I have been dying to go to Utah to hike the many beautiful areas. We decided to take a road trip with the kids and our favorite couple Bill and Chris. Our first stop was going to be the closest stop to us in Utah; Zion National Park. We headed up there right after work on Friday night, we made pretty good time making it there within 6 hours. Since we had our preteens with us that needed all the luxuries of life we decided to stay in a hotel that was between Zion and the 15 freeway because we really didn’t know what our plan was. There was so much we wanted to do that we didn’t want to plan and just go and see where it took us. The hotel we stayed at, Wingate by Wyndham in Hurricane, was great. We were worried that we were not going to make it there by midnight which is their cut off of checking in but one call and they made sure to make a note on our reservation as well as sending us an email the day of check-in reassuring us that we didn’t need to rush. The rooms were clean, the breakfast was good and the pool kept the kids entertained after a long day of hiking. The hotel was about a half hour from Zion and about 15 mins from the freeway. It was perfect for our trip.
Saturday morning we started out to the Emerald Pools in the Zion National Park. We thought that it would be perfect for our kids since it was an easier hike. We got out a little later than we normal like to get going. As we headed toward the park the traffic reared its ugly head and told us that we weren’t going anywhere fast. We slowly made our way through the station getting a season pass and headed up the pass. We came to the point where you would make your turn up towards Emerald Pools and found out that they only way up was by the park shuttle. I guess we should have planned our trip better, if we would have done that we would have known that all the places we wanted to check out was by shuttle. We kept going up the pass to see what else was ahead of us and stopped at a few places, but ended up heading back down to the beginning to catch the shuttle.
The parking was horrible and the lines to the shuttles were like waiting for a Disneyland ride. Once you get on the shuttle they stack and pack you. We were lucky enough to be seated next to 4 people that enjoyed hiking just as much as us and we talked about our adventures. The shuttle had about 4 stops before letting us off at the trailhead for Emerald Pools. Not only was this the trailhead for that trail but it was also the main stop for the visitor center and many other trailheads. The place was packed and so was the trail that we had planned to go on.
We started off the trail and were packed into a stream of people heading in the same direction. We tried to hurry ahead but just like the 91 freeway in So Cal you just become that a$$hole person not getting any closer to your destination so we resigned to the herd like cattle and made our way to the top stopping to take pictures when everyone else did, trying to rush our selfies and holding up lines of people to get the natural shot without having the human lines showing in the background.
We reached the first pool and it was really beautiful watching the water shimmer off the cliff over the half moon walkway. The water showered the line of people as they made their way through. The kids loved getting wet for a short time but was hustled through so the next in line could experience the kiss of the water from the 3rd pool. We worked our way up the rock stairs to the 2nd pool and took a break there with the other hundred people that decided to take their break at the same spot. The area was breathtaking as you looked off and blurred out all the people bobbing in and out of your view. After our quick break we walked around and found a trail that took us up towards the 3rd pool or so we thought. The trail traveled up steeply but never committed towards the direction of the 3rd pool but it got us away from the crowd and gave us a better view of the valley below. The beauty is what brings all the people in but it is all the people that take the beauty away. After our failed attempt to find the 3rd pool we headed back down the trail. The kids were getting restless and as we were too. We figured out that we don’t do well with crowded places.
We got back down to the main area and had some lunch then headed towards the shuttles. We had been nailing the most busiest time of day all day and it didn’t stop on our way down. Just as the sun was setting we were trying to get back to the parking lot as well as all the other hundred people from all the trails that fed from that area. Each shuttle that came our way was standing room only and with our young ones we decided to wait until we had a bus with open seats for them. We finally got a bus and headed down the valley.
On our way back to the hotel we left our mark on the LoveLocks of Zion and had ice cream at the Virgin Trading Post. The kids were beat and so were we. We got back to the hotel and let the kids play in the pool as we figured out our next day before we headed home. Zion was beautiful but we planned it all wrong. We need to come back when it isn’t so busy or hit the trails less traveled. That will be another trip. As for our last day in Utah we decided to hit a trail that was more our speed; a road less traveled.
Stay tuned for Day 2 ~ Red Cliffs Recreation Area