From the Grand Canyon we drove to Hurricane, UT, which is about 40 minutes outside of Zion, to recuperate. We stayed at the Econo Lodge, which was the best deal that I could find in the area. CH had money to spare, so we basically alternated between camping one night and staying at a cheap motel the next night. We’re pretty low key vacationers, and ended up going to see Tag at the local movie theater with MoviePass, got Domino’s to-go, and caught the season 2 finale of West World. At that point the night was still young due to the time difference, and no better way to spend it than walking across the street to buy alcohol from the gas station to drink and watch Friends with in bed!
We had a rough start the next day because CH wanted to go backcountry camping but we hadn’t planned for it in advance, so here are some tips if you want to hike the West Rim trail over two days, which is what we ended up doing. Please note that parking at Zion is hell. You can park in Springdale, but none of the lots have overnight parking. What you do is drive to the Visitor Center and circle the parking lot until someone leaves (we got there around noon, and within half an hour several spots did open up), or get there really early, because you CAN park overnight at the Visitor Center. You need to hire a shuttle to take you to the Lava Point trailhead, which is $40 per person (cash only). There are a list of phone numbers for shuttle companies at the front desk, and you need to confirm a shuttle before you purchase the backcountry camping permit. The permit was $15 for two people, and campsite 5 has the best views, so choose that one!
So, we finally arrived at the trailhead at 3 pm and hiked 9 idyllic miles to our campsite in about 4 hours. I’m very out of shape, but the hike is certainly doable. We set up camp, had dinner, then sat on the cliff side to watch the sunset.
We left by 7:30 am the next morning, but the last 6 miles were incredibly difficult. First, we ran out of water, so needless to say, it sucked. We had banked on being able to refill at one of the springs, but turns out it was almost dry. Also the majority of this last leg was steep downhill, which just about killed my knees. It was not a fun time, and when we finally got back to the car, I downed a bottle of Gatorade in 5 minutes. Moral of the story: please bring at least 3 L of water per person!!! And plan accordingly!
Overall, though, Zion ended up being my favorite part of the entire roadtrip. It was an indescribable experience and pictures don’t do it justice. We passed by Angel’s Landing on the way down the West Rim, and I don’t believe that the views at Angel’s Landing could be any better than the ones we had. 10/10 would do again ~