Looking for a fun and exciting way to cool off this summer? Check out Keyhole Canyon in Zion National Park. This hike does require a pass and some gear, but is well worth it. You will need at least a 100ft rope as there are about 3 short rappels in this canyon. Depending on the season, you may need a wetsuit as well, as the water can get extremely cold.

Keyhole Canyon
Photo Credit: Patrick McCue on flickr

The trailhead starts on route 9, there will be signs, and roadside parking. Prepare to be hiking for at least 2-3 hours as there are some obstacles and other technicalities that will need to be faced in this hike. This hike is really good for beginning canyoneers as there are several down-climbs that you will need to face, that can be intimidating, but as long as you use opposite force on the walls you will make it down fine. Just be sure to asses the decline before executing.

zion 080
Photo Credit: Lawrence on flickr

This is really a beautiful canyon to explore and you get to capture some stunning slot canyon scenery. This is a hike that you can take older children on, as said before, it is a great beginner canyon. Safety always come first though, make sure that you have the appropriate gear and are evaluating each rappel and decent as carefully as you can before heading onward. have fun and enjoy Keyhole Canyon!

Grafton, UT
Photo Credit: Bingen Cortazar on flickr

Nearby Zion and off a tiny road in the small town of Rockville sits a spooky ghost town. In all reality it really isn’t that scary of a place, from what history tells us, nothing too terrible happened there. It really is just a cute little old town that was abandoned due to lack of farmland. Although it’s not something out of a horror film, it is one of the more fun places to visit while near Zion National Park.
To get there you will take a small, sort of hidden road in Rockville called Bridge Lane, you will come across and old rickety one lane iron bridge, drive across and keep going down the dirt road, you will first come across the graveyard, and if you continue onward you’ll reach the town. Make sure that you keep an eye on the road though as it is right next to a cliff with rocks that jut out, and the road can be very bumpy and has a lot of sharp turns, safety should always come first, drive with caution.
The Town of Grafton was built in 1859 as a cotton growing establishment. You will notice that there are several headstones that are marked with the same death dates, this is due to the life there that was harsh and frequent Indian attacks and floods caused a lot of grief for the early pioneers.
This ghost town is one of the more well preserved and isn’t a tourist trap, you won’t find an old building that has been refurbished and turned into a gift shop or just a bunch of broken down “buildings” (piles of rocks). That is what makes Grafton such a cool experience, there is a lot you can learn about the early settlers in this area from visiting the town, even the cemetery is very protected and maintained.
This is the perfect day trip for those just wanting to get away from the tourists, or if you want to spook your friends and family, visit in the late evening hours!