I first visited Zion National Park in 2008, and dreamed of returning ever since. There is just something magical about those red cliffs and canyons. So, when my Grand Canyon rafting trip ended in Vegas, I seized the opportunity to head back to Springdale for what turned out to be one perfect day. We stayed at Flanigan’s on my first visit, and I loved it so much, I didn’t consider any other options for this trip.
The town of Springdale has a free shuttle that goes up and down Main Street and will deliver you to the park entrance, where the Park Shuttle system takes over. Compared to a park like Yellowstone, which has frequent traffic jams and overflowing parking lots, it’s so refreshing to just hop on and off a shuttle bus. More parks need to implement a shuttle system like this!
My biggest goal for this part of the trip was to climb Angel’s Landing after a failed attempt in 2008. (Failed because it got way too crowded and freaked me out!) So I set my alarm for 5am, and got up before dark to head out. Luckily, the hotel is about a 10 minute walk from the park entrance, where I would catch a shuttle bus into Zion Canyon. I hit the trailhead right at 7:00 as the sun was coming up. Two hours later, I was on top of Angel’s Landing. After a few celebratory photos and a quick snack, it was time to head back down and thread the crowds of people coming up. Between the crowds and the heat, I was so grateful for having gotten an early morning start.
Much of the last 1/2 mile is done with the help of chains, as there are steep drop-offs on both sides of the ridge:
Having accomplished my goal by 11am, but with tired, blistered feet, I had the rest of the day to spend at the pool – lounging and reading until my 4:00 spa appointment. Yeah, I know, after 11 days on the Colorado River, I was already pretty relaxed, but it still felt great to sunbathe and catch up on my reading.
After a few hours poolside, it was time to go check in for my spa appointments. I had booked a facial and a massage to undo any damage from 10 nights of camping. I started out with a facial from Carisa , followed by a massage by Michelle. Both were fantastic and it was fun chatting with them about local events and growing up in Utah.
After a stroll around town and a quick bite for dinner, I returned to my comfy king bed for one more night in Utah. The next day, I would take my time heading back to Vegas for a redeye flight home. I can only hope it’s not another 7 years before I make it back to this magical wonderland!
For the rest of my Zion pictures, click here!