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  1. #1
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    Mar 2011
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    Mount Airy, MD
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    Get me up to speed: Zion Nat'l Park

    All of my outdoors experience (backpacking, hunting) has been based here in the central East Coast. Lots of backpacking in the Appalachians, mainly in the Shenandoah.

    My SO and I are going to be spending 3-1/2 days in Zion Nat'l Park in early May. We are looking to do some dayhikes; probably about 10 miles maximum per day and something shorter on the first partial day.

    What should I expect? The weather doesn't look too bad, average high of 83F, I expect it to be less humid, though. Flash floods look like the might be dangerous.

    Looking for suggestions from those who have "been-there-done-that" on items such as:
    -Maps: (USGS topos [accurately] show the trails?) Which ones? Source? I get my local ones from REI.
    -Day Hikes (This site seems like a good starting point. What are your suggestions?)
    -Gear: What might an east-coaster not think to bring?
    -Water: Are there safe places to filter along the trails? For day-hikes I usually only bring 2 qts/person.

    Is it May yet?

    ETA: Thanks to R6006A's subway hike post, it convinced the SO to make Zion part of the vacation.
    Last edited by DZ; 03-29-2011 at 03:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Bothell, WA
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    Look into doing the Narrows. It's 16 miles and can be done in one day. We used to get the permits that allow you to spend the night at the halfway point. There really isn't anything to describe how beautiful it is. There are areas within the hike where you can physically touch the walls on both sides and can't see the sky.

    LINK

    These are all web pictures.








  3. #3
    Jeff Randall's Avatar
    Jeff Randall is offline Co-Owner Randall's Adventure & Training / ESEE Knives
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Gallant, AL
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    6,171
    My favorite National Park. It's amazing

    ESEE Knives

    Randall's Adventure & Training

    ----Long live Warren Zevon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    MHill- I have heard about the narrows hike. Wondering if it isn't a bit much. Not sure if SO is in 16-mile/day shape yet.
    Repelling equipment required?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Bluegrass Country
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    It's been a long time since I visited Zion (mid-1990s), but here's what I remember:
    Gorgeous, but crowded - almost too-popular-for-its-own-good. You said "early-May", so you're going BEFORE the "traditional vacation season" (Memorial Day) begins, or before most of the country's schools let out, so you should be okay. Should be able to get any maps you'll need at the park itself. If by "day hiking" you mean "returning to our campsite each night", make sure you have a reservation, because those campsites disappear fast.
    Side note: if you find the time, or you find Zion to be too crowded, too hot, whatever, a very short drive to the NE is one of the more underrated and beautiful national monuments in the Southwestern US: Cedar Breaks. Imagine that red-rock desert landscape and all those haunting rock formations ("hoodoos") dropped into a high elevation alpine environment and covered in snow. The contrast is amazing. There are a few easy day hikes at CBNM if you want to "ease" into it and get acclimated.
    I'm jealous, BTW.
    RAT Pack # 381

  6. #6
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    Mar 2011
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    Bothell, WA
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    No, there is a van that can drop you off at the beginning. I think it's worth it. The colors and formations in the rock is something to be seen. Even is you cannot make the Narrows however you're going to find a lot of beautiful and fascinating hikes. We found old drainage canyons coming down the side of the mountain and would spend all day in there climbing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    228
    The Narrows are where its at - just beautiful and amazing. Also check out Angels Landing. I loved Zion!

    Wish I had Crocs back then
    RAT Pack #159

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    16
    I was in Zion in early May of last year during a cross country road trip with my girlfriend. A couple of thoughts/recollections:

    It was so crowded that you would have an easier time getting lost in your local grocery store. If you can't figure out where you are, just ask the guy behind you because there will pretty much always be a guy behind you. However, the maps they provide on the way in are pretty handy too.

    Holy crap, it was hot. I was wearing cotton/poly zip-off hiking pants and one of those super breathable polyester sports shirts and still felt like I was roasting in my own juices all day. And when I got back to the car to put on some much needed deodorant, I found out my stick of Old Spice had completely melted. Like, it was literally just blue liquid spilling out.

    Typically, I like to drive my own vehicle whenever possible, but the high cliffs of Zion bottleneck all transportation. You're better off ditching your car at the visitor center and riding the shuttle bus. It makes stops at the major trail heads and, if I remember correctly, you can hike to the less popular or more inaccessible ones from shuttle stops.

    When I was there the Narrows were flooded and inaccessible. I've heard nothing but good things about that area, so check with the park beforehand if you've got your heart set on certain trails. I'm also bummed I didn't get a chance to hit up Angel's Landing, but that one was my fault.

    If I were to do it again, I would carry a 3 liter water reservoir, some Gatorade, and more sunscreen. And probably my DSLR, because that place is freaking beautiful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Spring City, UT
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    63
    I've been to Zion's a few times and always like to hike up Angels Landing when I'm there. The views are amazing!! Emerald pools and weeping rock (I think those are the right names) are two more spots I like to stop at.

    Definantly take the shuttle busses. When I was there a few years ago they didn't allow travel on certain roads so you had to take a shuttle. It's easier and saves you gas.

    I like to picknick infront of the lodge. The Gift shop is pretty cool, check it out!

    By the way the last time I was down there I carried a 5" Bowie on me and no one ever batted an eye. You can carry, just don't draw attention to it and be responcible.

    Have fun and bring back lots of pictures to share with us!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    1,401
    DZ,

    I live 20 minutes from Zion. I buy the year pass and spend my whole summer up there doing the canyons (Canyoneering). If you have the gear and the experience you have to hit up some of these canyons. Subway, Pine Creek or Mystery Canyon.

    If you are just looking to do traditional day hikes or overnighters, I recommend The West Rim Trail ( It passes right by Angles landing so you can hit AL as well) You need to start from Lava Point and it's about 14 miles. Very doable in one day. You need someone to give you a lift to Lava point and I would be happy to drop you off up there. I can't begin to describe the views from that trail. Spectacular!

    The Narrows is always a popular hike.

    If you want to hit up a few short hikes these are very short and kid friendly.

    1. Weeping rock .25 miles
    2. Emerald Pools about 2 miles
    3. Canyon Overlook .5 miles ( you have to go through the mile long tunnel to get there)


    If you know how to rappel and want me to take you down one of the canyons let me know. I have enough gear so save the space! Just give me a heads up before hand so I can plan around the dates you are coming.

    Spry Canyon Very tight spot


    Spry Canyon Commando Style


    Spry Toward the End


    Keyhole Canyon
    Last edited by Threatx3; 03-30-2011 at 12:36 AM.
    RAT PACK #898

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    I had to post these to convince you on the west rim...BTW this hike is mostly level or down grade so it feels like you breeze through those 14 miles. There are several springs along the way. (Cabin springs, Potato Hollow)

    While you are here pick up a second wife





    Walter's Wiggles (named after my relative) One of your last obstacles on the West Rim before you head to the shuttle and grotto. Your dogs will be barking by this point....especially if you decide to do Angel's Landing (and you MUST)

    Last edited by Threatx3; 03-30-2011 at 12:57 AM.
    RAT PACK #898

  12. #12
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    Mar 2011
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    Mount Airy, MD
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    triple threat - still processing your post...

  13. #13
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    Mar 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by DZ View Post
    triple threat - still processing your post...
    soak it up amigo.....let me know if I can be any help!
    RAT PACK #898

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    525
    Triple great pics you would definitely be the guy to guide when we go there!

  15. #15
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    Mar 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by sar5 View Post
    Triple great pics you would definitely be the guy to guide when we go there!
    I'd love to guide you down a canyon! PM me before you head this way.
    RAT PACK #898

 

 

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