Hey, hello and welcome to the second chapter of our four-week movecation to Seattle. In the first leg of our journey we started our travels in Atlanta and made it to Monument Valley and this is the middle part of our road trip Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park. Our plan had been to spend a night in Monument Valley but we decided spontaneously to continue driving. Because we didn’t feel like staying there and that’s what you can do if you haven’t booked a spot for the night and wanna feel free. But without any cell reception at all, we were not able to reserve another campground until we reached South Utah. That’s why we ended up driving until Zion National Park and arrived very late that night (bummer).
A few years ago Mr. F and I went on a west tour but never made it to Utah. Btw if you are planning a trip consider the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons in Page, AZ. Visiting Zion National Park had been on my travel wish list forever and ever and at last, we gonna catch up on what we left out last time.
Springdale is a small stretched town that you have to pass through on the way to the entrance of the park. Although, it’s quite touristy but also charming and convenient. We stayed at the Zion Canyon Campground and RV Resort and our little Tardis looked like a miniature trailer under the Watchman Mountain. There is a free shuttle bus operating in Springdale that brought us to the park entrance. From where we took another bus that drove us all the way to the Temple of Sinawava and we just hopped on and off as we liked.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is huge (229 sq. miles / 590 km2) but like most visitors, we stayed in the Zion Canyon part from where we hiked the trails and this is also the area accessible by bus. We started smoothly with the Emerald Pools Trails and Watchman Trail and increased the levels until I made it up to ¾ of the famous Angels Landing which is farther than I predicted. A few month ago I tore my ligament and the slippery ground in the Narrows (hike through the slot canyon) was just too risky for me. It’s on my list for the next visit. Although it was the end of September the weather was very warm and I can’t imagine myself clamber up the mountains in the heat of the summer. Good thing I bought my water bottle because there are refill stations throughout the park with fresh mountain spring water.
One of the funny and interest parts of camping is meeting new people and observing and being observed by your neighbors. We had (and still have) random people from all other the world showing up at our trailer, telling the story of their life, asking questions, and trying to peek inside just curious if it also looks like a sardine can like the outside. Guys, our little Tardis (hence the name) is miraculously spacious!
I did enjoy people-watching and had fun observing a group of eight middle-aged campers spending the whole day sitting next to their RV’s and moving their table according to the sun. By the second day most of them had already a stage two sunburn and towards the end of the week, I was seriously concerned about the health of their livers. A couple from Manchester (UK) next to us left every morning at the dawn of the day and came back late afternoon sweaty and coated with dust. They only had two days in Zion and managed to hike a remarkable amount of trails. My plan was a 60/40 rate of adventure and relaxing with leisure mornings, hiking and sightseeing during the day, nice dinners, and a bourbon at the campfire at night. To have the time we needed in Zion and Bryson Canyon NP we skipped Arches NP and that’s how we found a reason to come back to South Utah.
On our departure day, we said our goodbyes, waved to the Watchman and entered the park one last time. We took the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and I made Mr. F stop at every viewpoint along the way. The road is winding up Mt. Carmel and this scenic drive is quite impressive.
Bryce Canyon National Park
It was just a short drive to Bryce Canyon National Park but it’s much cooler there because it’s located at a higher altitude. This park is about ¼ of the size of Zion and less visited due to its remote location (I guess). Glad we stocked up with groceries before we left Springdale because there is not much civilization nearby.
Looking for the canyon? Me too… although it says canyon in its name there ain’t no canyon because Bryce Canyon is formed by erosion and not a river. Therefore we found a great deal of giant natural amphitheaters with pinnacles called hoodoos. I really love saying hoodoos! So hoodoos are people turned to stone by a swindler coyote at least that’s the ancient story and I stick to it.
We got a bit lazy and only hiked the short trails but they are amazing. The second day we parked at Sunrise Point got some coffee at the little convenient store and hiked the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden trail. I learned pretty soon that coffee on a hike is not the best idea I ever had. We might have broken the record for the fastest hike ever.
The weatherman promised rain and the sky changed constantly between bright blue and dark grey. The rain arrived at night and hung around for two more days but we made the best out of it because there is no bad weather, only bad clothes!
Every night when the sun started to set, I filled my thermos bottle with hot tea and we took the scenic road up to the end of Rainbow Point stopping at every viewpoint. The colors are breathtaking and we saw a lot of deer and a few owls.
The upside of Bryce Canyon’s secluded location is that at night there are no city lights that can mess with the starry sky. You can see an uncountable amount of stars with your naked eye at least that’s what I was told. During our stay, the night sky was covered with thick clouds and I saw not one star. Just another reason to come back…