DAY 2: ZION NATIONAL PARK + LOWER ANTELOPE CANYON
I feel it’s important that I preface this post with the fact that I’m not a hiker by nature. The sun and I don’t get along, being that I’m naturally very fair skinned and burn easily. I say this to give you all hope that if I can do you, you can do it!
Today kicked off day two of our west coast + Canada road trip. On the docket was Arizona and Utah, more specifically Zion National Park, Lower Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. I can say with absolute certainty that we saw some of the most beautiful places the US has to offer today and all three were places I would visit again.
We began our day from Mesquite, NV, where we spent the night last night and drove to Zion National Park’s Canyon Overlook Trail. This trail is located on the lower portion of Zion National Park and it’s really easy to get to. Unlike some of the other longer, but beautiful hikes you can trek at Zion, we opted for one that gave us a top down view of the whole canyon and was one of the shorter Zion hikes. At about 1 mile round trip, this hike is one your kids can do with ease. My biggest tip: wear sunscreen and bring water! It’s hot and an uphill trek, but the reward at the top is breathtaking. If you hike Canyon Overlook Trail you do not need to park and take a shuttle into the park, you can drive and park by the trail. No tour guide is needed and there’s no cost involved other than your entrance park fee ($45).
BIG TIP: If you have a child going into 4th grade, they can do all the National Parks for FREE! Not only do they get in for free, but included in their pass is up to 3 adults and their siblings. Simply go here and follow the process to print your pass.
Our hike up Canyon Overlook Trail took a little over an hour and with a tour booked at Lower Antelope Canyon, AZ, we decided not to chance the shuttles even though we really wanted to do some of The Narrows hike. Looks like a good reason to come back. If you do decide to hike some of the other trails at Zion National Park be sure to check the weather as there can be flash floods during summer months especially. Since I packed lunch options we ate on the go and began to head towards Lower Antelope Canyon.
ANOTHER TIP: Arizona doesn’t follow daylight savings time so be sure to double check your time zones as you go between UT and AZ.
Knowing that we were head of schedule, our tour at Lower Antelope Canyon didn’t start til 4:45pm, we stopped at Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam Visitor’s Center. This led to us booking a tour of the dam for tomorrow, but that’s a different story.
Lower Antelope Canyon is a must visit! It’s only 2ish hours from Zion and 2ish hours from the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon so there’s no excuse! Unlike national parks, the hike for the Antelope Canyons does have a fee as the land is owned by the Navajo people. There’s an upper and lower canyon, but the lower canyon is easier if you have small children or children who aren’t used to the heat or hiking. You MUST book your tour ahead of time. We booked our tour with Dixie Ellis‘.
Our final hike of the day we attempted to do at sunset, which ended up being an epic fail, post sunset hike up to Horseshoe Bend because my weather app said the sunset was at 8:30, but it didn’t account for the time change and so it set at 7:30 around the time we pulled up. This hike is about 1.3 miles round trip and, while not difficult, you’re walking uphill both ways in sand. It’s hot so be sure to wear lots of sunscreen and bring plenty of water. Despite the fact that we missed the sun setting, I managed to get one picture before we needed to head back because it was dark.
LAST TIP: many of the locals are happy to tell you when sunset is so don’t be afraid to stop and ask so you make it up there to watch God paint the sky over Horseshoe Bend.
Well friends, despite all we did today we managed to climb into bed by 9:30. We have another big day tomorrow as we head toward Four Corners.