If you missed the intro to this blog series, be sure to check it out here!
Smell ya later, Vegas! We woke up bright and early to hit the road and get our journey started. However, that wasn’t without some pitstops along the way. First, we hit up a nearby Walmart to stock up on goods for the week. This included, among other things, a cooler, ice, beer, snacks, and our lifeline for the week − PB and J. Second, we hit up In-N-Out Burger because, let’s be real…it wouldn’t be a West Coast road trip without some animal style goodness.
Once we got to Zion, we more or less hit the ground running. We parked at the visitor center and hopped onto the shuttle to hike Angel’s Landing. To access the trailhead, you’ll want to stop at The Grotto. If you’re unfamiliar with Angel’s Landing, it is a strenuous, five-mile hike that I totally underestimated. Prior to our trip, several people that I’d talked to mentioned how terrifying it is, but I simply didn’t buy it. Well, coming from a gal who has gone both bungee jumping and skydiving, it is indeed terrifying. Humor me and check out some YouTube footage real quick!
Anyway, I regretfully did not make it to the top. Major props to Miller for being the only one from our crew that did and for making the trek solo! Let’s be clear: my goal is not to deter anyone from doing this hike, as the majority of it is steep, yet doable and completely gorgeous. However, once you get to a certain point, the trails more or less disappear. At this point you essentially scale the mountain while holding onto a chain affixed to said mountain in order to help pull yourself up. My advice? Do the hike and see for yourself. If you’re into it, keep on trucking. If you’re not, hang back and take in the views. Of course, the views are not as awe-inspiring as those seen from Angel’s Landing, but they’re still beautiful and make for a rewarding hike regardless.
After our hike, we headed into Springdale, the town just outside of Zion, for some grub. The town is super cute! Thankfully, on our first night there, we discovered an eatery called Cafe Soleil. They specialize in healthy, yet delicious food and provide fast, friendly service. We loved it so much that we ended up eating three meals there. After dinner, we settled into our glamping site at Under Canvas Zion. We were blown away by just about everything that it had to offer. The location had just opened only three weeks prior to our arrival, so it was pristine! Both the staff and the accommodations were top-notch.
The night prior, we decided that we were going to wake up early enough to catch sunrise. We simply unzipped our tent and took in the breathtaking views. Between the stunning desert landscape and coyotes howling in the background, it was surreal. Afterward, we headed back to our home away from home, Cafe Soleil, for breakfast.
Being that our plan for the day was to hike The Narrows, we hit up Zion Adventure Company to rent some gear. I can’t recommend gear rental enough as I can’t imagine having done this hike without it! For just $23, they provide you with neoprene socks, canyoneering shoes, and a walking stick. To get to the trailhead, we hopped onto the shuttle and stopped at Temple of Sinawava.
The Narrows is an incredibly unique and iconic hike that I’m so grateful to have experienced. Sometimes, the hike is not advised due to flash flood warnings, but we were fortunate enough to have perfect conditions. If you’re unfamiliar with The Narrows, it is a slot canyon hike, and the trail is the Virgin River. There are generally two ways to hike it: top down or bottom up. As bottom up is less time-consuming and recommended for beginners, that’s the route that we took. Further, the length of the hike varies as you can choose to turn around wherever you please. Prior to our hike, we agreed that we wanted to hike to a landmark called Wall Street, making for a six-mile hike roundtrip. Most of the time, we were ankles-deep in water; however, there were rare moments in which we were waist-deep. The views were absolutely amazing and I will be the first to admit that no photo can do them justice!
After our hike, we returned our gear and stopped for dinner at…you guessed it…Cafe Soleil. We then headed back to our glamping site. When we got back, we poured some wine into solo cups, sat around a blazing fire, enjoyed some s’mores, and took in the incredible night sky. The Milky Way was in plain sight, and we were able to spot one constellation after the next. It was truly magical!
We woke up to yet another sunrise and headed to Under Canvas’s onsite restaurant, Embers, for breakfast. Next, we packed up and briefly headed back into town. I’m fortunate enough to have friends that were willing to appease my desire to stop at one of the many crystal shops that Springdale has to offer. If you’re into crystals in any way, shape, or form (even for decor!), I definitely recommend checking one out. I was able to grab a beauty of a crystal for myself and pick up some souvenirs as well!
…Next stop, Bryce Canyon National Park!