For our last day of exploring Zion National Park, we wanted to go out with a bang and tackle one of the park’s more iconic hikes.
We had originally planned on doing Angel’s Landing, because it’s the most famous and is supposed to have one of the most stunning views in the world. It seemed like one of those things you just “have” to do if you visit Zion. But I was sort of dreading it. To be honest, I was too chicken to go. The last half mile up to the top is a very narrow, very uneven climb up the ledge with steep 1,000-ft drop-offs right below your feet and only chains to hold on to. Despite the thousands of people who make this hike without issue, I couldn’t get over my fear of losing my footing and falling and becoming the next statistic. (I’m sure it didn’t help that someone died falling from it a couple weeks before we went and when I Googled Angel’s Landing, that was the first thing that came up…). A thrill-seeker I am not, and hiking isn’t an adrenaline thing for me.
Anyway, we decided to do the Observation Point hike instead. Observation Point is another Zion classic and offers an equally stunning view with at least slightly less risk of plunging to my untimely death. At 8 miles round-trip, it is longer than the Angel’s Landing hike and climbs almost 1,000 feet higher, so it is a more demanding workout. However, it passes through some great and diverse scenery along the way and is some truly good hiking, and I found myself thinking I would have been sad to miss out on it, so away we went!
The first half mile ish is on the same trail we took on Day 1 to get to the start of the Hidden Canyon Trail. But instead of taking a right to toward the canyon, we take a left onto the Observation Point Trail for over 3 more miles of hiking up to Observation Point.
The trail continues its climb until we reach a cool (literally) treat: the Echo Canyon! While we don’t go into the canyon, we do get to sneak into the main canyon walls and peer down…way down…into Echo Canyon below!
The canyon walls provided a nice cool break from the sun!
Making our way back into the sun…
Saying goodbye to the canyon below…and the last bits of shade…
Back into the full-on sun
Now it’s time to start climbing again…
I loved this bright orange rock, I thought it was so bold and pretty:
Notice, as the pictures go on, how the rock starts to change colors a bit:
Still climbing: boy it’s getting hot in this sun and we’re workin’ those climbing muscles!
I didn’t get pictures past this point but for the next half-mile/mile, the trail reaches the top of a high mesa and begins to level out quite a bit as we trek over to the Observation Point.
It begins to feel never-ending because at that point you just want to be there already. And then, finally, there it is!! :
Finally, it was time to head back. But it was hard to say goodbye!
After all that climbing, I was looking forward to quicker trip down. I put my phone away and just booked it back down, no picture stops. Our return trip was about half the time it took us to get up there!
We stopped at the Zion Lodge for cheeseburgers (because someone maaaay have forgotten to pack sandwiches…oops!), and then we left the park for the last time and our Zion trip came to an end.
I was sad to go! I loved Zion. I loved hiking such amazing trails and being around so much natural beauty.
Later on, I was thinking about how strange it is to love nature and love city life at the same time. I love being out in nature so much, but I don’t think I could ever live out here. Because for all its faults, I love city life too. I need it. I need the activity, the energy, the pace of life. I hate that I can’t live close enough to national parks to be able to visit them without spending a fortune on travel to get there. But at the same time, while not as beautiful by any stretch, living where I live has allowed me to buy a house and pursue another different life adventure. We just can’t have it all in life.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my Canyonlands Race Recap, our trip sort of took a nose dive after we left Zion. We drove up to Moab on Friday with the intent of being able to explore Arches in the afternoon, but after travel mishaps delayed our arrival by almost 3 hours, we only had time to do a short drive through the park. I got a few pics at some lookout points but it’s really not worth writing a whole post about, so this is where my Utah trip recap ends.
I hope you’ve enjoyed following along, and that you’re inspired to take on your own hiking adventures.
We have an amazing resource in our beautiful, diverse national parks, and I hope we all can continue to fight to protect them.