylor Creek Stop at Taylor Creek and hike the 5-mile round-trip trail that meanders along a small stream. That lot Creek is two historic cabins along the trail and a stunning alive and double arch at the end. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT HIKING TAYLOR CREEK After Taylor Creek, drive to the end of the scenic Kolob Canyon Road and hike Timber Creek Overlook Trail. Timber Creek is an easy one-mile round-trip trail with minimal elevation gain and stunning views all along the way. 8 - East Zion Family day (March - November) ***Clear Creek Slot Canyon MORNING Hike Canyon Overlook Explore Clear Creek AFTERNOON Hike Many Pools Drive to the end of the park Visit the Natural History Museum Start your day hiking one of Zion's most breathtaking family-friendly hikes, Canyon Overlook. The trail is 1.25 miles round trip and mostly level. It is important to note that even though this is a very kid-friendly hike, there are plenty of spots along the trail and especially at the overlook, that can be dangerous. CLICK HER TO READ MORE ABOUT HIKING CANYON OVERLOOK After Canyon Overlook, head up the road 5 miles to the Many Pools parking area for some exploring along the dry stream bed below. Clear Creek is the main dry streambed that follows Route 9 throughout the east side of Zion. Although it may not be an actual named hike in Zion, it is excellent for some off-the-beaten-path hiking and fun. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT HIKING CLEAR CREEK. After hiking along Clear Creek, take the scenic tour, drive the remainder of the East Zion road, and then head back down the canyon. Stop at the Zion Human History Museum to learn the history of Zion, see artifacts from the native people and watch a short film about the history of Zion. There are lots of great opportunities for learning. 9 - A Snowy Winter Day in Zion (December - March) MORNING Riverside walk Menu Falls AFTERNOON Court Of the Patriarchs Pa'Rus Trail This winter itinerary is perfect for a snowy winter day in Zion. The hiking is totally doable in the snow and will allow you to have a safe and fun day in Zion after a snowstorm. Make sure to bring some Trex with you just in case you have icy trails. Start your day at Riverside Walk trail at the end of Zion Canyon. This trail is a 2.5-mile round-trip hike with very little elevation gain, so there is no need to worry about slipping on steep inclines. After hiking Riverside Walk, drive 1/2 mile down the canyon to Menu Falls. Menu Falls is a beautiful waterfall alcove slightly hidden just off the scenic drive. It's not easily accessible in the summer so winter is the perfect time to visit. Walk a short wooden pathway and a few stairs to enjoy this magical little spot in the canyon. Continue driving down the canyon, stopping at Court of the Patriarchs. Walk across the street and explore along the Virgin River. Make your way to the scenic bridge sitting just below the iconic Court of the Patriarch mountains. It is so stunning any time of year but especially with a fresh dusting of snow. End your day with dinner at Whip Tail Grill or Oscars Cafe in Springdale. 10 - Casual Summer Day in Zion (May - September) MORNING Tubing and playing in the Virgin River AFTERNOON Lower Pine Creek This day is all about enjoying Zion in the summer. The Virgin River is perfect for cooling off in the summer, and there are so many great spots to enjoy a morning playing in the river. Bring tubes or rent tubes at Zion Outfitters for extra fun. The river is pretty shallow in the summer, but you will still be able to find small stretches to float. After lunch, head over to Lower Pine Creek falls. The park doesn't advertise this hike, so the chances of having some solitude are good. This 1.25-mile round-trip trail will take you along a stream for the whole hike and ends at a waterfall and pool of water, perfect for playing, catching baby frogs, and even sliding down the waterfall. There are hours of summer fun to be had along this trail. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT HIKING LOWER PINE CREEK FALLS One day in Zion is never enough but with these 10 different one day itineraries I think you well be able to have a great time exploring Zion for the day. I have no doubt that you will be making plans for when you will come back and spend much more than a day. Happy Adventuring, Arika CHECK OUT THESE RELATED POSTS

  • Visiting Mystic Hot Springs in the Winter ; Tips From A Local

    Hot springs are one of my very favorite winter activities. Unfortunately, there are very few options for hot springs in Southern Utah. The best option for a fun day trip or weekend getaway is a quick 2-hour drive to Mystic Hot Springs in Central Utah. I have visited Mystic Hot Springs several times since my first visit with my kiddos over five years ago. CHECK OUT OUR FIRST VISIT HERE. Since then, I have visited with just me and my kiddos two times, on a girl's trip getaway, with my partner on a romantic getaway, and as a family one other time. All our visits have been in the winter, and every visit has been filled with fun moments that I will remember and cherish forever. Hot springs have a special place in my heart. I grew up spending a lot of time at the Pah Tempe Hot Springs, about 1/2 a mile from my home in Hurricane. I often joke that the pungent rotten egg sulfur smell is the smell of my childhood.....haha! HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH - CLICK TO LEARN MORE Unfortunately, these hot springs are no longer, but the good news is there are plans to use that amazing hot spring water coming from the Virgin River, and plans are underway to build a new Zion Hot Springs Resort soon!!!!! But for now, Mystic is my go-to hot spring. TABLE OF CONTENTS Why I love Mystic Hot Springs so much A little history about the property Where is Mystic Hot Springs located? How much are the soaking passes? Where to stay when visiting Mystic Hot Springs? What to bring with you to Mystic Hot Springs in the winter? Our first family visit Red Hills Hot Spring - Free Local Hot Springs WHY I LOVE MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS SO MUCH There are so many things I love about Mystic Hot Springs. It has a very eclectic hippy vibe that adds to the property's charm. There isn't anything fancy about Mystic Hot Springs, so be prepared, but there is definitely something magical about it. The unique cast iron tubs surrounded by mounds of red mineral deposits are perfect for soaking, and the larger pools at the bottom are great for swimming and playing. There are two pools and six soaking tubs. The pools and tubs range in temperate. The large main pool stays quite hot, and the smaller pool is quite a bit cooler. So it's perfect cause when you get too hot from the larger pool, you can jump in the smaller pool to cool off a little. The main mineral in the water is calcium carbonate. There is no sulfur in the water, so there is no pungent smell, and showering after soaking isn't necessary. The pools are cleaned twice weekly, and the tubs are cleaned several times daily. If you go in the evening, bring a flashlight with you. The property is pitch dark after sunset. The first time we went, the property was quite busy. Since Covid, they have been limiting the number of people who can visit at a time. In the five times I have visited since Covid, there have only been a few other people at the property during our visits. It has been so lovely and peaceful! Make sure to read to the end for information for a free bonus hot spring located 5 minutes from Mystic Hot Springs!!!! A LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT THE PROPERTY The property dates back to 1886, when Mormon pioneers settled near the large mounds of mineral deposits formed by a small stream of flowing hot water. The Pioneers eventually built a swimming hole at the site and named it Monroe Hot Springs. The property changed hands a few times until "Mystic Mike," the current owner, bought the property in the mid-1990s. With the desire to welcome more people to the property, Mike sought out abandoned vans and pioneer cabins and restored them to rent out to guests wanting to stay on the property. He currently has 15 cabins, all in different stages of restoration. WHERE IS MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS LOCATED? Mystic Hot Springs is located in Monroe, UT, right in the heart of Central Utah. Mystic hot springs is a 2 hours 40-minute drive from Salt Lake City and 2 hourish drive from St. George/Hurricane Valley. If you are headed up north after a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, a stop at Mystic Hot Springs is a perfect way to break up the drive. Click here for Map and driving directions. HOW MUCH ARE THE SOAKING PASSES? You can purchase a 2-hour soaking pass online. An adult pass online is $25, and a child pass is $12.50. For some reason, they only let you purchase four passes at a time, so if you have a party bigger than four you have to make two separate purchases. Click here to purchase soaking passes. WHERE TO STAY WHEN VISITING MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS? There are a few different lodging options to turn Mystic Hotsprings into a weekend getaway. I have tried the cabin and buses on the property. They make for a very rustic stay, but it's fun and convenient to be right on the property. When we stayed in the Old Pine Cabin at the end of December, it was very cold, and the one space heater we were given was not enough to keep us warm. Luckily I had two kiddos with me and cuddled all night to stay warm. On a fun girls' weekend in November, we stayed in one of The Buses on the property. The heated blanket and space heater managed to keep us warm enough but beware, the doors and the busses do not have locks. That sketched me out a little. We have stayed at The Monroe Inn a few times. The Monroe Inn is a super cute inn just around the corner from the hot springs, but it looks like it isn't currently running.....bummer! There are plenty of options for airbnbs in the area. Richfield is located 30 minutes away and has lots of great lodging options. I think that is what we will do next time we visit. WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU TO MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS IN THE WINTER? I have learned a few things about how to visit Monroe Hot Springs in the winter. Here is my list for what to bring with you to help your visit go smoothly. Change of clothes that are quick and easy to put on Big warm towel + additional towels. Shoes that are easy to slip on and off like Teva's or Chaco's. The ground is a little muddy with wet feet and you will be going from pool to tub/tub to pool. Headlamp if you are going at night. There are no lights to light up your way around the property. Lot's of water Snacks Beanie to keep your head warm There are no bathrooms close to the pools/tubs, so you will have to walk a little way in a cold, wet swim suite unless you are comfortable doing a quick change after getting out. OUR FIRST FAMILY VISIT February 2019 - On a cold weekend in February, we loaded up our three kiddos and made the 2-hour trek to Mystic Hot Springs. From my research, I knew the property was a little run down, so I didn't expect much.......but right off, I fell in love. It felt welcoming, with a very eclectic hippy vibe. I actually think it would be a little sad if they fixed it up and made it all perfect. I loved the old cabins and buses on the property. They are so unique and beautiful in their own way. I wish I could have spent more time exploring the cabins and buses, but we pulled up an hour before sunset so our number one goal was to get our passes and get soaking! I was hoping it wouldn't be too busy but seriously I should have known better. As we climbed the steps up to the springs, I crossed my fingers that we would be able to get one of the cast iron tubs to soak in but my hopes were quickly dashed as I saw that they were all full. With my heart broken, we went back down to get into the pools at the base of the property. Chris and the kids climbed in the warmest of the two pools, and I walked around the property to check out and photograph the springs. As I walked around the upper south side of the property, I noticed there was one hidden tub that no one was in. WHAT!!!! I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. I practically ran down to the pools and begged Chris to come with me to the hidden tub. It was freakin cold outside so I wouldn't have blamed him if he said no. We couldn't leave Phoenix in the pool by himself, so we bundled him up in towels and took him with us while the girls happily played with new friends in the pool. Our view from the tub!!! The cast iron tub was big and warm. (a perfect temp) and had the best views on the property. It was also totally secluded. I was in complete and total heaven. Chris stayed for a little bit and then went down to be with the girls in the lower pool. Phoenix and I soaked and splashed as the sun went down and the stars came out. We played the I Love You More Than game. "I love you more than all the stars in the sky" I told him. "I love you more than all the stars and a thousand bugs bugs bugs," he told me. I can't even express in words how magical it all was. We stayed in the tub until it got dark, and I realized that there were no lights on the property. No lights is great for star gazing, but I made the mistake of not having anything to light our way back down to the pools. Whoops! Luckily we made it down without falling, but it was pretty sketchy. RED HILL HOT SPRINGS - FREE LOCAL HOT SPRINGS IN MONROE, UTAH If you don't want to spend the money to visit Mystic Hot Springs, these local hot springs. Red Hill Hot Springs are just a 5 minute drive from Mystic. They sit on the hill overlooking the Monroe valley are a great alternative or addition to your Mystic Hot Springs visit.. Red Hills Hot Springs has four small pools that range in temperature. The pools aren't very deep and can get crowded, but they are free, so you can't really complain. I recommend going before or after your visit to Mystic Hot Springs. CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS I hope this guide helps you plan a weekend or day trip to Mystic Hot Springs for a fun winter activity that you won't forget. Happy Adventuring, Arika CHECK OUT THESE OTHER RELATED BLOG POSTS

  • Visit Cedar City In the Winter; A Family Weekend Getaway Itinerary

    Southern Utah is filled with a bunch of boring small towns with nothing to do. THIS IS WHAT I USED TO BELIEVE!!! Silly right! Our recent winter weekend in Cedar City blows this thinking right out of the water. Not only did we manage to have a fun, action-packed weekend in Cedar City with kids but we even got in a little culture.....take that big city adventurers.....haha! When most people think of Southern Utah they think desert and warm but Cedar City is located in a transition zone between desert and mountain environments with average summertime high temperatures of about 90 degrees F, and average wintertime lows of about 17 degrees F. Cedar City also gets about 110 inches of snow per year which makes it a great destination for some family winter fun. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH - CLICK TO LEARN MORE We don't get a chance to play in the snow often living in Hurricane, so with Cedar City being just 45 minutes away, I decided to plan a little family winter staycation. It was the perfect weekend mixed with snowmobiling, snow tubing, a visit to the Southern Utah Museum of Art, a mystical magical hot spring and a beautiful, snowy drive through the recently reopened Kolob Canyons. Make sure to read to the end for our favorite place to stay in Cedar City......it's so freaking cute! OVERVIEW OF OUR WEEKEND ITINERARY FRIDAY - BRIAN HEAD UT 11am Snowmobiling with Thunder Mountain Motorsports 1pm lunch at Pizanos 4pm Snow Tubing at Brian Head Resort SATURDAY - CEDAR CITY/MONROE UT 10am Frontier Homestead Stake Park Museum/Ice Skating 12pm Lunch at Centro Wood Fired Pizza 1pm Southern Utah Museum of Art 5pm Mystic Hot Springs SUNDAY - KOLOB CANYONS Drive through Kolob Canyons DAY ONE Brian Head is located just 30 minutes from Cedar City and is a perfect destination for winter sports in Southern Utah. When we were trying to figure out what activities we wanted to do in Brian Head I was tempted to spend the day teaching the kids how to ski/snowboard but I was a little nervous about how they would do. Flashbacks filled my head of my own childhood experience of learning to ski. Let's just say there were lots of tears involved. So we decided to do a snowmobiling tour and snow tubing instead and I am so glad that we did! Our day in Brian Head was a total hit with the kids. We planned our 1.5-hour snowmobile tour with Thunder Mountain Motor Sports for 11 am. As soon as we checked in we got completely suited up from head to toe in gear to keep us warm and dry. All the gear that we didn't have we were able to borrow from Thunder Mountain. Getting a family of 5 suited up is no small task and during all the chaos that ensued, I had serious doubts about whether or not all this work was going to be worth it. Luckily our tour guide, Mike was super patient with us while we dealt with tantrums and missing clothes. Phoenix, my 3-year-old did not want to wear his helmet but as soon as we got outside and he got to sit on one of the snowmobiles he was good to go. It turned out that all the work paid off......big time. Mike was so good with the kids and driving the snowmobile was more fun than I ever could have imagined (except for the time that I didn't make my turn and I got stuck in a snow bank.....whoops!). Mike stopped us regularly to let us get off the snowmobiles and play in the snow. It was so beautiful! Our favorite stop was at a really cool old dilapidated yellow school bus......a photographers dream. Mike also took us to an amazing overlook called Bear Canyon. The kids loved every minute of the adventure except for poor Willow who got cold hands towards the end. Note to self, buy Willow better winter gloves. The 1.5-hour tour was $105 per snowmobile & $20 for each additional passenger. Book your tour here. After the tour, we headed over to Pizanos for lunch. I got a really great chicken parmesan sandwich and Chris and the kids split a pepperoni pizza. The food and the service were great. The kiddos were a little tired and cranky after lunch so we drove around for a bit to let them warm-up and take a nap. While everyone was sleeping in the car I headed over to get tickets for snow tubing at Brian Head Resort. Luckily they were starting a new 1.5-hour session soon so we didn't have to wait long for our turn. Right from the getgo, the kids were in love with snow tubing. They loved every minute of riding the escalator up the hill and zooming down. No complaining about being cold or tired, they just wanted to fly down the hill as many times as they possibly could. I have to admit I thought it was pretty fun too. Those tubes were fast! Tickets are $25 per person (child & adult) for a 1.5-hour session. Book online here. Day Two We were planning to head over to go ice skating at the Glacier Ice Rink after breakfast but the rink was located outdoors and the wind was blowing pretty hard. It looked like a storm was rolling in. Our next option on the list was Frontier Holmstead State Park Museum but since much of it is also outdoors that was out too. So guess what we did! We took the kids to the McDonalds Playland. You do what you gotta do when vacationing with kids right! I had heard great things about Centro Wood Fired Pizza so we headed there for lunch. It was such a cool and modern place. It felt like we were in a big city. The quality of the pizza was top notch and I was in love with the design of the restaurant. With the weather still not great we needed something to do indoors so we decided to go check out the Southern Utah Museum of Art. It didn't seem like the ideal activity with kids but oh my gosh was I wrong! The museum was small but really beautiful and I loved all the landscape paintings that they were showcasing. The art is changed out often. There is no entrance fee. It is all based on donations so you can donate as much or as little as you would like. From the moment we stepped into the museum one of the sweetest volunteers took my girls under her wing and walked them through the entire museum. She was so great with the girls. My 9-year-old, Lucy is starting to get into drawing and it was so good for her to have someone talk to her about art in a really fun and enjoyable way. I could see Lucy's little imagination just spinning. We got so lucky because the museum does a free family art day once a month (we had no idea about this) and turns out it was happening in an hour! The craft was so much fun for the kids. I even got in on the action and made my own art project. We will definitely be back for family art day again soon. After our fun at the museum, we headed to the hotel, quickly changed into swimming suits and made the drive to Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe UT. Mystic Hot Springs has been on my bucket list for a while now and since we were staying in Cedar City and it was only a 1.5-hour drive it seemed like the perfect evening activity. On a Saturday evening, the springs were pretty busy but we all had such an amazing time. The girls made friends quickly and Phoenix and I got lucky with one of the best tubs on the property. READ MORE : Mystic Hot Springs - A Family Adventure In Central Utah Day Three After our late night, we had a slow morning eating breakfast and checking out of the hotel. We made one last stop at the McDonalds playland to let the kiddos get out some energy and then we headed to Kolob Canyons to do the scenic drive. Kolob Canyons is a less busy section of Zion that is just 20 minutes south of Cedar City. One of Zion's best kept secrets, Kolob Canyons is tucked into the northwest corner of Zion National Park. Soaring cliffs of red Navajo Sandstone and breathtaking views are the highlight along a stunning 5-mile scenic drive. The drive was so gorgeous with the red snow cover mountains. If the kids weren't so tired from our weekend adventures I would have hustled them out of the car to do a little hiking & playing in the snow. Oh well. There is always next time. Our favorite family-friendly hikes in Kolob Canyons are Taylor Creek and Timber Creek Overlook Where to Stay in Cedar City Cedar City doesn't have a huge selection of interesting lodging choices. They have all the chain hotels but those are boring. We like to stay in a places with character. Something that the kids will love and that will be a part of the memories we make on our trip. This Airbnb, just 10 minutes north of Cedar City is such a great place to stay with kids. We absolutely loved everything about our stay. The property is on a working farm and has all the amenities you need with all the comforts of home. We cooked, played games, and watched movies in the upstairs theater room. It can even fit up to 14 guests. If you plan on visiting Brian Head or Cedar City with kids this is the place to stay. So what do you think? Are you ready to head to Cedar City for some winter fun? I hope I have inspired you to add another Southern Utah town to your bucket list. Stay tuned because we will be doing a summer staycation in Cedar City and I can't wait to show you how much fun this little town is in the summer! Happy Adventuring, Arika CHECK OUT THESE OTHER RELATED POSTS

  • One Day in Bryce Canyon National Park with Kids - Winter Edition

    One of the best ways to skip the crowds in busy national parks is to visit in the offseason and Bryce Canyon National Park is no exception. Visiting Bryce in the winter with kids is magical! Those hoodoos covered in snow are such a beautiful site! Your hiking options may be a little limited because of ice and snow, especially if you are visiting with kids, but it is still 100% worth it. WHAT ARE THE TEMPS LIKE IN BRYCE IN THE WINTER Bryce in the winter is cold. Temps during the day average 36 degrees so dressing in layers and warm winter clothing is very important if you want to get out and explore. The graph below will give you an idea of the average temperatures in Bryce Canyon in the winter months. INFORMATION FROM GOOGLE HOW TO GET TO BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK Bryce Canyon is located in South Central Utah. Bryce is often visited along with Zion National Park or on a mighty 5 road trip. Many visitors fly into the Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport, rent a car, and drive 3 hours to Zion. They often make Zion their home base and make a 1 hour 45 minute drive for a day trip to Bryce. The other most popular way is by visiting as part of a Mighty Five Road Trip by flying into Salt Lake City in northern Utah and driving three hours to Moab and visiting Arches National Park and Canyon Lands National Park together. Then head down the state two hours to Capitol Reef National park and then 1.5 hours over to Bryce Canyon National Park and then lastly 1.5 hour drive to Zion National Park. This road trip is typically done over a week. ONE DAY WINTER ITINERARY WITH KIDS For a Bryce winter adventure with kids I have put together a one-day itinerary that will give you the perfect mix of hiking and site seeing, and the best part is, you will have the park pretty much to yourself! Start your day later in the morning (give the temps time to warm up a little) with a short and easy 1-mile round trip hike at Mossy Cave Trail. For this hike, you won't be driving into the park. Click here for directions. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH - CLICK TO LEARN MORE This trail is a great one to do in winter because even if it is covered in snow it is still totally doable because there is very little elevation gain. If it has just recently snowed you may need snowshoes so be prepared. When we hiked this trail the snow was very compacted from all the hikers that had gone before us and we didn't need snowshoes or even Yaktrax for our snow boots (Yaktrax would have been nice though!). You will cross a beautiful bridge and hike to a waterfall area and then backtrack a bit to check out the caves. This is a great hike with kids. Take plenty of time to explore and play. The hike will take about an hour. Head into Tropic for pizza at The Pizza Place after your hike. It's just a five minute drive from Mossy Cave Trail. The Pizza Place offers specialty pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. There should be something here to please everyone. Other options for lunch include The Pines Restaurant. or Ruby's Inn Cowboy's Buffet & Steak Room. The Pines restaurant offers delicious home-cooked meals including soup, pie, cowboy size steaks, mashed potatoes, and gravy. The Pines is world famous for their pie so make sure to get a slice! Ruby's Inn is diner style and offers lots of options. The Cowboy Buffet and Steak Room is family style western dining featuring lots of options including the area's finest steak, ribs, chicken, and seafood. After lunch head to the Bryce Canyon National Park entrance station. Drive into the park past the Bryce Canyon Lodge (the lodge is closed during the winter from December 1st through March 8) turn left towards Sunset Point. Park in the designated parking lot and head to Sunset Point. Take in the views! They are AMAZING!!! From here you can hike Navajo Loop Trail for a short distance. When I was here with my family we didn't have Yaktrax with us so the trail was too slippery to go very far. If you want to hike make sure to bring Yaktrax with you for your boots. If you go to the right you will only be able to hike a short distance. The Wallstreet section of the trail is usually closed in the winter, but you can look down onto the trail from above and it is still pretty cool. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT HIKING NAVAJO LOOP TRAIL Defrost from the cold temps by heading to Ruby's Inn for hot chocolate. Take the hot chocolate to go and do a scenic drive through the park. Chances are you won't be able to make it to the end of the road to Bryce Viewpoint, they close the road in the winter due to heavy snow, but you should be able to make it pretty far. Our favorite scenic stop was the Natural Bridge Viewpoint. When you get to the end of the road turn around and head to go park on the east side of the lodge. From here make your way to the Rim Trail until finding the perfect spot to experience sunset in Bryce. The sun won't go down in front of your eyes but hopefully, you will catch some beautiful colors in the sky like we did. What to wear for a winter day in Bryce Canyon National Park with kids? Average winter temps in Bryce are in the mid 30's so it is very important to dress warmly. You will need beanies, gloves, winter boots, and warm coats. Here is some link to some of our favorite winter gear. Here are some items that are similar to what we have used and loved in the past. I just purchased these boots from LLbean! I'll come back and let you know how they are after I have worn them for a bit. Toddler/Young Kid Winter Boots Big Kid Winter Boots Kids Winter Coat Women's Beanie Women's Warm Leggings Women's Down Jacket Where to stay when visiting Bryce Canyon National park in the winter? Stone Canyon Inn - If you are looking for a modern and stylish stay when you are visiting the area then you will love Stone Canyon Inn. Ruby's Inn - This Bryce Canyon classic hotel is a family-friendly destination and the closest lodging to the park. Ruby's Inn has a number of winter activities available including Ice Skating Horseback Riding Snowmobiling Snowshoeing Cross-country Skiing Sleigh Rides I hope this inspires you to visit Bryce Canyon National Park in the winter. You won't regret it I promise. In the comment section below let me know if you have ever visited Bryce in the winter. I would love to hear about it. CHECK OUT THESE RELATED POSTS

  • 5 Day Winter Itinerary ; Visiting Southern Utah with Kids

    Growing up in the Hurricane Valley, I have fond memories of jumping out of bed, running barefoot to the window and peeking out in wonder at the blanket of snow covering my backyard, but that was rare. I spent the majority of my winter days as a kid in Southern Utah, running around without even a coat! When I moved to Logan, Utah, for school and later Salt Lake City for ten years, I came to understand what winter was all about.....brrrrrrr! Even though I love the snow, my love for snow is tainted a bit by the fact that I do not like the cold.....haha! I am a Southern Utah native, after all. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN ZION/SOUTHERN UTAH - CLICK TO LEARN MORE Southern Utah is known for its mild winter temps and unlimited hiking and outdoor activities. It is one of the best places to ditch the puffy coat and replace it with hiking boots and a backpack. WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN THE WINTER IN SOUTHERN UTAH Winters in Southern Utah are very mild. It generally snows 2-3 times a year, but the snow doesn't stick around for long. Often temperatures barely drop below 30 degrees, and when it does, the sun is usually still shining. The graph below will give you an idea of the average temperatures in St. George in the winter months. ****information from Google The Weather in Zion does tend to get a little colder, so make sure to plan for a range of temperatures and keep an eye on the weather forecast before you visit so you can be prepared for cold spells and possible storms. ***Big Firepit at The Ardella Cottage in La Verkin WHERE TO STAY IN SOUTHERN UTAH IN THE WINTER WITH KIDS For this itinerary, I recommend staying in St George/Washington or the Hurricane Valley. Wherever you stay, it needs to have a jacuzzi for those chilly winter nights.....am I right?!? ARDELLA COTTAGE - This stunning historic home in La Verkin, Ut, is just 30 minutes from Zion National Park and 30 minutes from Snow Canyon State Park. It is filled with all the luxury, comfort, and all the charm you could possibly want for your Southern Utah getaway. This home is the perfect winter retreat for a big family. It has a jacuzzi, cozy nooks, and a big firepit. THE ADVENIER - The Advenier is the perfect setting for thrilling outdoor adventure meets small-town hospitality and charm. The Advenier, Autograph Collection, is St George's first and only full-service luxury boutique hotel. The Advenier is centered in the Historic Arts District and minutes from great restaurants and things to do in the heart of downtown. A short walk takes you to the Children's Museum, and the rooftop jacuzzi is the perfect spot to hang out on a winter evening after a day of adventure! ARCADIA RESORT - This vacation home resort in Saint George is perfect for big families and is filled with tons of fun activities for kids. Looking at their website, I have not doubt that this is one of the best places to stay in Southern Utah with kids. Their lazy river and slide may not be open in the winter, but they do have a heated pool and jacuzzi year-round.....um yes please! WINTER HIKING TIPS FOR ZION If you are intimidated by winter hiking, don't be. The snow doesn't stick around long in Zion. Other than muddy conditions on some trails, you will find the hiking about the same as the other seasons in Zion, it will just be a little colder, which is great for hiking.....right!?! Before your trip, purchase a pair of Yaktrax for everyone in the family and take them with you in your backpack as you hike, just in case you come across slippery trails. Keep an insulated thermos of hot water in your car and hot chocolate or tea for post-hike warm-up. Bring extra warm clothes if things get wet and you want to do multiple hikes. As it gets closer to spring, there's a lot of water and red mud on the trail that kids love to play in. Bring a towel for clean up before getting back in the car. Make sure to add an extra plastic bag in the back of the car for muddy boots. Bring a bigger backpack than you normally would so that you can pack extra warm weather gear in case it is colder than you were expecting. If you have a kiddo who won't wear a hat, make sure you have a jacket or sweatshirt with a hood for when the wind whips up and they admit they are cold. Stay hydrated. It is easy to forget to drink water when you are cold so make it a priority to stop often and drink. Pay attention to the weather forecast so that you will know the kind of conditions you will be hiking in, and you can plan accordingly. HOW TO PACK FOR VISITING SOUTHERN UTAH IN THE WINTER WITH KIDS It's all about layers when dressing for winter in Southern Utah. Mornings and evenings are chilly, but during the day, if the sun is shining, it will warm up, and you will probably want to shed some layers. Bring puffy jackets, beanies, and gloves for the mornings and evenings or a possible storm bringing cooler temps. In the mid-day, when it's nice and sunny, be ready to strip down to a long sleeve t-shirt or sweatshirt. Here are some items that are similar to what we have used and loved in the past. I just purchased these boots from LLbean! I'll come back and let you know how they are after I have worn them for a bit. Toddler/Young Kid Winter Boots Big Kid Winter Boots Kids Winter Coat Women's Beanie Women's Warm Leggings Women's Down Jacket ***All the yummy treats at River Rock Roasting Company in La Verkin WHERE TO EAT IN SOUTHERN UTAH WITH KIDS You will be in St George, Hurricane, Kanab, and Springdale for this itinerary. Here is an overview of some great places to eat for adults and kids. KANAB Wild Thyme Brown Box Sego Big Al's HURRICANE VALLEY River Rock Costa Vida Dixie Pizza Wagon Muddy Bees Bakery ST GEORGE Wood Ash Rye Pizzaria Limone Viva Chicken Cafe Rio SPRINGDALE Zion Pizza Noodle Oscars Cafe Wiptail Grill Meme's Cafe FIVE DAY WINTER ITINERARY - SOUTHERN UTAH WITH KIDS So now that you know what to pack, what to expect, and where to eat it's time to get to the itinerary. I have put together five days in Southern Utah that pack a punch. These are fun days full of beautiful spots that the adults and kids will love! Mix and match or choose a few days that work best for you. These five days are perfect for any family itching to escape the cold with swirling red rock and desert adventures. DAY ONE - SNOW CANYON Morning - Jenny's Canyon slot canyon hike Run and play at the Sand Dunes Explore the Petrified Dunes Afternoon - Johnson's Canyon hike Snow Canyon State Park is a hidden gem in Southern Utah, filled with great hiking, beautiful Navajo sandstone formations, ancient lava rock (basalt), and out-of-this-world views. The park is located 10 minutes north of St. George and 30 minutes from Hurricane. Pay the $10 vehicle entrance fee at the south entrance and drive 1/4 mile to Jenny's Canyon trailhead. It will be the fist pull-out/trailhead to your right. This .3-mile round-trip trail will take you to a towering slot canyon on your left, and an overlook to your right. The slot canyon is ideal for exploring, and kids can even do a bit of rock climbing on the canyon walls. After your short hike, head up the road a short distance to the Sand Dunes. This giant-sized sandbox is the perfect place to let the kids run, play, and dig to their heart's content. Once the kids have had enough fun playing in the sand, drive north to the Petrified Dunes. The parking lot will be to your left, and a short trail will take you to incredible rolling mounds of petrified Navajo Sandstone. At the heart of Snow Canyon, the views from the top of the once-flowing mountains of sand are some of the most breathtaking in the park. Don't worry about following a trail. Just climb, explore and enjoy the beauty until everyone is ready to head back to the car. Later in the day, head back to Snow Canyon and hike Johnson's Canyon trail. Parking is just outside the park entrance at a dirt parking lot. This popular trail is 2 miles round trip, easy and family-friendly. Hikers may see remnants of a historical pipe once used to transport water from Snow Spring to agricultural areas in Ivins. After steady rains, a 200' waterfall often flows at the end of the canyon creating a large pool. DAY TWO - RED ROCK ADVENTURES Morning - Pioneer Park + Red Hills Desert Garden Downtown Children's Museum Afternoon - Hike Red Reef Trail Evening - Explore Sand Hollow Pioneer Park and Red Hills Desert Garden are fun ways to spend the morning. This red rock playground set above St. George is perfect for exploring, climbing, hiking, and enjoying all that makes Southern Utah so special. Pioneer Park is a 52-acre park featuring Dixie Rock, views of the city, hiking, BBQs & a covered pavilion. The park is chocked full of sandstone cliffs, rocks to climb, little canyons, and caverns to explore. Red Hills Desert Garden, situated next to Pioneer Park, is Utah's first interactive desert garden showcasing water-efficient landscapes, endangered species, and prehistoric tracks in one central location. This 5-acre preserve has more than 5,000 desert plants, a stream, a replica slot canyon & dinosaur tracks. After exploring the garden, head over to The St. George Children's Museum, located in the heart of downtown. The Museum encourages guests to play and explore throughout their twelve exhibit rooms. The rooms are designed to encourage interaction between children and adults. Minds, both young and old, will discover a world of imagination as they play and interact with the exhibits. It is the Museum's goal to offer and provide educational opportunities for all children and adults to learn and create memories. Later in the afternoon head over to Red Reef Trail. This trail is a fan favorite. It is a short 2.5 mile round trip hike with minimal elevation gain, lots of cool spots for playing and exploring along the trail, and the rock climbing rope area near the end makes the hike feel truly adventurous. A seasonal waterfall runs in the spring but not usually in the winter. PRO TIP If you choose to climb the rocks to the upper section with a small child on your back, we recommend using a soft carrier. This will keep your center of gravity more even. This trail doesn't see snow very often so if you do get lucky and catch Red Reef with a little bit of snow, count yourself lucky! Click here to read more about hiking Red Reef Trail. If you have more energy after hiking Red Reef, head to Sand Hollow State Park to play along the water and climb the red rocks. This lake is a super fun area for kids to play and explore. It is peaceful and quiet in the winter, not so much in the summer...haha! DAY THREE - CANYONEERING ADVENTURE Morning - Canyoneering with All Ways Adventure Afternoon - Sand Boarding at Coral Pink Sand Dunes Day three is an action-packed day full of adventure and is perfect for a family looking to push outside their comfort zone. Book a half day morning family canyoneering package with All ways Adventure . The location of your canyoneering adventure will be selected with regards to starting location, season, and conditions. Age 4/5 is usually the youngest family member they will take. All Ways Adventure has access to canyons that suit all ages, fitness levels, abilities, and desires for adventure. Nathan and his team are so great with kids, and they know exactly how to make sure that everyone has a great time, even if they are a little nervous about dangling from a rope. READ MORE ABOUT CANYONEERING HERE. After lunch, head over to Coral Pink Sand Dunes, a stunning state park located in between Kanab and Zion that is covered in fine red sand, perfect for sandboarding. Sandboarding is similar to snowboarding, which involves riding across or down a sand dune while standing on a board. Rent boards from the ranger station for $25, head across the street towards the dunes, kick off your shoes, and head for the hills. Hike up the red sandhills, jump on the sled, and fly down. Repeat over and over again. The board will go faster or slower depending on the grade of the hill and whether or not it is waxed up properly. DAY FOUR - ZION NATIONAL PARK Morning - Stop at the visitor center for a junior ranger handbook Hike Riverside Walk Picnic lunch at The Lodge Afternoon - Hike Emerald Pools Start your day by visiting the Zion National Park Visitor Center to get a Junior Ranger Handbook for the kids to work on throughout the day. If you are visiting Zion during December or January, chances are the shuttles won't be running. If the shuttles are running, jump on and ride it to the last stop, Temple of Sinawava, where you will hike the Riverside Walk trail. PRO TIP If the shuttles aren't running, make sure to get an extra early start so that you will find parking. Parking is very limited in the canyon. RELATED POST - VISITING ZION NATIONAL PARK IN THE WINTER The the 2.5-mile round trip Riverside Walk trail is mostly level and paved, making it doable for all skill levels. Shear red rock mountains and hanging gardens line the path as you walk along the Virgin River. The end of this trail is the beginning of one of Zion's most popular hikes in the summer, The Narrows. YOU CAN FIND ALL THE INFO FOR HIKING Riverside Walk HERE Head over to The Lodge and eat a picnic lunch on the lawn. The large field is so fun for kids to run and play. After lunch, walk across the road to the start of the Emerald Pools trail. This classic Zion hike is great for kids and features one of the few waterfalls on display in the park. In the winter, the waterfall section usually has ice. Be careful not to slip. Hike 1 mile round trip for the lower pool, 1.25 miles for the middle pool, and 2.5 miles round trip for the upper pool. DAY FIVE - EAST SIDE OF ZION Morning - Hike Canyon Overlook Explore Clear Creek Picnic lunch Explore along the Pa'Rus trail Afternoon - visit the Natural History Museum Get Junior Ranger Badge at Visitor Center. Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park is a family-friendly trail on the east side of Zion that features big horn sheep sightings, caves (kinda), and one of the most breathtaking views in the park. It almost feels like cheating to get views like this with such an easy hike. The trail is mostly level, but in the very beginning, there are some short uphill switchbacks that the younger kiddos may need a bit of help with. It is important to note that even though this is a very kid-friendly hike, there are plenty of spots along the trail and especially at the overlook, that can be dangerous. Make sure your children stick to the trail and away from the edges. Plan to spend some time at the overlook enjoying the amazing views. Click here to read more about hiking Canyon Overlook. After Canyon Overlook head up the road 5 miles to the Many Pools parking area for some exploring along the dry stream bed below. Clear Creek is the main dry streambed that follows Route 9 throughout the east side of Zion. Although it may not be an actual named hike in Zion, it is excellent for some off-the-beaten-path hiking and fun. Filled with cave-like tunnels, family-friendly slot canyons, and sandstone cliffs, you will find surprises around every corner. Click here to read more about hiking Clear Creek. After your day of hiking, stop at the Human History Museum to learn the history of Zion, see artifacts from the native people and watch a short film about the history of Zion. There are lots of opportunities for learning that kids will find interesting. The film is one of the activities to pass off in the Junior Ranger Handbook. Finish up the last of the Junior Ranger Handbook and then head back to the visitor center, where your child will present their completed handbook to a park ranger and take an oath to protect and care for the National Parks. If you have a little more energy after picking up the junior ranger badges, you can walk along the beautiful Pa'Rus trail that starts right at the Visitor Center. This paved trail is so beautiful and perfect for an evening stroll. Make sure to take a few of the little paths down to the river to let the kids play in the sand and throw rocks in the river. I hope this five-day itinerary inspires you to plan a winter getaway to Southern Utah. Don't let the cooler temps stop you from getting out with your kiddos. With mild weather and many great things to do with kids, Southern Utah is the perfect winter destination. Happy Adventuring, Arika CHECK OUT THESE RELATED POSTS

  • Glamping near Zion National Park with Basecamp37°

    Imagine camping under a star-filled sky, taking in expansive views that stretch for miles and miles, and watching colorful sunrises and sunsets from the private deck of a luxury safari-style tent. At BaseCamp37°, you get all the magic of camping in the desert plus the comforts and amenities of home. This post is part of a paid partnership with BaseCamp37. All ideas and opinion are 100% my own. Basecamp37° is a unique glamping experience near Zion National Park, Kanab, Lake Powell, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and Bryce Canyon National Park. WHAT IS GLAMPING? Glamping is camping in a tent but without the roughing it part, like sleeping on the ground. Glamping at Bascamp37° means a comfy kingsize bed and luxuries you don't usually get while camping like heated blankets, hot showers, and a fully stocked kitchen that is surrounded by nature and wide-open desert views for miles. ABOUT BASECAMP 37° BaseCamp 37° is a small, off-grid, women-owned and operated glamping property since 2017. The property gets its name from its location - right along the 37th parallel. The five glamping tents on the property are spaced out far enough away from neighboring tents to provide plenty of privacy. Each glamping tent has a comfy kingsize bed, a small cooler, headlamps, a private porch with a propane fire pit, wifi, and a solar-powered charging bank for charging all your electronics. The main house has a large communal kitchen and two bathrooms with hot showers. Just a short walk away from each tent; the main house is beautifully designed and stocked with all the kitchen and bathroom essentials you could ask for. It's even stocked with all the ingredients for smores! The outdoor area has a large fire pit perfect for roasting smores in the evening and telling ghost stories. The outdoor space also has plenty of seating, a barbeque, hammocks, and a small cowboy pool to cool off on those hot summer days. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH - CLICK TO LEARN MORE For entertainment, there is a considerable selection of board games and cornhole for guests to enjoy. This property would be perfect for hosting a small family gathering or an intimate elopement. Book out all the tents and have the place to yourselves! WHERE IS BASECAMP37° LOCATED BaseCamp37° is located in the Chocolate Cliffs of the Grand Staircase, just ten minutes from downtown Kanab in the Southwest corner of Utah. To get to BaseCamp37° you can fly into Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport, rent a car and drive 3 hours. You can also fly into the Saint George Regional airport. This airport is much smaller with minimal flight options, but if you can find one that works for you, the time savings and convenience will be a huge bonus. It's only a 1 hour 30-minute drive. The next closest major airport is Salt Lake City. Salt Lake is a 5.5-hour drive. OUR EXPERIENCE STAYING AT BASECAMP37° My kiddos and I love visiting Kanab any chance we can get. Since Kanab is just an hour from our home, it makes for the perfect little staycation. My kiddos were a little hesitant when we turned down the dirt road a few minutes outside of town, but once we pulled up to our tent, they were thrilled to run around and check out our base camp for the weekend. Our tent had a king size bed and a twin-sized bed for my 13-year-old. My younger two were happy to cuddle with me in the kingsize bed for the weekend. Amy, the host, and owner of BaseCamp37°, was quick to greet us and tell us about the property. She was awesome and gave me some great ideas for kid-friendly spots to check out close by. We took our groceries over to the main house and explored all the shared space. Everything was so beautifully designed and functional. I loved that there was plenty of room to cook dinner and eat breakfast. It's so nice not to have to eat out every meal when traveling with kids. The weather was perfect, and we spent the evening in the outdoor communal space. I was in awe of how lush and beautiful the cactus and desert sagebrush were on the property. I even asked Amy if they had done landscaping. She just laughed and said no. It was all natural. My kiddos found the hammocks and spent the evening fighting over them...haha! 2 hammocks + three kids = fighting! After roasting smores, we walked the short distance to our tent to cozy up in bed and listen to the sounds of the desert at night. The dark sky was filled with millions of twinkling stars. It was so magical! I woke up in the morning just before sunrise and enjoyed the pink glow on the horizon. Everything was so quiet and still. That is the magic of the desert. Away from all the hustle and bustle, you get a peacefulness that is so rare these days. It is just what my soul needed. We enjoyed a slow morning, eating breakfast in the main house and exploring the property before heading out for the day. I love that we didn't have to drive far to find all sorts of things to do for a day of adventure and fun. That night I made dinner for the kids in the communal kitchen, and we hung out inside and played UNO at the large table. It was a perfect evening after a long day of adventuring. The following day we woke up and had another slow morning, eating breakfast and swinging in the hammocks before checking out. BaseCamp37° is something special. We loved every minute of our stay in this beautiful desert setting and highly recommend making BaseCamp37° your base camp for your Southern Utah adventures. OUR FULL WEEKEND ITINERARY Day 1 - 1/2 day A Stop at Best Friends Visitor Center in downtown Kanab to pet the kittens Dinner at Big Als Frost Stop - Buffalo burgers, sweet potato fries, and yummy milkshakes Check in to BaseCamp 37 Spend the evening swinging on hammocks, watching the sunset, and making smores under the magnificent Southern Utah sky Day 2 - Full Day Wake up early to watch the sunrise from the tent Slow morning with coffee and cereal and exploring BaseCamp37 Hike The Nautilus (Thanks, Amy, for the great recommendation!) Lunch in Page @ Swimming and cliff jumping at The Chains area of Lake Powell A quick stop at Horseshoe Bend Dinner at BaseCamp37 UNO at the kitchen table Day 3 - 1/2 day Breakfast and slow morning, then check out Coffee at Kanab Creek Bakery Hike Squa Trail - Local trail right in town with views of the town Explore Moqui Caverns Explore Belly of the Dragon Scenic drive home through Zion National Park When I say that BaseCamp37° is close to so many things to do, I'm not kidding! Check out this list I have put together of 15 hikes and things to do close to BaseCamp37°. Most of these things we have done but there are still a few on my list for next time and I'm sure I will continue to find more and more. 1 - Hike Wire Pass Trail 2 - Hike Buckskin Gulch 3 - Hike The Toadstools 4 - Hike Whitehouse Trail 5 - Hike Coyote Buttes North 6 - Hike The Wave 7 - Hike to Moqui Caverns 8 - Hike Belly of the Dragon 9 - Paddle Board Antelope Canyon 10 - Visit Horseshoe Bend 11 - Swim at Lake Powell 12 - Hike Mansard Trail 13 - Hike Water Canyon 14 - Go Canyoneering 15 - Try a guided slot canyon UTV tour For more inspiration and info about staying in Kanab check out this post 20 Reasons Why Kanab, Utah Should Be Your Next Family Vacation Happy Adventuring, Arika CHECK OUT THESE OTHER RELATED POSTS

  • The best time to visit Zion National Park

    When is the best time to visit Zion National Park? That is a question that I get asked a lot and I must say, it's a hard one to answer. In truth, I think any time is a great time to visit Zion but with any outdoor destination, there are things you need to think about and prepare for so that you can have the best time possible. Here are my best tips for visiting Zion in each season. Visiting Zion in The Summer (May-September) Visiting Zion in the Summer is when you are going to have to work around the most crowds and also when the heat is going to be the most intense but I would never tell anyone not to visit in the summer. In my opinion, summer is when Zion is at her most beautiful. Everything is so green and lush in the canyon and if you like water, well this is the best time to play in the Virgin River. To avoid the crowds make sure to get out first thing in the morning. Never, never, never try to get on the shuttles anytime after 8:00 am if you want to avoid crowds and lines to get on the shuttles. The early start time is so worth it you guys! Having that little bit of solitude in the mornings is priceless. If you are hiking one of the more popular trails like Angels Landing or The Narrows I suggest you line up for the shuttles at 6:00 am. Click here to view the Zion shuttle schedule. A few of my favorite hikes to beat the crowds in Zion are Lower Pine Creek trail, Sand Bench Loop trail, East Mesa trail, or Clear Creek. Clear Creek isn't an actual hiking trail but you can turn it into one pretty easily by walking along the dry stream bed for miles. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN ZION/SOUTHERN UTAH - CLICK TO LEARN MORE Another way to beat the crowds in the summer is by entering the park in the later part of the day. By 3:00 pm the lines for the shuttle have usually died down and visitors have started heading back to their hotels and campsites for the day. Stay in the park until sunset or even after with a headlamp. Evenings in Zion are magical. The shuttles usually go as late as 9 pm and if you are on the east side of Zion you can explore in the dark as long as you like. Heading out first thing in the morning or later in the day is also a great way to beat the heat. Bring more than enough water and wear light breathable clothing. Hiking along a stream or river is my favorite way to hike in the summer. Riverside Walk/The Narrows is by far the best hike in Zion to beat the summer heat. It's crowded though so getting out first thing in the morning is a must. RELATED BLOG POST: DON'T VISIT ZION IN THE SUMMER UNTIL YOU READ THIS Visiting Zion in Spring/Fall (Oct-Nov & March-April) The great thing about visiting Zion in the spring or fall is that you won't have to deal with the intense heat or cold and the crowds won't be quite as bad. I still suggest getting out first thing in the morning but it will be harder to stay in the park later in the day since the days aren't quite as long as in the summer. Dressing in layers is a must in the spring and fall. Mornings and evenings can get pretty cold but the days usually warm up nicely so having layers to peel off when it starts to warm up is essential. Be aware of the shuttle schedule when you are visiting. In the offseason, the shuttles shut down or run on a reduced schedule. I'm hoping this year that the shuttles go longer and start earlier. It may seem like a luxury to be able to drive your car into the canyon but in reality, it isn't. Parking in the canyon is extremely limited and it turns into a mess really fast. When parking reaches capacity the canyon gets shut down and traffic turns into a disaster. If you are visiting on a weekend or holiday and the shuttles have limited service either avoid the canyon altogether or go in and get parking at the crack of dawn. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THIS ITINERARY THAT WOULD BE GREAT FOR FALL OR SPRING | A FALL FAMILY ADVENTURE - ITINERARY Visiting Zion in the Winter (December-February) Visiting Zion in the winter is when you will have to deal with the least amount of crowds (Except for over Thanksgiving breatk and Christmas/New Years see below), but the temps can get pretty cold, and you may have to deal with snowy or icy conditions. The trails can also get pretty muddy. During this time it is essential to have the proper gear and warm clothing. Some great winter hikes include Watchman Trail, Riverside Walk, and Pa'Rus Trail. For sightseeing, photography, and cold weather hiking visiting Zion in the winter is quite spectacular. Be aware that during the winter season the shuttles are typically not running and many of the restaurants and shops in Springdale tend to close down. Related: Don't Visit Zion In The Winter Until You Read This When To Not Visit Zion I don't usually tell people not to visit Zion but there are certain times of the year that Zion can get pretty crowded. Labor Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend, Thanksgiving holiday (if the weather is nice) and Christmas holiday (if the weather is nice) are times when Zion reaches max capacity and you are really going to have to work around the crowds.. If you are going to be in Southern Utah during these times try visiting more off the beaten path spots like Snow Canyon State Park, Kanab, and Red Cliffs Reserve. CHECK OUT THESE OTHER RELATED BLOG POSTS

  • 20 Reasons Why Kanab, Utah Should Be Your Next Family Vacation

    Tucked into the Southwest corner of Utah is a charming little town surrounded by beautiful red rock cliffs and wide open desert. Kanab, Utah, is one of the best little towns in Southern Utah to make your home base when planning a family vacation to Zion National Park/Southern Utah. This little town has the best small-town vibe, excellent lodging options, great places to eat, and is central to tons of great hiking and things to do with kids. With three national parks and two beautiful state parks close by, you could spend days, even weeks exploring in and around Kanab without running out of things to do with your kiddos! It really is a great little town. HOW TO GET TO KANAB One of the most popular ways to get to Kanab is to fly into Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport, rent a car and drive 3 hours. Driving from Las Vegas, you can stop at Valley of Fire State Park & Snow Canyon State park to break up the drive and see some stunning sights on your drive. The next closest major airport is Salt Lake City. Salt Lake is a 5.5-hour drive from Kanab. Flying into Salt Lake will allow you to turn your vacation into a road trip! First, go through Moab and hit up Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Then head south and stop at Gobblin Valley State Park and Capitol Reef National Park. You can also fly into the Saint George Regional airport. This airport is much smaller with minimal flight options, but if you can find one that works for you, the time savings and convenience will be a huge bonus. It is a 1 hr 30-minute drive from Saint George to Kanab. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT KANAB? Kanab is excellent in all seasons, even winter. Actually, it might be at it's best in the winter! Kanab averages 256 days of sunshine each year so chances are pretty good you are going to get some sunshine anytime of the year you visit. SUMMER IN KANAB (June - September) There's no beating around the bush, summer in Kanab is hot. This is a busy time to visit Kanab/Southern Utah but not so busy that you can't escape the crowds. Crowds die down a little in August and September when kids start going back to school. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH - CLICK TO LEARN MORE Temps from June - August are 100+, sometimes evening getting up to 110 degrees but don't let that stop you. Just head to Lake Powell or to Duck Creek to cool off. Getting out first thing in the morning is also a great way to beat the heat. SPRING AND FALL IN KANAB (Oct, Nov, April & May) Spring and Fall in Kanab are beyond perfect. This tends to be a more busy time to visit because of the perfect temps . Mornings and evenings are cool but temps warm up nicely during the day. It is perfect hiking weather. WINTER IN KANAB (November-March) This is the least busy time to visit Kanab/Southern Utah. Rates for lodging will be lower and you will have more solitude while out hiking. Holiday weekends are an exception. If the weather is nice, it gets especially busy. Winter temps in Kanab are very mild. It generally snows 2-3 times a year, but the snow doesn't stick around for long. Often temperatures barely drop below 30 degrees, and when it does, the sun is usually still shining. Average temps during the day range from 49-55 degrees. The adventure opportunities in Kanab are endless. I have put together a list of my top 20 reasons that Kanab should be at the top of your list for your next family vacation. So let's get to it! Table Of Contents East entrance to Zion National Park is 35 minutes away Bryce Canyon National Park is 1 hour 20 minutes away Kanab has tons of Great kid friendly hiking close by The Kanab Visitor Center North Rim of Grand Canyon is one hour 45 minutes away Kanab has tons of great food options Great museums and kid-friendly activities right in town Lake Powell is 1 hour away Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for animal lovers Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is 30 minutes away Tons of Great Guided Adventures to choose from Horseshoe bend is 1 hr 10 mins away Antelope Canyon 1 hr 20 mins away Snow Canyon State Park is 1 hour 30 minutes away Kanab has tons of unique family friendly lodging Red Cliffs National Reserve 1 hr 15 mins away Duck Creek Village is 1 hour away Cedar Breaks is 1 hour 20 minutes away Kolob Canyons is 1 hour 30 minutes away Great Family Friendly Events 1 - East entrance to Zion National Park is 35 minutes away Spend a day or two in Zion National Park hiking among the soaring sandstone cliffs, playing in the Virgin River, and spotting wildlife like mule deer and bighorn sheep. My favorite kid-friendly hikes in Zion include Riverside Walk Trail, Canyon Overlook, The Narrows, Clear Creek, Lower Pine Creek Falls, Emerald Pools, and Sand Bench Loop. RELATED POST - Hiking Zion with Kids: The Ultimate Guide 2 - Bryce Canyon National Park is 1 hour 20 minutes away A day trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, land of hoodoos, is a must when visiting Southern Utah. When staying in Kanab, visiting Bryce is the perfect quick and easy day trip. One day in Bryce will give you plenty of time to check out our two favorite family-friendly hikes, Mossy Cave Trail, and Navajo Loop Trail. RELATED POST - VISITING BRYCE IN THE WINTER - A ONE DAY ITINERARY 3- Great family-friendly hiking close by Along with all the great hiking you can do in the surrounding National Parks, there are a ton of great trails in and around Kanab that are beautiful and family-friendly. Here are my favorite family-friendly hikes in and around Kanab. BELLY OF THE DRAGON - A short hike through a water culvert/tunnel. Located 25 minutes outside of Kanab. DINOSAUR TRACKS TRAIL - A 1 mile round trip hike a few minutes outside of Kanab where you get to hike to huge 185 million-year-old dinosaur tracks in well preserved slick rock outcrops. MOQUI CAVERNS / KANAB SAND CAVES - A short hike to beautiful light filled caves just 5 minutes outside of Kanab. WIRE PASS TRAIL - A 3 mile trail through a stunning slot canyon just 45 minutes outside of Kanab THE TOAD STOOLS - A 1.5 mile round trip hike to very cool rock formations in the desert just 45 minutes outside of Kanab SQUAW TRAIL - A 2 mile round trip hike to stunning views overlooking Kanab. Located right in town. THE NAUTILUS - A 1 mile round trip hike to a cool rock formation with a giant slide. 45 minutes outside Kanab. WATER CANYON - A 3.5 mile round trip hike to a lush desert oasis and stream for water play. Located 45 minutes from Kanab. RED HOLLOW - .5 mile hike to a small slot canyon. Located 40 minutes outside of Kanab. 4 - The Kanab Visitor Center If you don't have time to plan your trip ahead of time, no worries. One stop at the Kanab Visitor Center and you will be good to go. This visitor center has detailed brochures for all the hikes, activities and attractions in and around Kanab. These one-page brochures make it so easy to find where you are going and plan your activities accordingly. The staff at the visitor center is also invaluable at helping visitors figure out what to do and where to go. 5 - North Rim of Grand Canyon is 1 hour 45 minutes away When visiting Kanab a day trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is a must. With cooler temps, epic views, and great hiking there will be plenty to keep the whole family entertained for the day. On your drive, you have to make a stop at Jacob Lake Inn Gift Shop for their world famous cookies. Seriously you guys, the best cookies I have ever had! ***Please note that the North Rim in closed in the winter starting November 30th (earlier if there is a big storm) and does not usually open for the summer until May 15th. 6 - Kanab has tons of great food options Being a small town, you wouldn't expect Kanab to have much to choose from as far as food options go, but they have a ton. It is seriously one of the reasons I love Kanab so much! For something quick and easy, we love Big Al's. It's a small-town frost stop with buffalo burgers, sweet potato fries, and yummy milkshakes. If you are a lover of fine food, then you don't want to miss the world-class Sego Restaurant. Sego serves diners a selection of regional new American cuisine with all the ingredients locally sourced and grown. It may not be the most kid-friendly option so grab them a fast-food hamburger and then head over to enjoy one of the best meals of your life. I will never stop craving the Artichoke and Foraged Mushroom toast!!! For coffee and amazing french pastries, hit up Kanab Creek Bakery. Wild Thyme is also an excellent option for a nice dinner. We have also tried Rockin V Cafe & Escobars Mexican Restaurant, and both were great. Asava Juice & Smoothies is a super healthy option, great for organic juice, smoothies, and toast. Brown Box Bake Shop is a new addition to Kanab, and even though I haven't tried it yet, I must say those deserts look incredible!!!! 7 - Great museums and kid-friendly activities right in town I love that there are so many things in town to keep kids busy. Heritage House Museum, Little Hollywood land, and Jacob Hamblin Park are just a few of the activities/attractions in Kanab that will entertain your littles and get their imaginations going. 8 - Lake Powell is 1 hour away Lake Powell, the largest man-made lake in North America, is widely known as one of the premier water-based destinations in the world. The activity options at Lake Powell are endless. Rent a boat for the day, paddle board Antelope Canyon, go cliff jumping at The Chains, play along the shore at the Wahweap Marina, or go hiking and exploring the endless rugged water-and wind-carved canyons around the lake. PRO TIP - If you don't have a boat to play on the water, hit up The Chains. This area is the best spot to go cliff jumping, swim in Lake Powell, and still be surrounded by beautiful red rock. 9 - Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for animal lovers This lifesaving haven for hundreds of adoptable animals on 3,700 stunning acres is located just five miles north of Kanab. Best Friends has a visitor center in down town Kanab and every time we visit we stop in to play with the kittens and see what's new. Sign up to take a free tour of the sanctuary and your kiddos will be in animal-loving heaven. It is the perfect morning or afternoon activity for the whole family. Click here to book your Best Friends Animal Sanctuary tour! 10 - Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is 30 minutes away Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a stunning state park located in between Kanab and Zion that is covered in fine red sand, perfect for sandboarding. Sandboarding is similar to snowboarding, which involves riding across or down a sand dune while standing on a board. Rent boards from the ranger station for $25, head across the street towards the dunes, kick off your shoes, and head for the hills. In the hot Southern Utah sun, it seems that the sand might be too hot for play, but it is surprisingly perfect towards the end of the day. Hike up the red sandhills, jump on the sled, and fly down. Repeat over and over again. The board will go faster or slower depending on the grade of the hill and whether or not it is waxed up properly. 11 - Kanab has tons of Great Guided Adventures to choose from There are so many amazing guided adventures to check out when staying in Kanab. The hardest part is choosing which one. Guided adventures are a great way to experience new places with kids. It allows you to be more in the moment with your kiddos because your guide has everything taken care of regarding planning, timing, and safety. These are my top picks for guided adventures with kids in the Kanab area. Via Ferrata with Roam Canyoneering with All Ways Adventure Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon ATV Tour with Kanab Tour Company Ultimate Adventure with Coral Pink ATV Tours White Mountain Horseback Ride with East Zion Adventures Great Chamber with Expedition Kanab Crimson Canyon Hike and UTV Adventure with East Zion Adventures Campfire S'mores and Stargazing Tour by Adventure Tour Company WE LOVE EAST ZION ADVENTURES - CLICK TO LEARN MORE 13 - Antelope Canyon 1 hr 20 mins away Antelope Canyon is one of the most famous slot canyons in the world. The way the light hits the smooth swilry canyon is truely magical. You must purchase a guided tour to see this protected slot canyon. The tours are in the $130-$200 per person range and require advanced booking. They fill up quite far in advance, so if you want to see this stunning slot canyon, make sure to book tickets as soon as you know your travel dates. 14 - Snow Canyon State Park is 1 hour 30 minutes away Snow Canyon State Park is a hidden gem in Southern Utah, filled with great hiking, beautiful Navajo sandstone formations, ancient lava rock (basalt), and out-of-this-world views. It gets very hot during the day in the summer with very little shade, so plan your adventures for early morning or later in the afternoon. Our favorite family-friendly trails in the park are Jenny's Canyon, Petrified Dunes, Lava Tubes, and Butterfly Trail. 15 - Unique Family Friendly Lodging I'm a sucker for cool lodging and Kanab has an over supply of fun and unique places to stay. Here is a list of my favorites. BASECAMP37 Basecamp37 is a spacious, secluded but totally connected hideaway with, safari-style tents, luxury beds and linens, hot showers, even hotter grills, and friendly folks. There is a shared house on the property plus a common area for all the guests. The 5 tents on the property face nothing but open land and huge vistas. It is located 8 miles east of Kanab in the Chocolate Cliffs of the Grand Staircase under the magnificent Southern Utah sky. RELATED POST: Glamping near Zion National Park with Basecamp37° CAVE LAKES CANYON RANCH This is a unique new glamping property is tucked into a private canyon between Kanab and Orderville! The property features spring-fed ponds, cave lakes, beautifully designed glamping tents, and cabins all tucked into a stunning secluded private canyon. I can't get over how cool this property looks. TIMBER AND TIN This mini resort located along main street is built on the homestead of the host's cowboy ancestors. Timber and Tin has all the amenities of a high-end resort but with peace and quite of small town Kanab. The resort features 7 homes, a swimming pool, hot tub, a historic barn with games and a theater room, an outdoor picnic pavilion, and rooftop decks and fire pits for each home. BEST FRIENDS ROADHOUSE AND MERCANTILE This is the ultimate place to stay with furry friends. While many hotels are pet-friendly, The Best Friends Roadhouse is the only pet-centric lodging in Kanab, Utah, or all of Southern Utah for that matter. The 40-room hotel is beautifully designed and features a fenced dog park, stunning murals, a splash zone, a washing station, slide-out pet beds, treats, and more. Your kiddos will be in animal-loving heaven. DARK SKY This boutique RV campground, located just three miles from the center of Kanab, sits on 40 acres of stunning desert landscape. Each of the 18 spacious sites offers unobstructed views to watch incredible sunrises and sunsets. The luxurious amenities include: Private bath suites Outdoor showers Outdoor kitchen with grill and pizza oven Open terrace lounge Meditative areas A dog park A kids' dig pit A 75' zipline Sites include a shade structure, dining table, low table, and propane firepit. This place looks absolutely amazing and I can't wait to check it out! 16 - Red Cliffs National Reserve is 1 hr 15 mins away This small Desert Reserve is a fun, family-friendly location. It features great hiking, seasonal waterfalls, and beautiful red rock formations. Red Reef Trail is a fan favorite. This trail is a short 3-mile round trip hike with minimal elevation gain, lots of cool spots for playing and exploring along the trail, and the rock climbing rope area near the end makes the hike feel truly adventurous. 17 - Duck Creek Village is 1 hour away Sitting at the edge of a large mountain meadow at an elevation of 8,400 feet Duck Creek Village is a thriving mountain community with shops, restaurants, lodges, inns, cabin rentals, and a campground. It is a popular summer destination with hiking, fishing, camping, horseback riding, ATV riding, and mountain biking. In the winter it's great for a cozy winter getaway, snowshoeing and snowmobilin. Don't miss Cascade Falls in the summer. This family-friendly hike is a one mile round trip hike to a 100-foot waterfall fed by Navajo Lake. Along this well-maintained family-friendly trail you will see several varieties of plant life and incredible views of the Zion/Kolob Terrace. 18 - Cedar Breaks National Monument is 1 hour 20 minutes away Often referred to as a miniature Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks features a huge amphitheater with stone spires, columns, arches, pinnacles, and intricate canyons. Located in the mountains of Southern Utah and situated at 10,000 feet, Cedar Breaks is shaped like a giant coliseum dropping 2,000 feet to its floor. The monument is open from late May to mid-October, and the visitor center is open from mid-June to mid-September. Families are encouraged to stop by and check out the Junior Ranger Program or sign up for a ranger-guided hike. Our two favorite family-friendly trails are the Sunset Trail and the Alpine Pond Loop trail. PRO TIP - During the month of July the wildflowers are in full bloom, and they are absolutely stunning!!! 19 - Kolob Canyons is 1 hour 30 minutes away One of Zion's best kept secrets, Kolob Canyons is tucked into the northwest corner of Zion National Park. Soaring cliffs of red Navajo Sandstone and breathtaking views are the highlight along a stunning 5-mile scenic drive. The canyons are easily accessed from Interstate 15. Our favorite family-friendly hikes in Kolob Canyons are Taylor Creek and Timber Creek Overlook. PRO TIP - Kolob sits at 6,000 feet, meaning that summer temperatures are usually 10 degrees cooler than Kanab & Zion Canyon. 20 - Tons of Great Family-Friendly Events It seems like there is always something fun going on in Kanab. The event calendar is packed all year long with activities like Balloons and Tunes, Jacob Hamblin Days, Kanab 4th, and Western Legends. My kiddos and I attended the Balloons and Tunes Festival in February, and we had the best weekend. We loved the lantern festival and waking up each morning to watch the air balloons fill the sky. The Western Legends event looks amazing. The event is held in September and hosts a boot-shakin' country concert, western movie stars, and a legendary rodeo. You're invited to experience wild country melodies, heroic bull riders, and unmatched adventure. Kanab also knows how to celebrate 4th of July with all the small town charm. It's like straight out of the movies. Whether you have a few days or a week, Kanab has everything you need to plan a magical family vacation. With excellent hiking and endless adventure opportunities, there is something for everyone. Are you ready to book your spring break, winter break, or summer vacation? Happy Adventuring, Arika CHECK OUT THESE RELATED BLOG POSTS

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