Thursday, June 7, 2012

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Zion National Park ~ Utah

One thing I love about Summer is traveling with my kiddos - we try to pack in as much travel as we possibly can into our 12-week period.  I want to show my kids everything there is to see all across the great US.  Knowing that isn't physically possible, I do the next best thing - read & dream!! 

Actually, I love hearing about places I haven't been to as it gives me inspiration to see them in person, so this summer I hope to inspire you by featuring guest posts from friends all across North America.  I have asked all my travel friends to tell us all about where they are from and what we need to see when we come to visit!  Join us this summer as we take a Virtual Road Trip!

First up: Allison from Tips for Family Trips tells us about Zion National Park in Utah!

View from Weeping Rock
 I was born in the shadow of the red rocks in southwestern Utah. My parents and grandparents were born there too. Though I was raised, and am now raising my children, in the Salt Lake City area of northern Utah, our roots run deep in red rock country. My family visits this beautiful area several times each year and no matter how far and wide we travel, Zion National Park will always be one of my favorite places on earth. Here is what you need to know to get the most out of a trip to Zion National Park:
Lower Emerald Pool
Zion is Utah's most visited and most accessible national park. Its sheer red rock cliffs, carved for centuries by the Virgin River, which still flows through Zion Canyon, tower above the canyon floor to the delight and wonder of rock climbers, hikers, and casual tourists alike. Zion National Park is a great park for families with children of all ages. We have taken a stroller to the Zion Canyon section of the park and were still able to enjoy several miles of paved trails to some of my favorite spots such as Weeping Rock, Lower Emerald Pool, and Temple of Sinewava in this popular section of the park. Adventurous hikers may want to try Angel's Landing or the Narrows. Zion is open year-round, though many trails will be muddy and inaccessible during winter months. Snow is possible, but not frequent in this part of Utah and Zion is usually a good place to find sunshine when northern destinations are cold and dreary. Temperatures soar above 100 degrees in the summer, but there is shade throughout Zion Canyon and opportunities to cool off in the Virgin River. Spring and fall are beautiful times to visit. 
Pa'rus Trail
Pa'rus Trail
   Since 1997, the popular Zion Canyon section of the park has been serviced by a mandatory shuttle from April to October each year, which has greatly improved traffic conditions in Zion. The shuttle runs frequently, but can be crowded. Arrive early to get a parking space inside the park on busy days, but if you don't, there is additional parking and another shuttle in the town of Springdale, just outside the park gates. All of the shuttles have bicycle racks, and cycling is a fun way to experience Zion Canyon. Zion National Park is located just a few miles from Interstate-15 and is within a half-day's drive of both Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Other sections of the park include the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, Kolob Canyons Road, and Kolob Terrace Road. These areas are all accessible by car year-round, are less crowded than Zion Canyon and feature spectacular scenery and hiking.

Taking a break at Zion Lodge
Lodging is available inside the park at the Zion Lodge or just outside the park in Springdale, Utah. The cities of Hurricane (prounounced HUR-i-kun), Cedar City, or St. George are also within an hour's drive of Zion Canyon. Cedar City and St. George both make good bases for visiting other attractions in Southwest Utah. Speaking of other attractions, there is so much more to do and see near Zion National Park! 

Here is a list of Southern Utah attractions near Zion that I have personally visited and recommend: 

Red Cliffs of Zion

Allison Laypath is a family travel blogger at tipsforfamilytrips.com, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She and her husband took their first child on a two-week road trip at four-weeks-old and they have been traveling as a family ever since. Allison loves all types of travel, but especially road trips, national parks and travel within her home state of Utah.

1 comment:

Connie Weiss said...

I drove through this area at sunrise in March on our way home from California and I can't stop thinking about it!

Can't wait to plan a vacation there with my family.