On my way home from California, I'm SO glad I was able to spend a little time at three of Utah's national parks. I just wish I had been able to spend even more time at them, and had been able to get to the others as well. I guess that just means I'll need to plan another trip!
I love that there are enough National Parks for us to each enjoy different aspects about each of them. I had talked with a couple people about the parks I planned to visit, and since I knew I'd be limited on time asked for some advice. A few people mentioned spending more time in Zion and using Bryce Canyon and Arches as more of a "drive through" time. Well, it turns out I think I'd do just the opposite. I'll just have to go back again!
There are quite a few pictures here, so I understand if you don't watch through all the slide shows! But, if you want to, you can just hit "refresh" to start them over and see each of them. I thought it might be most interesting for those of you who have been to any of the parks before, or who are thinking of taking a trip there. And, in my opinion, we should all be planning trips to Utah's national parks!
At Zion, I decided to go on the 90-minute shuttle ride up the canyon, as there were no private vehicles allowed, and get off on a few stops to explore a bit. I didn't end up doing the hike that Becky suggested as it was labeled "very strenuous" and took 4 hours, but maybe if I had great guides (like Jed and Krista!) I'd try it next time. We should plan a trip!
Here are pictures from Zion National Park:
I had to leave Zion in time to get to Bryce and spend some time there during daylight. I had looked up a little about Bryce, but even so, was really surprised at what I found! I enjoy the Grand Canyon, because it's just, so, well... GRAND! But it turns out I think I like Bryce Canyon even better! It seems more interesting to me, with these "things" sticking up out of the canyon. I guess they're called "Hoodoo's" and are very unique! I arrived about 30 minutes before sunset, so saw a couple of things quick before it was too dark, but I ended up deciding to stay right there are come back in the morning before leaving for Arches (across the state). I wish I had left time for a hike, because I guess there's a fairly easy 2 mile hike down into the canyon, and I would've loved to see the different views that allowed. Next time, I guess!
Here are pictures from Bryce Canyon National Park:
I left Bryce Canyon knowing I wanted to get to Arches with some time left in the day, and it was a couple hundred miles away. I talked with the park ranger upon arriving (always a good thing to do -they know the most!) and she was able to help me figure out what I would like to see. I was able to see many interesting things right along the road (they veered the road so that Balanced Rock is right next to it!) and had just a short drive to The Windows and Double Arch. I spent a little more time there than planned hiking around a bit, that I realized I wouldn't have time to do the longer hike to Delicate Arch. But, since there's an overlook to it I knew I could just go there. Well, I ended up going to the top of the overlook area, and climbed up even farther. I just sat for a while, explored around a bit, at one point was the ONLY one around at all, and really enjoyed my time there. I walked to the edge of the cliff and peered over for a while, then got a tad nervous when it was windy that if I fell over, no one would even know I was there! I backed up. It was a super cloudy day, but as I was thinking about leaving (I was still going to drive a few hours farther that night), the sun looked like it wanted to peek through. I decided to wait a bit, and it ended up being a much longer wait than I thought it would be, but was SO worth it! I'm really glad I stayed! In the end, I probably could've done the main hike there, but I still feel like I had a great spot to see Delicate Arch and watch the sunset.
Here are pictures from Arches National Park:
It was so great to see all of what I did, but I feel like these were just "preview" trips and now I'd like to go back and spend more time at each place! And, I'd also like to do some more exploring around the rest of Utah as well!