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Trip Report Trip Report: Grand Canyon North Rim, Zion NP & Bryce Canyon NP

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We recently returned from a trip which included Grand Canyon North Rim, Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP. This report is about Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP.

This was our first trip to Utah and I am asking myself why we waited so long, it is so beautiful.

At Zion, we stayed in a motel room inside of the park. . We were not expecting much but were pleasantly surprised. It was clean, comfortable and roomy. Our room was on the second floor with a small balcony that included two rocking chairs--perfect for people watching or just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful view. The motel is very close to the lodge and the shuttle bus stop; there is a restaurant at the lodge but we did not eat there. We did eat at the outdoor cafe, which was quick and convenient. Our room faced the park; we loved it there and would stay again.

We entered the park from the east entrance as recommended by many on Fodors. . We took the Canyon Overlook trail, it was a perfect way to start our Zion trip. There are some places where the trail is very narrow with long drop offs. Some climbing is required, but we are not experienced hikers and did not have any problem. We also took the Riverside Walk--very busy that day but very much worth it. It is awesome to see the river winding up next to the huge red rocks.
Other hikes: Emerald Falls--we only planned to go to the Lower Pool, but we were enjoying it so headed for Middle Pool, and then decided to go for it and went to the Upper Falls. It was a very beautiful hike. It had rained the day before so we got to see small waterfalls. Going to/from the Upper Pond, there is a lot of sandstone and it was slippery in a few places, but we are so glad we did this trail.
Pa'rus Trail - did not take the entire trail but everything we saw was amazing. It is so breathtaking to see the red rocks against the blue sky.
Weeping Rock trail - very short, easy trail. It was fun to see the water seeping from the rocks, and very pretty colors in the rocks in that area.
Kolob Canyon--we drove over to the NW corner of the park to see this area. It was very dramatic with huge red cliffs.
We stayed for three nights so we had enough time for Kolob Canyon, but if I did not have enough time, that is the one I would probably skip.
We also drove a very long, deserted road to Lava Rock. Due to the time involved in taking this drive, I would not recommend it, and did not feel the pros (pretty view) did not outweigh the cons (very long drive).
We did not take the Narrows trail but at the end of Riverside Walk, we could see many headed in that direction.

I thought taking the shuttle buses would be inconvenient but that was not the case. The buses were running every 6-7 minutes; the drivers were pleasant and helpful.

We ate several meals in Springdale, including The Spotted Dog Cafe; it was a pleasant evening so we opted for outdoor dining--good food and a nice view. We got a take-out pizza from the Zion Pizza & Noodle Co. We took it back to our room and enjoyed a relaxing meal sitting on our balcony.

The drive from Zion to Bryce went pretty quickly. As we approached from the west, we went through Red Rock Canyon. It was very striking and beautiful.

We stayed at Best Western Grand, which is newer than the Best Western Ruby, and also not quite so busy and maybe a little quieter. The complimentary breakfast was one of the nicest we have had. They had a nice outdoor area and spa. We sat outside for a short time in the evening to do a little star watching and site in the spa--we had the entire place all to ourselves. This was a very nice place to stay, the staff was friendly, the rooms were
comfy with nice bedding and a small refrigerator. The bathroom was very nice, even had double sinks.

At Bryce Canyon, we drove the scenic drive and stopped at every overlook. We especially enjoyed the popular Bryce Overlook, Inspiration Point, Sunset, Point and Sunrise Point. Aqua Canyon, Black Birch Canyon, Rainbow Point & Fairview Points are also very nice.

We only took one hike; a young man working at Zion recommended the Navajo Trail, and we are so glad he did. It was a little challenging for us but so worth it. We wanted to get down into the canyon and this was an awesome way to do it. It is so beautiful, it is amazing and hard to describe.

Mother Nature did not cooperate, we did not have nice weather for sunrise or sunset but we did not feel cheated, as we had already seen unforgettable sights.

We stayed at Zion Canyon for 3 nights, maybe we could have done it in 2 but it did give us time to sit on the balcony and enjoy the rocking chairs! We were only at Bryce Canyon for one night, but we took our time at each overlook and did not feel rushed. An additional day might have given us another chance to see the hoodoos at sunrise or sunset or taken additional trails, but we felt very content with everything that we saw. We came shortly after Labor Day; the parks were busy but not swamped.

Sorry if this report is too long. These two National Parks are very beautiful and worth the drive to see them!

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