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Zion National Park recs

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Zion National Park recs

Postby Vermont Mike » Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:32 pm

Hi all,

I'll be tending bar at a wedding in Arizona next month and figured I'd make Zion one of my stops along the way. I was there 20 years ago with family and so have seen a lot of the "touristy" stuff already. Although we made it to the base, we didn't, however, go up Angel's Landing. I will have about 24-36 hours there, and can definitely tackle 25-30 miles of on-trail hiking in a day. Any section of the park is doable.

1.) Are there any good < 30 mile loops?

2.) Any recommendations given a.) no backpacking and b.) nothing technical (scrambling/exposed is ok).

3.) Given no good responses to 1 or 2, would the bang-for-your-buck option be an out-and-back to Angel's Landing followed by an out-and-back trip as far up the Narrows as possible (given good conditions)?

Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

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Re: Zion National Park recs

Postby painless4u2 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:54 pm

+1 for Angels Landing

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Re: Zion National Park recs

Postby edhaman » Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:23 pm

I'd go for Angels' Landing, then up the Narrows. But start for Angels' Landing as early as possible, as it will get very hot by noon. I'd suggest hitting the first shuttle bus of the day.

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Re: Zion National Park recs

Postby Beaker » Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:10 pm

Agree with Angels Landing. Get as early a start as possible.....it can get crowded and bottlenecks can form near the top. Best to get off that section before the masses come up.
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Re: Zion National Park recs

Postby killstorm » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:25 pm

Angles Landing is a great option as mentioned.

I preferred Observation Point both from a scenic standpoint and less crowds.

Unfortunately the Narrows were closed the entire time I was there :(

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Re: Zion National Park recs

Postby Stephen Butler » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:42 pm

+1 for Angels Landing. I did it a few years ago and it was a great hike.

Edit: I did it in early May in the afternoon and it was really hot. So like others have said start early.

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Re: Zion National Park recs

Postby Pops921 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:19 pm

My wife and I just went to Zion, this May. Here is what I suggest.

Day 1 Take the first shuttle of the day and do Angels Landing, descend Angels Landing and go one more stop and do Observation Point. This is easy to do in one day. The first shuttle is important to avoid crowds and heat. After Observation Point get back on the shuttle and go rent gear for the the Narrow's the next day (Zion Adventure Company rents gear near the park entrance).

Day 2 ..Take the first shuttle all the way to the end and hike the Narrows... this is truly unique hike up a flowing river in an amazing canyon. We were lucky when we were there, they had just added a earlier shuttle and we had the Narrows all to ourselves for the hike(wade) in, we ran into the crowds on the return. If you you only had one day...I suppose I would take the Narrows, it is too unique to miss.

First shuttles are key to miss crowds

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Re: Zion National Park recs

Postby 2giqs » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:36 pm

Can't argue with a plan that includes Angel's Landing and the Narrows. Good to have a plan b just in case: Take the Kolob Terrace Rd to the Wildcat TH. Hike the two miles to the end of the Northgate Peaks trail. Climb both Peaks. One to your left is class 2, the one to your right is class 3. And a class 4 route up North Guardian Angel lurks just beyond. Good hike to take when its hot in the main canyon.

Another good hike with lots of variety can be found here: http://www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/jughandlearch.cfm

If you need a quick hike for your morning of departure, consider zipping up Progeny Peak. Fabulous views: http://www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/progenypeak.cfm

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Re: Zion National Park recs

Postby jdorje » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:27 pm

Was there earlier this summer...did angels landing (<3 hours round trip) and the narrows (<6 hours round trip). Pretty much just like pops. However these are maybe the two most popular hikes in the park that claims to see 3m visitors a year...so they are touristy, though most do not make it to the "end" of either. You could easily do both in one "full" day. The next step up is probably the subway (permit required, though see a recent thread about this). There is also at least one loop choice where you get dropped in above the narrows and do a one way descent (also permit required). Zion is actually quite small and linear, and there's no way you're going to find a real "loop" that doesn't involve a 4000 foot technical climb up a cliff. Take a waterproof (or ziplockable) camera and GPS.

Depending on your location, check out bryce canyon nearby. Exactly the same yet yet completely different than zion. And the drive between them is cool. We just did the loops in the bryce ampthiteater (1-6 hours depending on your route choice), but there's also a long loop (under-the-rim trail) that goes all the way to the end of the ridgeline that would take a day or three (and then grab a shuttle back) - probably also needs a permit.

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Re: Zion National Park recs

Postby Tony1 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:24 pm

Consider the Observation Point hike as well. It starts at the Weeping Rock shuttle stop, and it's pretty fantastic. At the top, you look down on Angel's Landing.

Here's a picture from Observation Point I took in March:

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Re: Zion National Park recs

Postby painless4u2 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:44 pm

I will have about 24-36 hours there, and can definitely tackle 25-30 miles of on-trail


If you're willing to consider going just outside the park, you might take a look at Buckskin Gulch, the longest slot canyon in the world. It's a 21 mile total hike (with Paria canyon) and requires a shuttle, and would be a long day but is possible. There is one spot (the rock jam) that requires a semi-technical downclimb, but isn't too bad. It's a bucket-list hike!

Check it out: http://climb-utah.com/Escalante/buckskin.htm
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

Bad decisions often make good stories.

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Re: Zion National Park recs

Postby Vermont Mike » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:51 am

Thanks everyone for the responses so far!

@painless: The Buckskin/Paria area has been on the list for some time . . . now that I've explored some more of Canyonlands and the Swell maybe I'll make a trip down to the Escalante/Grand Gulch area soon

@jdorje: Yeah Bryce sure is a beautiful place isn't it? I'd like to get back there someday too and explore a bit more, but I'm definitely focused on Zion for this trip. Sounds like Angel's Landing and some Narrows exploration will do just fine for a day. Zion's one of those parks where you really can't go wrong no matter what you do, in terms of seeing natural splendor

@2giqs: Northgate Peaks were already on my radar and I was going to give them a go if time allowed. Wasn't aware of Progeny Peak though, that one looks interesting.

@killstorm @tony1: If I have time (or get sick of the crowds on the West Rim Trail or in the Narrows) it looks like I'll have to hit up Observation Point as well. Thanks!

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