Utah Vacation: Zion National Park - Observation Point
Back in October Christian and I ran away for two weeks of adventure in the gorgeous state of Utah. I'd like to share some highlights from that trip because it really is a beautiful place.
After hiking the Narrows, our plan was to drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and try for permits to camp down in the canyon. My birthday was in two days and I thought it would be really cool to wake up in the Grand Canyon on my birthday. But, the Narrows really beat up my body. My left leg was dragging (due to an old kayaking injury), my knee hurt, and I felt like I had a pulled muscle in my thigh. I didn't think that I could physically make it down into the Grand Canyon and back out in the condition I was in. Well, maybe I could make it but I didn't think it would be much fun.
So, we decided to stay in Zion and hike some of the trails we hadn't been on yet. We decided to take it easy by hiking one of the hardest trails in the park - Observation Point. Seriously, we don't know how to relax! From Zion's Hiking Guide:
2,148 feet of elevation gain in 8 miles. Maybe you remember the stats from our Angel's Landing hike. That hike only had 1,488 feet of gain and it was a lung-buster.
The morning was rainy which meant very few people on the trails - just how we like it! Partway up the mountain we came to Echo Canyon - a neat little slot canyon that we wanted to explore but it was really wet due to the recent rain.
So, we continued climbing higher and higher. The sun occasionally peeked out and left us with some really dramatic landscapes.
Eventually we were high enough that the rain switched over to snow. After many hours of putting one foot in front of the other we made it to Observation Point where we towered above Angels Landing and Zion Canyon.
I love being able to see where we came from and this photo, if you look closely, shows some of the switchbacks we climbed.
We didn't spend much time on Observation Point because it was so cold so we started making our way back down the mountain - out of the snow and back into the rain. There's a trail that branches off of the one we were on that goes to Hidden Canyon. Since we had already hiked the hard part (going up) we decided to pop over to check out the canyon. We hiked that trail on our last vacation but Christian didn't remember it at all. I remembered that it was a "must see" due to the scary drop-offs.
At the end of Hidden Canyon is an arch that we sat under while the rain poured down.
And on our way back down the mountain, the sun came out and lit up Angels Landing.
The ever-changing light is one of the reasons that Zion holds a special place in my heart.