Thursday, April 18, 2019

Celebrating 100 Year Birthday at Zion NP

After a week of exploring the red rock country of  Nevada and Utah, my wings have taken on a crimson cast. A stop in Red Rock Park just outside of Las Vegas provided a memorable leg stretcher that broke up a long days drive from Lost Angeles.
Red Rock Country outside of Las Vegas
 It seemed everyone I knew had been to Zion except me and that it was high time for me to experience the soaring ramparts with majestic views and the splendor of sculptured slot canyons millions of years in the making. I chose mid- April   for my visit to cash in on wildflowers, cool temps and waterfalls that are fed by melting snowfields and dry up in the heat of summer.
View from Watchman Trail Zion NP

Cotton Wood Trees
 The park is so loved by millions that a very efficient shuttle system has evolved that drops off and picks up hikers at nine trailheads along the 9-mile sandstone gorge. Sadly, the majority of the intermediate hikes were closed due to heavy rainfall that caused rock slides.  However the Watchman trail that is a rock stairway switch-backing up a canyon flush with the white blooms on the service bush, and sprinkled with vermillion Indian Paint Brush to a plateau overlooking Springdale, the gateway to the park was open.

 Happily, the River Walk along the Virgin River that has carved the tallest sandstone cliffs in the world darkened with a waterfall spilling over a 7,000 foot precipice into a foamy pool on the canyon floor was also open. The road into the canyon framed in cottonwood trees flush with chartreus leaves shot through with golden rays of a warming sun could not have been more lovely.
River Walk Zion NP
However, the next leg of my journey to Bryce Canyon was thwarted by the fact that Highway 9, through the Mt. Carmel Tunnel touted as one of the most scenic byways in America, was closed due to damage from the heavy rains.  The park staff is working feverishly to have the road back up and running by April 30th, but if you are planning a trip to the region I suggest you wait until mid-May. Be sure to check road conditions of the alternate routes before going. More on that in my next post as I venture onto to know what voodoo hoodoos do in Bryce Canyon

Linda Ballou is an adventure travel writer with a host of travel articles on her site You will find information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales and her latest book Lost Angel in Paradise.