Zion National Park in 2 half days

Old Feb 11th, 2012, 04:52 PM
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Zion National Park in 2 half days

I will be in the area just long enough to spend 2 half days and a night in Zion National Park - get thereat 530p and leave at 2p the next day sometime in the beginning of March. I know weather will obviously be a factor and I also know that people can easily spend a week there so I was wondering what activities would be the most rewarding? Any recommended places to stay?

Any help is help nonetheless! Thanks!
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 05:14 PM
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Stay right in the park. I would expect there will be room and if they say they are full, call back and keep calling as they get cancellations frequently.

Hiking and taking pictures of the fantastic scenery are the major activities. Lots of threads here on hikes, use the search box at the top of the page.
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 05:24 PM
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Brandon,

If you get to Zion about 5:30 p.m., you will only have an hour of daylight. Unless it's a full moon, you don't get to count that as a half day!
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 05:48 PM
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Angels Landing. The Narrows are likely to be to cold at this time. Both hikes usually make everyones Top 10 days hikes in the USA
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 07:40 PM
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You may able to do Riverside Walk late in the day you arrive.

You will have a good part of the next day if you're up and around earlt.

Angel's Landing or Emerald pools will be good choices.
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 09:05 PM
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A great moonlight hike is along the Pa'rus Trail which follows the river from the campground near the Visitor Center and goes to the "Y" - there are shuttle stops there if the shuttles are running in March.

Without moonlight, it is very dark - and it does get dark early in March - but we have seen people hiking the trails with flashlights (even the Angels Landing trail as far as Scout's Lookout). I can't say I'd recommend this; it doesn't seem safe to me. We do hike until it is too dark to see, though.

At night, we usually see wildlife near the lodge, including a large porcupine.

In the early morning, the Riverside Walk is cool but beautiful. Also the hike up toward Observation Point offers great views - you can just hike as far as Echo Canyon and then back down , which would only take about an hour and a half or so.
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Old Feb 12th, 2012, 07:39 PM
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We've been in late Feb and experienced a lot of ice and snow on the hikes in Zion and limited trails open. The ranger only had the hike to lower Emerald Pools open and even getting there was dangerous on the icy path. Riverside walk was closed about 1/3 of the way to the Narrows. What you can do will all depend on the weather.

Utahtea
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Old Feb 12th, 2012, 10:35 PM
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In March you will still be driving up the canyon rather than taking the shuttle. So that first day take the drive up just to get familiar with the layout. Stop at some of the viewpoints, especially Big Bend and Temple of Sinawava. If you still have time take the Riverside Trail that starts there.

The next day as long as the trails are clear do Angel's Landing.

If you aren't coming in from the east or leaving that way then take the time to drive out to the east entrance. It is a whole different park out there.
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Old Feb 13th, 2012, 12:44 AM
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A second vote for the Pa'rus Trail as an excellent late evening / moonlight walk. You'll have good moonlight the week of March 4. The trail is mostly out in the open, perfect for enjoying the moon and stars, and is paved to ease walking at night.

I have view photos taken from the trail here for example, so you can see how open it is (for a canyon!):
http://www.pbase.com/mangoman/image/116071613
http://www.pbase.com/mangoman/image/141482758

For the recommended Angels Landing trail, it goes without saying to use extreme caution if any ice at all on the trail.

Have a great trip.
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Old Feb 13th, 2012, 11:43 AM
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http://sunrisesunset.com/USA/NationalParks/

First, look at the above link to see when sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset are for your exact dates. There is a full moon on March 8th so dates around then will give you the possibility of a moonlit hike/walk.

But as somebody already said, getting there at 5:30 pm doesn't really give you half a day. Sunset is at 6:30pm and you have to understand that it will get dark quickly in the main canyon. It's unrealistic IMO to send you driving up the main canyon to do some hiking and sightseeing as you'll quickly run into darkness and won't see much.

I'd vote for doing the Canyon Overlook trail immediately. It's relatively short (1 mile roundtrip) and takes you to an overlook of Lower Zion Canyon. That would be a great view at sunset as the overlook is looking west over the canyon.

Then do the Pa'rus trail after dark once the moon is up if you feel like it. Next day explore the main canyon when you have more time and won't feel the need to rush from one thing to the next before it gets too dark. Just get up early and see as much as possible before leaving.

Last thing: I see you have several different topics for different parks. It might help if you'd outline your general itinerary for the whole trip in one topic, I'm sure you could get some great suggestions for other areas to visit or possibly which park to skip in favor of something else in the immediate area. Since you seem to have very limited time in any one area I just think it would be best to have some thoughts on whether your time is best spent elsewhere.
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Old Feb 13th, 2012, 01:51 PM
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So WhereAreWe you don't want them taking a drive in the main canyon but you'll send them up for a hike where they won't be able to see much because the sun will be in their eyes? Hmm.

Guess we all have different ideas of what would work best. I believe the canyon at dusk is a special and beautiful place where the crowds of the day disappear and the animals come out and the true nature of the park as sanctuary really comes to bear. And it is where I would spend that last hour of light. If there is not time for a hike then they still will have discovered the nature of the canyon and can better plan for the next day.
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Old Feb 13th, 2012, 02:11 PM
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I agree with InSandy here. You don't want to be taking any chance of doing the Canyon Overlook in the dark. There are a few places where the trail is very narrow and you will want good light to make it out!

If you are arriving with just an hour of sunlight, I'd spend it hiking the Pa'rus trail. Wonderful views of sunset here! You are going to want to get up very early the next morning to make the most of that day.

If you're a big hiker and not afraid of heights then you'll probably want to do the Angels Landing hike. I've never done it so I can't say, but I hear it's the hike to end all hikes. If you want something easier, then I'd say do the Riverside Walk, Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock. If you find you have time you can do the Canyon Overlook if you are heading to Bryce from here.

Utahtea
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Old Feb 13th, 2012, 02:33 PM
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Well no, I wasn't suggesting they gaze directly at the sun and ignore the views beneath them. I don't think being down in the canyon driving from one end to the other to get they lay of the land is a good use of their time. I suggested a short hike that is elevated to maximize their daylight. I know the trail isn't perfect but felt they could be reasonably expected to hike half a mile after sunset without too much trouble. Certainly a flashlight would be smart as a precaution.

I agree the canyon at dusk can be great -if you're at a relaxed pace and at least somewhat familiar with the area. But I don't believe a first-time visitor driving from place to place trying to see as much as possible before it gets dark is going to get a sense of the tranquility of the canyon at dusk.
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Old Feb 13th, 2012, 02:44 PM
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I guess we have different ways of finding that slow and relaxed pace WhereareWe.
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Old Feb 13th, 2012, 03:12 PM
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InSandy - I think you're taking this too personally.

First time I went to Zion I wound up in a situation much as I described - heading up the main canyon with maybe an hour of daylight on the first day I was there. We were trying to see as much as we could since we'd never been there. It sucked - all I remember was looking up at the dark canyon walls not being able to see much, trying to get to the next spot in the hopes that it would be better but ultimately seeing pretty much nothing. I honestly remember very little of it except the feeling of being rushed to beat the fading light.

Next day, in daylight was a completely different story. We could see, weren't rushed and actually enjoyed it. Did several hikes, saw some animals and great views.

Actually my favorite part of Zion was backpacking the West Rim trail and being completely alone with the views and everything - that was far better than the main canyon but obviously not realistic for this OP. So I understand solitude and tranquility and a slow/relaxed pace. But I feel with this OP and his fairly rushed pace (based on this and his other threads) that if he heads up the main canyon at 5:30 and tries to make it to the far end, stop at several points plus do some walking/hiking, he will have an experience very similar to my first trip. Hence my suggestion to get out of the canyon and take a hike with some decent light and a good view at the end.

You can disagree and promise to never travel with me (yes, I saw your comment on the Arches thread) and I won't take it personally. Ultimately it's just advice to try to help somebody make the most of their trip, so he can judge what works best for him.
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Old Feb 13th, 2012, 04:34 PM
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I haven't taken it personally. Just really different opinions. I find there is nothing to cut down the pressure of wanting to see something than to go out and see it. Perhaps in the experience you related your second day in the park was better for having gone in the night before and understanding what it was about.

One time we arrived in Springdale late, the sun was already gone from the canyon, we drove up to Temple of Sinawava and parked and got out of the car. The canyon was getting dark quickly, but there was still enough light to see the cliffs. I'll never forget how calming it was to me, just getting out and walking around there. I don't expect the OP would have time for a hike, (personally I don't think they would have any better luck at Canyon overlook), but I like being in the canyon. That's all.
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Old Mar 4th, 2012, 10:38 PM
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If Brandon96734 is here in Zion the first week of March he's in for nice weather. The Riverside River walk is open all the way to the Narrows. Haven't been on the other hikes yet, but sunset is at 5:30 at the campground. The Moon isn't full but it is BRIGHT!

Utahtea
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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I think you have to look at the Angel's Landing hike as really two hikes.

From the bottom to Scouts Lookout is very tame (I don't do difficult). You're going uphill in some elevation but the trail is wide and a lot of it is actually paved with some sand on top.

It reminded me of Mt Washburn in Yellowstone (except for the miserable elevation and no oxygen). The trail is wide and very easy.

Probaly 95% of the people stop at Scouts Lookout and the few adventurous ones continue. Not I!!!

In dim lighting or questionable conditions I would much rather do Angel's Landing to Scouts Lookout than Upper Emerald Pools or Canyon Overlook at the east entrance. This is not a smooth trail and is somewhat rocky.

The first part of Angel's Landing reminds me of Riverside Walk except that AL goes uphill and RW doesn't. The trails are actually similar.
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