Travel Destination: Zion National Park, Utah

The next stop on our national parks tour was Zion National Park. We enjoyed our scenic tour out of the Grand Canyon and arrived at Zion Lodge in early evening, just in time for dinner.

Because I rescheduled this trip from last May, cancelled due to COVID, I learned about Zion Lodge when rescheduling our stay in Bryce Canyon. I moved our reservation and from the moment we arrived, I knew our visit would be amazing!

Zion was still requiring tickets for the shuttle in this part of the park. Tickets that were VERY hard to snag. I realized I could have purchased our $1 tickets two weeks before, but I didn’t know that (must not have read the fine print!). New tickets were released at 5:00 pm each evening. I had fast fingers and I was able to secure two for noon the next day. As a visitor of the lodge, we were able to receive shuttle wrist bands and board the shuttle right there at the lodge, as it was one of the shuttle stops. Those staying outside the park would need to board the shuttle at the scheduled time, down at the Visitor’s Center. Not all of the stops were open, so we were able to see what we wanted to see up the hill without any time restrictions on the day of our shuttle ticket.

After checking in, we experienced an amazing dinner there at the restaurant. Although it was not fully open, we were able to order, go upstairs and secure a table (inside or outdoors) and they delivered our meal when ready. I had the most delicious sweet potato fries I have ever eaten, and ordered them again the next night!

The lodge and surrounding area was beautiful. Deer were all around each evening and sometimes during the day. The towering canyon walls were breathtaking. Being in the middle of nature, with limited phone and text services, it really did allow us to escape the stress of life for a few days.

(Click on photo for larger image)

The next morning, wristband in place, we took the shuttle up to Riverside Walk. A trail rated easy, it was indeed a beautiful walk with views of the river and the towering canyon walls. You can see one of the cute critters I met up with, on my post here. 😊

From the lodge there were actually several hikes we could take. There were restrooms for the shuttle visitors and fresh water to help keep water bottles full. The lodge also has a very nice gift shop and a small restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. Currently only to-go orders are available but the lunch sandwiches we got were very delicious. Sitting out on a bench overlooking the grass area and all the people (and deer) was a nice experience.

That afternoon we enjoyed the Emerald Pools, with an easy hike to the lower pools. There is a middle pools hike that is a bit more difficult and an upper pools hike that is more strenuous. We kept to the lower pools and there really was very little water in the pool. But it was still a pretty walk, although a bit warm in the afternoon.

The next day, our intention was to head over to the visitors center first thing. The parking lot was packed! That is where the shuttle pick up was, and it was full of cars and people. We had looked at the map of the area briefly. We decided to head out to Kolob Canyons in another area of Zion. It was about a 45 minute drive and very beautiful. After stopping at the small visitor’s center, we headed into the canyon and up the scenic road to a lookout area, and a nice easy hike. There are many hiking areas in Kolob Canyon, a very isolated and beautiful part of Zion.

Swipe to see a close up, look closely at the rock climbers!

On our way back, we stopped in Springdale, near the visitor’s center, for a wonderful early dinner at Oscar’s Café (recommended to us at the information center). We headed over to the visitor’s center which was much more accessible and explored the area before heading back to the lodge.

We had a wonderful time visiting Zion. Before we left the next morning we made the short and easy hike down to The Grotto. The daytime weather is lovely. The morning is quite chilled! It was sad to leave, but exciting to head out to our next adventure!

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Nice write-up and beautiful photos. I’d love to visit more of the national parks. The only time I set foot in Utah was at Four Corners.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! When my husband retired and he could take longer vacations, we started doing some park visits. I gotta say, this park road trip was quite amazing. Not our normal type trip (no beach). But made me feel more energized with all the walking and hiking.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It sounds energizing. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Toonsarah says:

    That sounds like a near-perfect stay! We only had a few hours in Zion towards the end of our AZ & UT road-trip years ago, because we’d spent too long on the earlier part, but even that was enough to show us how beautiful it is there! I would love to go back – even more so after reading about your experiences and seeing your photos 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sarah! I would say, if you had the opportunity, stay at the lodge! But you have to book months in advance. I think the cancelation last year created a better trip this year 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Toonsarah says:

        We love staying at the national park lodges if we can but yes, I know we would need to plan months in advance! We’ve had great stays at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Crater Lake in Oregon, Yellowstone Lodge and Old Faithful in the past. Plus several in WA a couple of years ago – Crescent Lake and Paradise in Mount Rainier NP. Always a special experience 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We are going to try and visit at least one next year. However, the time I was looking at would be too crazy, so I’m still in the planning stage. Now that we have more time to roam, I’m kind of digging the parks!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Naomi says:

    It looks like a great place to enjoy more of God’s beautiful and wonderful world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes, it is a beautiful and fascinating place!

      Like

  4. lolaWi says:

    what a beautiful world! thanks for sharing, Lisa! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lola! I get to relive the experiences through blogging 😊

      Like

  5. Beautiful Adventure Destination. Have a wonderful weekend.☀️🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was! Thank you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Prior... says:

    I can see why you might be s little sad to leave such wonderful places – but like you said / it is on the next adventure
    And your photos were beautiful in this post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! We had such a good time. I’m kind of amazed that we finally did it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wind Kisses says:

    Love your photos of the Emerald Pools Hike. It is a bit refreshing too, i’ll bet. The reflection of the canyon wall in the river was amazing. Looks like you had fantastic weather too. Also nice to hear about the updates about what you can and can’t do. Thank you. Nice post. Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Donna! Now that we are home it’s hard to believe we actually had those adventures. As I go through my photos, and create a post, I get to relive them. It was unbelievable. And such good timing, before the crowds (and yes, decent weather).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wind Kisses says:

        Ah…yes..the chance to relive the memories. Thank goodness for cameras…and beautiful places.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve always had an amazement by the Midwest. Utah is an interesting state. I could get lost out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, and you can literally get lost. Sadly we heard someone was missing while at Bryce Canyon. But the parks really are amazing! -hike carefully 🙂

      Like

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