A Zion Share of Grandeur
Ultimate Utah, Days 11 & 12: Bryce Canyon National Park to Zion National Park
Upon our arrival, we drove into Springdale, checked in at our hotel, and grabbed lunch at a nearby tavern. In contrast to the hackneyed cowboy/western vibe of Bryce Canyon City, we found Springdale to be a pristine little town whose attractive streets are lined with boutique hotels, chic shops and trendy restaurants. Somehow everything in the town looks fresh and new.
After a picnic lunch at one of the shuttle stops, we finished our park exploration for the day with the Lower Emerald Pool Trail. At 1.2 miles round trip, the hike is promoted as suitable for every age, and there were lots of seniors and children along the route. More than this paved trail, we enjoyed strolling along the river on established paths that weren't promoted as a specific hike.
|Cemetery at the ghost town of Grafton|
TUESDAY, 2 MAY, & WEDNESDAY, 3 MAY 2017
• Started in: Bryce Canyon, UT
• Ended in: Springdale, UT
• Miles driven: 162 (total 3,322)
• Weather: 33° to 87°, clear
• Letterboxes: Found 9, Planted 0 (totals: F32, P6)
• Walked: 11.77 mi (total 50.14)
Zion National Park...by the Numbers
• 4,300,000 Visitors per year
• 35 Percent of increase in Zion visitors in the last decade
• 600,000 Average visitation in July, the park's busiest month
• 86,000 Average visitation in January, the park's quietest month
• 6th Zion's ranking in the National Park Service, based on annual visitation
• 1909 President Taft declared the area Mukuntuweap National Monument.
• 1919 National Park Service changed name to Zion National Park
• 229 Size of Zion National Park, in square miles
• 2,000 Height in ft. of Zion sandstone cliffs, the tallest such formations in world
• 90 Miles of trails in Zion National Park
Loved: It was great to see the number and variety of people who were out hiking in the park. We saw hikers whose ages spanned from 2 to 82, and though they sometimes struggled a bit, all seemed proud of their hiking accomplishments.
Lacking: Decent restrooms. The noxious odor of the pit toilets around the park could be smelled from 50 yards away. Somehow the Zion staff has allowed the restrooms to be overwhelmed by the increasing number of visitors. Similar facilities at Bryce Canyon had no unpleasant odor at all.
Learned: We certainly learned why Zion is one of America's most popular national parks. Gazing up massive sandstone cliffs to a brilliant blue sky and marveling at the infinite variety of shapes and colors and textures of its rock formations leaves no doubt that this unique spot exemplifies why we need national parks to protect such treasures.