The Breathtaking Biking in Zion

Introduction

Zion National Park is popular for having some of the best places in hiking across the world. Inconceivable vistas are flanked by huge canyon walls. However, little is known of the unbelievable biking in Zion that is made available. As a matter of fact, great steps have been taken to ensure of the biking friendliness. One may take on several routes, I will however tell of the wonderful route that i experienced.

Zion’s Pa’Rus Trail

I embarked on the Zion’s route by biking just next to the park’s entrance at the Pa’Rus trail which goes right past the camping grounds. The Pa’Rus trail provides a great ride for anybody in spite of the skills in biking. You will ride along the Virgin River, crossing a number of bridges that gives an inspiring view of the stunning river below. It is just like a leisure ride and not steep where young ones can take on.

I particularly liked this part of the trail that I had even expected, the views, the bridges, meadows you ride through which all make up the unforgettable Zion’s experience.
Further riding up to the Pa’Rus trail will ultimately lead you beneath a bridge before climbing back to the main road at the end of the trail. It is at this point that you will need to make a decision; either to jump on the bus system and ride to the top or to take up the challenge of riding up through Zion. All the buses have got bike racks on them and you can therefore take the easy way out and ride on them.

Pa’rus Trail

Pa’rus Trail
Photo Credit: *Tim Grey on flickr

Riding up a Bike through Zion

In case you feel adventurous for just a little while and you would like to earn an adrenaline-charged ride down, ensure to take the somewhat harder route and ride your bike up without having to take a bus.

By so doing, it will be possible to view the canyon in such a manner that others can probably not. It will be possible to ride along with your neck strained from viewing the beautiful walls of the canyon that look so amazing. It would also be possible to see them on the way down, on the way down however, your concern will be not to wreck by moving too fast in order to be able to get absorbed in the view.

Just before reaching the lodge is one of my favorite places along the way. As I rode up, I soon noticed that the road had a covering of massive cottonwood trees which gave a little shade and a quiet feeling just before the storm. This could be the contrast from the views that were wide open of the Virgin River as well as the Great White Throne. It also gives an intimate feeling of the trees that stood guard as I rode up towards the canyon.

As one goes past the drop off area for hiking Angels Landing, one is soon welcomed by a different part of the Canyon offering an exceptional feel and view. Hitting the ‘big bend’ will make you have a hard time by not resting for some time in the views here. You are however almost at the top part, so don’t give up as yet.
Before reaching at the top and the narrow’s starting point (where the busses drop riders), you will find a little waterfall off to the side that you really need to go and view. A deck is built which allows one to easily have accessibility in going up to see the waterfall that is very stunning.

Biking to Zion’s Top

Upon reaching the top, you will earn an enjoyable ride right back to the Canyon. It was a very beautiful ride. However, there is just a little strenuous peddling that is needed from here and out. You need to be very careful though since you can get significant speeds as you go back downhill. This is just a good ride to end it with astounding speed down the mountain.

This is how one can go biking at Zion’s top. Even if one can take on other routes, this is one of the most straightforward one; very rewarding as evident.

Heaps Canyon and Imlay Canyon in Zion

Plan a trip with your friends and family in winter to Zion for a little adventure and challenging experience. Sometimes the park will be closed during peak winter season, therefore, consult the park authorities before planning a trip in winter. And make your trip the most exciting and memorable.

Nowadays planning a trip is easy, if everyone in the group work their schedules, then pick the perfect date for your trip, and make arrangements, isn’t it simple! The hiking trip is more fun when you go with a large group, especially when you are looking forward to spending quality time with your closed ones, this kind of trips help you bond together along with fantastic adventures and fun. Imlay and Heap’s canyons are the best choices to make your trip most exciting and memorable.
If you are traveling with kids, then make sure to take them to their favorite swimming hole in Zion for loads of fun and tan.

Imlay Canyon
Photo Credit: Peter Howe on flickr

IMLAY

To reach Imlay, drive to lava point and take a 5mile walk to reach the Potato Hallow, it is better to start early to reach this spot. Here, you will find the drop and first rap. Some reports are very contradictory about Imlay, but, when you see it yourself then you will see totally different from the reports, the Imlay is in fact very remarkable. You will enjoy few fun raps and a range of gorgeous canyon and enjoy the exciting canyoneering. It takes minimum 10hrs to reach the last rap of Imlay. The experts recommend to canyoneering Imlay from the top. Also, you will enjoy the sneak route and full water route from the top to the end.

Some people believe that Canyons are for unsuccessful rock climbers, but, it is not true at all, only when you climb canyons you will know what you will miss if you didn’t try it. Canyons are fun and different in their own prospect.

HEAPS

Start early to reach Heaps; if you don’t like the shuttle ride to lava point, then from Grotto also you can reach Heaps. When you are canyoneering with friends and family, it is always best to start early, you know the odds. However, heaps have some of the best water sections, they are full and cold, and you can take a swim in keeper holes. But, you may need heavy suit to keep your warm. Heap looks gorgeous from the top of pristine and less crowded Phantom Valley. It is also famous for its sandy corridors, the last rappel hanging on 300inch and 9mm cord. Heaps is a gorgeous canyon, which attracts many visitors, the cold waters add more fun to your trip to heaps.

Heaps/Imlay

Heaps/Imlay is different from other canyons in Zion National Park, and they definitely need a special introduction. Imlay and Heaps both have inspiring and challenging character. Inspiring because of the carved stone, dark hallways and profound pools offer a thrilling experience, which you will experience a little in other canyons. Challenging because of its an unremitting flow of water along with harsh pothole exits and a level of tough single giant leap superior to other canyons in Zion.

How To Keep Kids Busy In Zion

Zion is one of the most Family Friendly National Parks to visit. Why? Simply because there is an endless amount of things to do here! From hiking, swimming, camping and many other activities, its hard to NOT keep the kiddos busy while staying here.

Alissa 2
Photo Credit: cwillayne on flickr

For those of you who have never been to Zion and aren’t sure what to expect while you’ve got the littles with you, here are some good tips and fun activities to try:

Easy-Peasy Paved

One of the things that separates Zion from the rest is the amount of paved, or low-impact hikes the park has. Which means pushing a stroller, or hiking with really young children can be a lot easier than you’d think. These hikes are perfect for those who have to push strollers, or keep tiny legs going. There are several hikes to choose from including; River Walk, which is a fully paved trail and absolutely beautiful, not to mention river swimming in the summer months! Emerald Pools, depending on how far you want to go you can choose to take a stroller to the waterfall and turn back, or hike with the little ones for the entire time, its actually a fairly short hike. Weeping Rock, this is a fully paved trail, and is very short, however it is a little steep, so be careful!

Junior Ranger Program

This is great fun for kids! Let them learn and explore on a ranger led activity, where they can accomplish tasks and receive a cool god badge at the end! Zion offers the kids a fun little workbook that keeps them busy on the shuttle and they can take it on the hikes with them to complete.

Swimming… Rivers?

That’s right! Some areas of the Virgin river in Zion you are allowed to swim in! So make sure that you and the littles have some extra clothes or a swimsuit to wear!

Snacks, Snacks, SNACKS!

Make sure you bring plenty of snacks and treats for the little ones to keep their energy up while hiking around. It also helps to pack a lunch as well while you’re out so you can stop and take a break under a shady tree to eat.

Hopefully these tips will help you with your kids on your next Zion trip!

Observation Point Trail in Zion

As you hike starting from Weeping Rock Trailhead up to the Observation Point, the trail is recognized as a Zion classic. The trail has a viewpoint as you finish the trail and it provides an iconic image of the Zion National Park. It is estimated that the trail is about an 8 miles (round trip) hike that may take about 4 to 6 hours depending on your speed. There is a steep uphill walk on the hard paved trail. Through this trail, the hikers can have a glimpse of the mysterious and dark Echo Canyon with the amazing slickrock formations as well as the White Cliffs. Though the Observation Point Trail hike is not as fearful as the Angels Landing, it still provides a good workout as it has an elevation of above 2,100 feet.

img src=”https://c6.staticflickr.com/3/2927/14629418093_8257c077fe_z.jpg” width=”640″ height=”427″ alt=”Observation Point – Zion”>
Photo Credit: Bill Church on flickr

Right from the start at Weeping Rock Trailhead, the Observation Point Trail is inclined but is snakes its way up those eastern walls of the Zion Canyon. Within no time, you will be several feet high from the canyon floor and a good view to the Weeping Rock and Angel Landing. Halfway up the trail is a diversion trail up to the Hidden Canyon. This can provide a good diversion on your way Observation point but you will still reach. The only problem is that you will not have enough time to explore the area.

As you continue with the trail and in a steep incline, you will reach the Echo Canyon. This is a huge side canyon pantheon that is about 1000 feet high from the valley floor. The place is surrounded with canyon walls and has cooler temperatures as the visitors get a glimpse into the dark slot canyons of the Echo Canyon. There is a dry stream bed to cross over to the other canyon’s side. After a mile in the Echo Canyon, you will come across a junction to East Rim Trail, less defined but more difficult.

Past this junction, you will resume with the Observation Point Trail which is still characterized with its snaky steep ascents to the White Cliff formations. After 2100 feet of height, you will be on the rim of a sandy plateau. From there, the land is relatively level and you will come across one more junction with East Mesa Trail and then continue with the journey. Soon enough, you will be standing at Observation Point, a place full of trees and sandstone and a great place to enjoy lunch.

Winter Safety In Zion

Zion National Park is located in Southern Utah which is considered “desert landscape” meaning that the temperatures tend to be a bit warmer than the more northern parts of the state. However, there are still chances of rainfall in the winter causing icy trails and roads, and sometimes when temperatures get low enough, snowfall happens. With that said, here are a few tips to keep you safe while you are adventuring in Zion this winter.

Zion Winter
Photo Credit: Richard Susanto on flickr

Safety Tips

  • Stay on open trails only! During the colder weather, some trails and roads may be closed due to the weather. Do not attempt to hike these trails or travel these roads, they are closed for a reason.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Thermals and snowsuits aren’t always necessary in Zion as it is a bit warmer climate, but heavier jackets, pants, boots, gloves and beanies are recommended to stay warm. If there has been recent snow or rainfall, be sure to use gear that aids in traction as well as shoes with good traction.
  • If camping, be sure you’ve packed the appropriate gear to stay warm, especially at night. Temperatures in the desert drop dramatically at night year round, this is especially true during the winter seasons. There is potential for hypothermia, frostbite or even freezing in your sleep, so make sure you are wearing the right clothing and have good thermal-type sleeping gear to avoid those dangers.
  • Keep an eye on the weather, or check with the visitors center to see what the weather is going to look like during your trip. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Days can go from warm to snowfall or rainfall very quickly, make sure you have a heads up of what to expect so you do not get trapped on a trail or in the backcountry.
  • Make sure to have a first-aid kit on hand at all times.
  • NEVER HIKE ALONE. This is very important, in cases where someone is injured it is important to have someone else there to help with wounds, keeping warm and or retrieving help.
  • Stay out of the river, (we know this seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised). Swimming during the winter can result in hypothermia, frostbite and potentially death.

No matter the time of year it is, it is always important to make sure that you follow rules and regulations as well as prepare your own safety plans. Make sure you can enjoy your trip to the fullest without mishaps.

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Bicycling Near Zion – Gooseberry Mesa Video

With all that you can do in Zion and near the park, one of the more favored activities is mountain biking. Especially here in southern Utah! There are so many fun trails to ride! If you are visiting Zion and want to take a really fun mountain bike ride, check out Gooseberry Mesa, this is by far one of the most popular rides for mountain bikers in the area.

Check out this cool video of a Gooseberry excursion:


Video Credit: Brandt Anderson on YouTube.

Gooseberry is a fun and exciting Mountain Bike trail with plenty of adrenaline pumping obstacles, this is definitely a trail for those who are a bit more experienced, but beginners (who are daring) can brave it as well.

Located just west of Zion National Park, the directions start at Smithsonian Butte Rd. from here you will go for about 2.8 miles until you reach Gooseberry Mesa Rd. This is an unmarked road, so you will need to keep your eye out for a fence on the left hand side. You will then turn left through the fence onto Gooseberry Rd. Pass the cattle gaurd, and keep going for about 3.6 miles. Soon you will come to a fork in the road, this is where the trail map and restrooms are located, turn left and keep going for about another 1.1 miles, there will soon be parking on the right side.

Once you have reached the trailhead, take off, be safe and ENJOY THE RIDE!

Near Zion – Grafton Ghost Town

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!

What to Expect When Hiking Emerald Pools

Want to go on a hike on a super-hot day in Zion National Park, but need something moderately easy with plenty of shade to keep you cool? Emerald Pools is a refreshing and beautifully scenic hike for those who need something a little less extreme. Only a .6 mile long hike this is the perfect hike for the entire family, including the really little ones!

emerald pools in zion

The start of the trail is paved making it feel like more of a stroll through the park, rather than a hike. Plenty of shade is provided due to the cottonwood and box elder trees that seem to line the trail. Alongside of you will be the beautiful Virgin River. As you make your way to the pools you will get random splashes of cool spring water that falls from and seeps out the sandstone cliffs along the trail.

Once you reach the pool be prepared to be blown away by its beauty. The pool sits in a circular canyon, with beautiful sandstone boulders and shrubbery that peeks out of the rock cliff.  This is where most of the hikers take a break to eat, play, and take in the lowers pools beauty. The rest of the hike is mostly paved trail where more water falls from the cliffs and provides a refreshing exit of the hike.

Lower Emerald Pools is definitely a favored hike in Zion, and is by far my favorite short hike in Zion. I have hiked it a handful of times during different seasons and it never ceases to blow me away with its magnificent views and relaxing aura. This really is the best hike for a day trip with the entire family. Be sure to pack some waterproof hiking shoes for the trip to the pools. You are bound to get wet here. Have fun and enjoy beautiful Lower Emerald Pools!

Snow Covered Kolob Canyon

Kolob-Canyon-in-Zion-National-Park

We are always partial to Angels Landing, the Narrows, and the likes. But if you were looking into going out a bit further than the main part of Zion, the Kolob Canyon section of Zion is one of our favorite spots. The views just off of the road are expansive an inspiring. And if you are looking into seeing Zion with a bit of snow on it, then there are few better spots to see it at than Kolob Canyon. They do plow the roads, but they can still be quite slick right after a storm, but don’t let that stop you as most cars should be able to handle it just fine.

It’s just something about the drama of the scene, the white snow in contrast with the shockingly red Kolob Canyon fingers makes for one beautiful scene. So take your family for a drive to see one of the prettiest snow locations in all of southern Utah, Kolob Canyon. It sits just off of I – 15 near St George, and if you’re in a hurry you could probably drive up and down it in 20 minutes or so.

We took this picture from it about a month ago, but there’s been more recent snow so we know that it again looks like this, or even better. So take the time, make a trip to the Kolob Canyon section of Zion National Park.

Kolob Canyon in Winter