So we conclude the last leg of this itinerary at Zion National Park. We went to the visitor center in Kanab to inquire about boondocking options and were pointed in the right direction. There is no name for the road, however if you are heading north from Kanab, it is right before Carmel Junction right after coming down the steep grade. GPS coordinates are 37.208999, -112.687259. AT&T works great here but not so much for Verizon. We are parked right next to a narrow section of the Virgin River, which is nice for being able to wash off after hiking in the red, Utah dirt. For groceries, I recommend going to Honey’s Marketplace. The prices were more reasonable than the other major store and they have fresh, smoked, finger lickin’ ribs. For those of you who know me know how much I love BBQ.
We attempted the lottery for a permit to go to the “Wave”, aka Coyote Butte north. This is a very famous 2 mile hike through a protected stretch of sandstone that looks like a wave. Only 20 permits are given a day. Ten of which you can get through the daily, walk in lottery in Kanab. We weren’t lucky enough to win the lottery, but we did get to do some pretty cool things during our visit here.
In Zion, we entered through the east entrance. As far as scenic drives go, it is up there with the best of them. However it takes about an hour to get to the park from our boondocking site due to the tunnels. The first tunnel is big enough to fit large vehicles but the second tunnel is only wide enough to fit one large vehicle at a time. This makes for a longer drive to get to the park since you may have to wait for traffic to clear through the tunnel. You don’t have to pay the $15 toll unless you have an RV or large bus.
Like all the other National Parks we’ve been to, Zion is crowded. Like the Grand Canyon, you have to take a shuttle to get to most of the hikes. Parking is a problem. Unless you get there super early or are lucky, you will most likely have to leave the park through the west entrance and find a place to park in Springfield. Then you will have to walk back, through the west entrance, to get to the visitor center to get to the shuttles.
We hiked the Emerald pools loop one day and the Narrows another. The Emerald pools loop was nice, my favorite part was the Upper pool. We saw a large tarantula perching itself in the shade atop a large boulder. We also saw some great panoramic views. The original name for Zion, Mukuntuweap National Monument, means “straight up land” in the local Indian dialect. Lets just say you may have a kink in your neck from constantly looking up at the towering mesas. The Narrows trail is a famous slot canyon in the park. Like other slot canyons, it can be dangerous is there is a chance for a flash flood. After all, this is how the slot canyons were formed, water slowly slicing its way through the sandstone rock. After a few thousand years, voila you have a slot canyon. We tromped through the virgin river for about 2.5 miles until we, well, basically got bored and kinda cold so we just turned around. It isn’t all that great. I personally prefer keeping my feet dry when hiking. One thing they do not mention is that you should have hiking poles. Sine you are walking through the river, in some areas you can’t see your foot placement. If you have a walking pole or stick it is easier and you will be less likely to fall.
The city of Kanab has some really great trails too. We hiked the K-Hill Trail and parts of the Cottonwood and Bunting trails. The K-Hill trail was the best. It is easy and only 3 miles in and out. The other two were not marked well so we couldn’t complete them. We also hiked Lick Wash, a slot canyon about 20-30 min outside of Glendale. We wanted to experience a slot canyon without being around hundreds of people like in the Narrows. It was totally worth the drive. Just a hint to get there through the town of Glendale you turn onto “300” road.
We had a great trip, it was the best road trip yet. This east coast girl got a taste of the west, and, well- it was awesome. I will never forget the stars at night in the western sky, the unique rock formations of the Painted Desert, or the ease of boondocking with the right set-up. I am going to have Tim create our itinerary for y’all to see where we went, step by step, on the map. Thanks for reading.