Zion: One day with kid

Old Apr 2nd, 2022, 09:16 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 330
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Zion: One day with kid

Hi Everyone: As a part of our upcoming trip to Utah, we'll be visiting Zion for a day (and some change).

TLDR of our trip:
  • Family of three: Kid (12), Wife, myself.
  • We are not seasoned hikers or outdoors-y people.
  • We will be traveling in the second week of April.
  • Arriving Springdale from Las Vegas (stopping at Valley of Fire on the way)
  • We arrive Springdale on Saturday afternoon
  • We have all of Sunday (April 10) in Zion
  • Depart for Bryce on April 11.
I have been trying to craft a good itinerary of things to do in Zion but there just seems to be "so much" that looks lovely

Here's my current plan:

Morning
  • First: Canyon overlook trail. I presume that doing this first will help us avoid some crowds.
  • Second: Riverside walk.
Lunch: Can we just take the shuttle back to the visitors center and "walk into" Springdale. It seems doable on the map but I wasn't sure.

Afternoon: Post lunch I wasn't sure what to do. Here are the trails I have listed out so far and could really use your help:

Question 1: What combination to choose post-lunch?
  • Archeology trail?
  • Grotto trail?
  • Emerald falls trail (if so where to go until? I hear it can get tricky)?
  • The watchman trail?
  • Pa'arus trail?
  • Water canyon trail?

Question 2: Can we go into Springdale for lunch?
Question 3: What can we do the day before when we have the late afternoon/evening in Springdale? Any short drive to take and see? Alternatively, I was thinking we can settle down and just spend it in Springdale.
rahulm is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2022, 02:52 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,413
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There's very limited parking at the Canyon Overlook trail head so you'll want to get there early or maybe try late in the day.

I've only visited outside of shuttle season but it seems like going into Springdale for lunch would involve a lot of waiting for shuttles especially on a weekend. Hopefully someone else can answer.

Grotto is a trail that mostly parallels the road. I'd skip this one unless you're needing to use it to get from one end to the other.

At the Emerald Pools trail head there are two trails that are sort of parallel but one is higher than the other and you can turn it into a loop by taking one out and the other back. Once you cross the bridge from the parking lot you can go left or right. If you go left you'll be on the higher trail that hits middle pool first, then the upper pool spur trail and can return to the parking lot on the trail that goes by lower pool. It's about 3 miles total. Or if you just want to see lower pool, it's an easy walk after turning right past the bridge. There's an alternative route of getting to Emerald Pools by taking Kayenta trail but I haven't done that.

Watchman or Pa'rus might be more practical if you decide to go back to Springdale for lunch since the trail heads are near the visitor center.
Patty is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2022, 07:36 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 330
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanls Patty . Are cars allowed at the Canyon Overlook trail? I thought it was part of the scenic drive and thus can only be accessed by shuttle, no?
Thanks for the suggestion for the Emerald pools trail. We'll most likely do it.
rahulm is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2022, 07:47 PM
  #4  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 12,056
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
At 12 years old you have a lot of options...

You definitely do NOT want to come and go back and forth Springdale for lunch. Pack a picnic lunch at eat wherever you are when you're hungry. The lawn in front of Zion lodge is a great place to sit, and get an ice cream at the shop for dessert, but eat whenever you want....

If the weather is nice and your hotel has an outdoor sitting area/picnic/pool deck, then just hanging out and eating dinner there - get takeout from somewhere can be great. The sunsets in Springdale, with the setting sun blazing against the red rock cliffs above is more spectacular than sitting inside some restaurant waiting for service. (my 2c).

Where are you staying in Springdale? If it's a hotel along the creek, then be sure to go down into the creek to play if the day is hot. Mid April the water will be ice from snow melt upstream cold, but if it's really hot out it can be fun to at least splash in the clear water.

Personally I find the Emerald Pools themselves underwhelming but the trail is an OK loop as it does get you a little bit up above the canyon/valley floor for some vistas. The Weeping Rock is much more interesting, and a 12 yr old will have no difficulty on that trail.

I'm also not a big fan of the Watchman or Pa'rus trails. They're kind of nothing walks parallel to the river & road. OK for a walk, but no aha views..

To me, the far end of the Canyon, past the Grotto, and around the bend to the end of the road at Sinavawa are the most spectacular with the high, red sandstone cliffs so be sure to take the shuttle bus all the way to the end. You could walk the ~1/2 mi trail from the Sinavawa bus stop up to the river - it's a nice, easy paved trail. You won't be able to go very far up the river towards the narrows anyway (high and/or cold water), and that stretch of trail can be crowded.... but you can walk on the rocky "beach" shoreline for a bit and see how the canyon narrows down to a slot canyon... As I said above, even the stretch of river through the town of Springdale is fun to splash in so if you don't walk the paved trail at Sinavawa no worry. I think there's even a town park on the south side of town you can go to.. Same water & same rocks as 10mi upstream..


J62 is online now  
Old Apr 2nd, 2022, 07:52 PM
  #5  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 12,056
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by rahulm
Thanls Patty . Are cars allowed at the Canyon Overlook trail? I thought it was part of the scenic drive and thus can only be accessed by shuttle, no?
Thanks for the suggestion for the Emerald pools trail. We'll most likely do it.
The Canyon overlook trail is on the side road that leads to Bryce, just past the tunnel... If you drive there in the am, and maybe a short distance further to see the Checkerboard Mesa rock formations - entirely different world than Zion Canyon. You could then u-turn and park back by the main entrance and take the shuttle bus up the canyon.

It's a quick, short walk that doesn't take much time at all.
J62 is online now  
Old Apr 2nd, 2022, 08:28 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,373
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was there in October and we did the Canyon Overlook Trail. The parking was limited and we had to park some distance down the road and on the side of the road. There are a few parking lots which fill up quickly. I think the shuttle bus does not go to that area. I thought the hike was more difficult than guide books make it sound. Some of the trail has no guard rail and you have to cling to the side of a wet and mossy rock wall. I did not like that part.
There is a great grocery store in Springdale where they will make lunches and snacks for the day. That's what we did. Got them the evening before and we were ready to go in AM. We also ate at the Lodge one day. There is an actual restaurant where we ate or there is a fast food area with walk up windows. I think a picnic lunch is the best bet.
sunbum1944 is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2022, 08:31 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,373
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And everyone will tell you to eat at Oscars in Springdale. Food was OK but servings enormous so share a meal if you go.
sunbum1944 is offline  
Old Apr 3rd, 2022, 07:52 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,413
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Canyon Overlook isn't on the shuttle route so you'll need to drive there. Coming from Springdale, the first parking lot is immediately past the tunnel on the right hand side. The trail head is directly across the road from this lot which only holds around 7 cars. Farther down the road there's a vault toilet on the left hand side which has a few more parking spaces. Other than that you'll need to find parking along the shoulder of the road. You could also try to stop there on the 11th on your way to Bryce but again you'd need to leave early. There are a few short stretches with drop offs and no guard rails on this trail but otherwise I thought it was fairly easy.



Weeping Rock has been closed for a few years due to rockfall. The lower trail at Emerald Pools has a section that goes behind a waterfall and has a similar feel.

Patty is offline  
Old Apr 4th, 2022, 10:24 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 330
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you so much for the replies and detailed suggestions. I think we'll keep it as simple as possible so we don't tire ourselves like crazy:
  • Pack lunch in the morning or night before
  • Morning: Riverside walk. Then take the shuttles back to the visitor center, stopping at various vista points as we feel like. Eat when we want.
  • Post lunch: Emerald trail loop.
  • Evening: Just relax. J62 We will be staying at the Hampton Inn.

rahulm is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
alain
United States
8
Apr 2nd, 2002 12:44 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -