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Trip Report Vegas, Zion NP, Page AZ, Sedona & Grand Canyon TR. Or, Eating iamq's Dust!

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At the end of June, DW and I spent a little over a week traveling out to Las Vegas, then around southern Utah & northern Arizona. Before going, we received lots of helpful info here, and traded some plans with iamq who was planning a similar trip at about the same time. If you haven't read his trip report, it's amazing & you should definitely do that:

http://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/we-hit-the-trifecta-our-trip-to-bryce-grand-canyon-north-rim-and-zion.cfm

We ended up doing many of the same things, and I'm not going to even attempt to cover areas that he already did, since he did it so well. But we did some different things in some of the same places, and we went do some different places, so this could be of some use to anyone planning a trip out there soon. I'll also try to include some pictures, since the scenery in all places out there is fantastic!

Vegas: We spent our first night there after flying in from Baltimore, and also our last before flying out. We don't gamble or party, so it really wasn't our cup of tea, but I was really impressed by the casinos! If you do gamble I would think this would be the place to go. For us, if we had it to do over again, we would not have spent the first night in Vegas, we would have headed straight out to Zion, so as to get a full day there the next day. For the last night, however, we needed it in order to rest up and be ready to fly out the following morning.

Zion National Park:

We only had a week on this trip, so we picked Zion, Page AZ, Sedona, and the south rim of the Grand Canyon to visit. Based on the advice of many on this forum and others, we decided to focus on Zion and save Bryce for a later trip, and we are really glad we did. Zion was amazing.

We stayed at the Desert Pearl Inn, which was fabulous. The only complaint I had was lugging the luggage up to the second floor (DW packs heavy!) but we had a river view room, with a balcony right over the Virgin River, and a great view of the canyon walls. The room itself was large, with a comfy king bed, kitchenette, dining area, large bath, and cathedral ceilings. Perfect for our excursions. The Springdale-Zion bus stoppled right outside the inn, and the ride to the visitor's center was about 10 minutes. At that point you have to exit the bus, enter the park, and get on the park bus to go into the park. We didn't mind it at all, and we had the advantage of very comfortable accommodations, and good restaurants in Springdale in the evening.

We entered the park about 4:00 that evening, and hiked Emerald Pools. This is a moderate hike with some interesting views, primarily of the canyon walls towering above. At the lower pool, you also walk under a cliff that has a trickle of water going over, feeding the lower pool. We went all the way up to the upper pool, which was classified as a moderate hike, though in reality we thought it was pretty easy. The pools themselves are nothing special, but it is an interesting hike, and it starts right by the lodge, which makes it popular.

On the way back, however, we branched off with the Kayenta trail, which is easy to moderate, and goes along the Virgin River to the Grotto area, most of the way elevated about 50 to 100 feet above the River. It was early evening, the sun was going down, and the views of the river and the canyon were beautiful. This is where we got our first great view of the canyon since our arrival:

http://picasaweb.google.com/112984323255966143025/SouthwestTripZionCanyonNationalPark#5487496381745505074

What a sight! We continued along the river to the Grotto, then hiked back down along the river to the Lodge, about a half mile. Along the river, we met a few people, talked about different hikes, restaurants, etc., and saw a fawn and a bunch of wild turkeys!

http://picasaweb.google.com/112984323255966143025/SouthwestTripZionCanyonNationalPark#5487496393711064370

Overall, it was about a 3 to 4 mile walk including the emerald pools, nothing special, but a great introduction to the park, and really made us excited for our hike up Angel's Landing the next day.

We went back to the Desert Pearl, showered up, and took the bus down to Oscar's Cafe, which was one of the few things open on a Sunday night at 8:00 or 9:00 by the time we got ready. We sat outside, with a lovely night time view of some canyon walls, drank some local brews (Zion Brewing Co., I think), and had some outstanding mexican food! DW had fish tacos & I had a pork burrito, and both were fine!

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