Southern Utah is an Incredibly Beautiful Place

Posted at September 11th, 2015
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We might be a bit biased, but we think that southern Utah is one of the prettiest places in America. The diversity you’ll find, the stunning rock structures you’ll find, and the towering trees and trails you’ll find make for just a splendid place to live. Zion National Park itself offers out-worldly beauty, but even beyond just Zion this video illustrates that there are amazing things to see and do here.

Southern Utah…Home Sweet Home. from Ben Braten on Vimeo.

Which makes being a place to stay in Zion that much more fun. Because not only can you see and do fabulous things right outside your room here, but within just a few minutes of a car drive you can be boating at Sand Hollow, mountain biking at Warner Valley, skiing at Brian Head, or any other of a number of things.

Going ATV riding along the rim out in Smith Mesa is one of our favorite thing, it gives you incredible views not only of Zion, but places like Gooseberry Mesa, and Pine Valley. As well you’re out where few other people are, so there’s an immense sense of calmness when you’re out there.

This video also shows another one of our favorite places, Pine Valley and its little reservoir. Pine Valley is so much different than the red rocks of Zion, which makes it a bit of fresh air. The towering pines are beautiful, and the valley itself makes for a wonderful place to picnic and hang out for a few hours. There’s a steak house in the town, and an old ice cream parlor, both of which are so very tasty.

And last but not least Tuacahn is the best place in southern Utah to catch a live show or play. Their productions are top notch, including many from Disney itself. So come prepared for a show that is 100% professional, with amazing props, and fantastic actors. All with one of the more beautiful backdrops you’ll find anywhere around.

The Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion

Posted at August 14th, 2015
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The Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion is one of the more popular hikes in Zion. For a couple reasons, the view is amazing, and the approach is quite simple. You’ll encounter the young to the old on this trail, as there is very little uphill, and the trail itself is short.

But as you can see from the views they are hard to match. In fact you’ll feel a little guilty to have such a view with such little investment.

canyon overlook trail

Getting There:

The trail head is just after the tunnel so it’s super easy to find. As soon as you go through the tunnel you’ll pass a guard station, and just after the guard station is where the trail starts.

The Trail:

You’ll climb just a bit at first and then most of the uphill is over. After that you’ll be walking along the canyon overlooking the start to Pine Creek Canyon (a technical canyon). Before long you’ll come to a wooden bridge that’s pretty fun to walk along while looking down below you. After the bridge there’s an alcove that you walk under that is quite interesting and a good spot to take a quick break at if need be.

overlook trail

You’ll have a another slight incline through rocked steps and then be very near the end. As you keep heading west you’ll soon see the end of the hike and a the million dollar view.

It’s quite inspiring to come to the edge of the Canyon Overlook and to see clear down the canyon. To see all of the switch backs that you came up in your car below. If you look to the left (or south) then you’ll often see people exciting the Pine Creek as they walk along the creek bottom.

Make certain to take a quick lunch with you so you can linger on the edge, truly the view from the Overlook in Zion is one of the better views you’ll see. So if you’re coming to Zion make certain to not miss out on the Canyon Overlook Trail.

overlook trail in zion canyon

Breathtaking Zion

Posted at August 7th, 2015
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For those of you who are looking at coming to Zion in late September and into October, you should be lucky enough to catch the park in a flush of autumn colors.

This video is very well done. Enjoy :)

A Moment in Zion from Andrew Julian on Vimeo.

lodging in zion national park

Pictures From a Walk Along the River River in Zion

Posted at July 16th, 2015
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We took stroll down to the Virgin River yesterday and captured some images that we just had to pass along. Zion National Park is so vibrant and fun this time of year. Even the little things like reeds along the banks of the Virgin River make for a fantastic day.


Benefits to Biking Rather Than Riding a Car or Bus in Zion

Posted at July 10th, 2015
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What is riding a bike for you? If you are a youngster, riding a bike is an inalienable part of your life as you still do not have enough money for your own car. Some young people even reject all the comfort and speed of cars and prefer to continue riding a bike, but they are looking forward to buying a beach cruiser or even a motorbike.


No one says that biking in a place like Zion is a more comfortable way than riding a car for getting from point A to B, but on a bike you feel that it is actually you whose strength is put into making the wheels drive; nothing else but the work of your muscles. Whereas when you drive a car, you need gas. Moreover, the big plus of cycling is that you are improving your health by making your muscles work, in which you develop your character and health. Plus riding a bike in Zion also offers some of the most fantastic views you can ever see.

Mountain Biking in Zion Benefits

Most mountain bikers ride for the thrill and excitement of it but in addition to that, you will also get health benefits of it as well. Although gashes and bruises are considered part of mountain biking, you should not be discouraged as you will develop your endurance as well as muscle growth. Again mountain biking in Zion National Park offers views of the canyon you just can’t get elsewhere.

Mountain biking is also a great workout for your back especially during ascends. To maximize the exercise on your back, stand up on your pedals as you go up the hill.

It is also a great aerobic exercise which means that you get the same benefits found in running. One advantage of biking to running is that in cycling, the impact is spread to your arms, legs, and buttocks which helps prevent injuries especially on the knees.

Lastly, mountain biking is a great way of meeting new people especially now that mountain biking is getting more popular. You may stop at your local bike shop and inquire on any scheduled group cycling. Joining in this kind of gathering is helpful as you get to share your ideas about biking and other things as well as gain knowledge and advices.

Hiking and Camping – Water Discipline Tips in Zion Canyon

Posted at June 12th, 2015
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Many people know the fact that people can survive without any food for several days and weeks, but without water they cannot survive even for a couple of days. Also the survival period is based on the weather conditions. When you are trekking or trailing in thick forest line, when the sun comes out you feel like drinking a lot of water, as these activities require a lot of water, because you lose most of your body water through breathing out and sweating. So when you’re visiting Zion National Park, and specifically if you’re going to be doing any hiking in Zion, then take note so you can stay safe.

During trekking occasionally people get sick due to dehydration and it may surprise you that even in tropical areas trekking causes severe problems if you do not drink lot of water. You may not be able to get water at regular trails, trekkers who are new to these places are not aware of these facts and you may not find any water ponds in some areas. In some places the stored water or pond water is not good for cooking or drinking.


Therefore, it is very to carry a lot of water while trekking, to keep hydrated all through the day. Also it is important to get familiar with a place like Zion Canyon before you start venturing out, and find where you can find water sources. So that you will keep you hydrated and you can enjoy the beauties of Zion National park peacefully.

Important tips to follow:

  1. Water preservation can only happen when you are able to conserve water only for purpose, it begins with meal preparation. While cooking use minimal water for washing and cooking, use only the amount of water required for washing vessels.
  2. While you are camping, make sure that to cook easy foods like instant noodles instead of cooking rice and curry. So that you can save time and water as well.
  3. In case there is water scarcity in the route where you choose to trek, then make sure that you carry lot of water in your bag. It is very important for you to drink a lot of water to keep you hydrated till you reach some water source. It is always better to prepare well, than to regret.
  4. Refill all empty bottles where ever you find fresh water, don’t think that you have to carry heavy load, remember it is keeping you safe and giving you energy. So for your wellness you must carry lots of water, especially when you are trekking.
  5. Whenever you are thirsty drink a small glass of water, don’t drink the whole bottle at once, it may cause more discomfort. Drink small amounts of water so that it comes out as sweat, but if you are really thirsty, then you should drink as much as you want.
  6. If you are not having enough water to sustain the entire trip, then trick your brain by swishing small amount of water to freshen your mouth before gulp into, so that your stomach sends signals to the brains that it had enough water for now.
  7. In case of lot of scarcity of water sources in camping sites, then make sure to use minimal water and use paper towels mostly for cleaning purpose.
  8. If you want to brush your teeth after every meal, then instead of brushing use Listerine to clean your mouth. The recent studies suggesting that after rinsing your mouth put some water in your mouth and swish it and swallow the water. This keeps you healthy in many ways and keeps your fit for many reasons and also helps you save water.
  9. When you’ve planned a long trip in Zion, pack some useful vitamins, proteins, and energy drinks so that you will stay fit and also you can stay huger free for longer periods of time. Pack some dry nuts and fruits to keep your huger at bay when you are hiking or trailing. Eat good stuff and stay healthy while you are on trip.
  10. When you are on limited food supply, practice this drill which you might have learned during elementary school years. Chew your food for 20 times before swallowing, this drill can help you consume less food and makes you feel full.
  11. Too keep your cloths dry on rainy day, pack a set of rain-gear cloths to keep you dry and they also require no washing, which helps you save water and time.
  12. Pack cloths that are easy to dry, avoid cottons when you are going for hiking, trekking. Cotton cloths take time to dry and they occupy lots of space.
  13. Pack polyester clothes because they are more resilient and wick better. Use microfleece or polarfleece pants and shirts but pack wools only for survival, to keep you warm during cold days.
  14. Pack lot of energy bars, cereal bars, and energy drink. You must take care of your health while you are on trip.

Conclusion: Water discipline is very important when you are trekking and camping in a place like Zion National Park. You should also drink lot of water to keep you hydrated. Therefore you should understand clearly how you can save water and consume water only when it is required.

Incredible Weekend Biking Experience in Zion

Posted at April 23rd, 2015
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Biking in Zion National park is one of my favorite things to do. You don’t think there are many places to go, but allow me to tell you about my experience biking Zion a couple of weeks ago.

We started biking right in the middle of Springdale, about where the park is. Our goal was to have the entire experience not just the in the park experience. We wanted to ride by the shops and stores outside of the park grounds. There’s just something fun about biking in Springdale. People are so happy and excited to be there. And as we kept getting closer to the park entrance we only got more and more excited to be there.


We took the east walking bridge entrance and began our journey along the Pa Rus trail that first goes through the campgrounds, and then heads up along the Virgin River. They’ve added some fantastic bridges that cross over the Virgin that really makes for a fantastic time as you ride. The Virgin River is a very pretty river, so biking along its banks makes for a beautiful ride.

There’s one point along the Pa Rus trail where you can easily get off the trail and go down by the river to soak in the setting. The river here cascades down some boulders that make for a really pretty place to stop, and take in the beauty of the scene.

We continued riding up the trail, and couldn’t help but love the bridges along the way. They really make for a great ride, to give you that birds eye view of the Virgin below you.

Before long the Pa Rus trail ends and that’s when we jumped on board the shuttles. The shuttles have 4 bike racks you can use to take you right to the top (of the Temple of Sinawa aka the Narrows). Once here we began the most exciting aspect of our biking in Zion journey, and started down the road.


Since there are no cars then you have the road almost all to yourself, except for the occasional shuttle that passes by you. There’s just something amazing about riding a bike down Zion Canyon. Seeing her walls from your bike as you go wizzing by. Big Bend, the Patriachs, all of them are just so beautiful when you’re riding a bike.

You can even stop, and take a quick break at the Lodge like we did before our journey continued down the road. It really is an incredible experience to ride a bike in Zion.

Zion Fee Free Day This Weekend

Posted at April 17th, 2015
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This weekend is opening week for National Parks and to celebrate they’re offering fee free access on Saturday and Sunday April 18th and 19th.

Fee Free Day: NPS

Places Near Zion to See – Red Mountain Trail

Posted at March 6th, 2015
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If you’re coming to Zion and maybe looking to expand your reach slightly, then here’s a place near Zion to see that definitely worth your time. Now don’t get us wrong, there’s enough in Zion to see that it would take you several years to see it all, but every once and awhile you might was a taste of something else, well the Red Mountain Trail next to St George is definitely a must!


What is the Red Mountain Trail?

If you’re familiar with Snow Canyon State Park then you’ll quickly know why it’s such a fantastic hike. Esentially you hike along the rim of Snow Canyon, the entire way. The hike itself is app 10 miles, and offers views upon views, upon views. You’ll look down into greater Snow Canyon, then at times you’ll be looking westward into the Kayenta valley, and finally you’ll have a stunning view down into Ivins and St George.

The hike begins right by a city called Dammeron Valley, and then ends up in Ivins (there are several ways to access it, but this is the most prevalent). Now we do have to give a warning here, there have been a handful of search and rescue missions on this very trail, and that’s primarily due to people thinking it’s easy and can be done in 5 hours, so they head out without lights or knowing where they’re going. This is backcountry so after awhile the trail disappears and you’re on your own. So if you’re going to hike it, make sure you’re prepared and start in the morning.


After starting out you’ll hike for about an hour or so until you’re greeted with a fork in the road (go right), then after another 30 minutes or so you’ll get a different vantage point of the Snow Canyon Overlook that most don’t see, and it’s wonderful but in reality just the beginning of the views you’ll be greeted with.

Before long you’ll see a place where you can get off the trail and walk along the white rim of Snow Canyon, and here’s where you’ll first see the rock pools of water that dot the landscape along the top. In truth they were some of the most interesting/beautiful things you’ll see along this hike (aside from the stellar views you’ll have the entire time).

As you continue walking southward soon the rocks change from their drastic white to straight red and orange. so the contrast between the two only adds to the scene.

Before long you’ll come to the end and be given that tremendous view down into Ivins that you’ll want to stop and soak in for a few before you begin your descent and complete the trail.

So that’s it, if you’re looking for things to do near Zion then hiking the Red Mountain trail should definitely be on your list.

Winter in Zion

Posted at February 19th, 2015
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If you’re wondering if Zion’s worth venturing to during winter then hopefully these images will sway you. When winter comes around Zion in many ways slows down substantially, you aren’t able to access many of the higher elevation areas and hikes of Zion, but in truth Zion doesn’t get a ton of snow usually, which in some ways is regrettable as the snow adds a certain kind of beauty to the canyon.


These two images were taken off of the Kolob Terrace section of Zion. If you’ve ever hiked the Subway then you’ll know right where they were taken from. The road up to Kolob Reservoir is plowed to a point and then after that you’re on your own.

The views here are dramatic and offer a less viewed section of the park. In fact it’s one of the best and most beautiful drives in all of southern Utah. And here’s proof that venturing up there during winter offers wonderful rewards.


But the beauty of winter in Zion is the change that comes over it. The whiteness adds just a completely different perspective and view of this amazing place. We’re used to the sheer canyon walls of red and white, but seeing them snow covered just makes for a completely different view.

In truth you’ll be somewhat limited on which hikes you can do, especially right after a big storm. But places like Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock are easy enough and definitely worth the effort to see them in winter. The water flow is usually fairly substantial as well, so the waterfalls are often flowing strong.