Grand Circle Western Parks Tour / Oct-Nov 2016 travel blog

US89-Alt was wilderness, crossed the Colorado, then curved left along the Vermillion...

Following the Vermillion Cliffs.

Climbing up to the Kaibob Plateau, looking back on the Vermillion Cliffs.

Entering Utah with the cliffs of Zion NP in the distance.

Cliffs near the park entrance. Altar of Sacrifice in the center.

Three patriachs.

 

Angels Landing. See the hikers on the top ridge?

Climbers about half-way up a 1,000 foot cliff.

Riverside Walking Trail.

End of the Riverside Trail, the River Trail goes onward up the...

Wet hikers.

 

We're staying on dry land!

Checkerboard Mesa, a famous cliff with unique markings.

Bighorn sheep along the roadside.


We left Sedona early in the morning, at 7:30 AM, to make a 320 miles drive to Virgin, UT and Zion National Park. The drive over here was notable because we traveled along some real wilderness, 2 Indian reservations, 2 national forests, followed the Vermillion Cliffs, crossed the Colorado River, re-entered Utah, and lost an hour to the time change between Arizona with no daylight savings time and Utah which follows DST!

The most popular part of Zion is the Virgin River Canyon. The lower part of the canyon is about mile wide and narrows as you go upriver for 14 miles. There is a tourist road along it's length, a free hop-on/hop-off park service tram, scenic stops, hiking trails, and not much else. The canyon is bordered by vertical cliffs 1 to 2,000 feet in height. The cliffs are very colorful. The road ends at the point where the canyon becomes too narrow for traffic, and there is an easy one mile hiking trail called the Riverside Walk which we hiked. When the canyon become too narrow for this trail, the route continues IN THE WATER as "the Narrows Trail" to the top of the canyon about 5 miles away! I spoke to a returning wet hiker and he told me that it is easy for about a mile, then there are sections with boulders in the riverbed that make it alternate between easy and very difficult.

Getting back to the mountain time zone is a big plus! The cats don't expect breakfast till about 5:30! I actually get up by myself, without their help!

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