Arizona/Utah - October 2020
Primarily a travel day from BWI Airport to Las Vegas! This is the closest airport you can fly into to reach Zion National Park. We picked up our car rental from the airport and headed out. We had no plans to stay in Vegas this trip. This was Heerali's first time Las Vegas, so we decided to at least drive down Las Vegas Boulevard to see the hotels. Due to COVID-19, the "strip" seemed like ghost town in comparison. Our first night we stayed at a lodge outside of downtown Vegas. Our first stop for tomorrow morning was Valley Of Fire State Park which is at the boarder of Nevada and Arizona.
We settled in for the night to get ready for tomorrow.
If you have followed us over the years, you know we start our days early in the morning to get to locations at sunrise and before other travelers. This was no different. We got there before sunrise and it was magnificent with the colors and nature surrounding. We decided to grab some great sunrise shots.
Next we made our way to the Fire Wave Trail Hike which is a 1.5 mile round trip trail. There is limited shade along the hike so make sure you have plenty of water, a hat and good hiking shoes. At the end of the trail you will see a "Red Wave" rock formation you can play in.
Spent the rest of the morning driving through other parts of the state park and a few additional trails but it was starting to get mid-day and the sun was beaming down pretty hard. We took one last drive and made our way out.
Next stop, Zion National Park.
We arrived early evening hours so we decided to do a quick drive through Zion National Park. We heard from a few others the Canyon Overlook trail was a great panoramic view and a great spot to catch a sunset.
The sunset was just amazing with the colors and the magnificent view overlooking the canyon. We hiked back while it was getting dark so make sure to bring some headlamps. This concluded our day full of hiking and adventures.
Today, we made our way back to Zion National Park. We had an early morning start with the famous Angels Landing trail. This hike is definitely not for the faint of heart. You will de-bus at "The Grotto" and find signs towards Angel's landing. From the base of the trial to your first "check point" at Scouts Landing is a moderately difficult incline with switchbacks and narrow canyons but overall a fairly straight forward trail. Make sure to take plenty of water and pace yourself along the hike.
Once you make it to the top of all the switch backs, you will read Scouts Landing. Here you will find majority of the hikers resting and taking in the view. A lot of people will think this is the end of Angels Landing Trail and many people will turn back and head back down.
If you continue forward, you will see a narrow trail off to the right which will lead you to the Angels Landing Spine
Here, the trail gets very narrow, very steep and very nerve racking, very quick! There is limited chain fencing up this trail, so make sure you take your time and have sure footing. But the struggle is worth it once you reach the top! You have a beautiful panoramic view of Zion National Park.
After enjoying our accomplishments, we sadly had to make our way back down. The hike down was more difficult on the way up only because of on-coming traffic of hikers heading to the top of Angels Landing.
Do the hike first thing in the morning!
The weather is cooler and there is very little shade along the trail. Especially along the Angels Spine.
Foot Traffic! In the morning everyone is heading up Angels Landing, so we had no oncoming hikers passing in the opposite direction. On the way back, we had to take turns with hikers heading up as we were heading down.
Leaves the afternoon/evening for other activities at Zion.
Once we reached the base, we enjoyed a few additional hours around Zion and then called it an end for our time.
Originally, we had plans to visit Zion again the next day to do The Narrows trial but we decided not to due to high level of cyanobacteria in the water. It was a risk we decided not to take. Many others had continued to hike the narrows.
This morning, we journeyed to Bryce Canyon National Park. There are many great trailheads in Bryce. We first stopped at Sunrise Point to taken in the views of the famous "hoodoos" Bryce is known for.
Ironically, for our morning hike we started at Sunset Point to do the Navajo Loop Trail. We recommend starting the trail by going LEFT first to see get the view of the switch backs from the top!
The trail continues down the base of canyon. Here is where you will get a sense of scale to these towering "hoodoos".
We continues our way around the Navajo Loop trail. Heading back uphill. Passing through "Wall Street" and more switchbacks.
After enjoying our hike, we drove deeper into Bryce National Park to explore a few of the other areas deeper within. We drove all the way to the end to Yovimpa Point. There are so many view points and hiking trails within Bryce. You could easily spend multiple days at this one national park.
After our morning adventures, We made our way to a town called Kanab on the boarder of Utah and Arizona. We stopped here for the night.
Close by to Kanab are sand dunes at are known for the pink/coral color. It was a $10 entrance fee. We arrived close to sunset so our time here was short. With a full day, there are many dune activities to do here.
Our plan for tomorrow was to make it to the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
Our journey to Grand Canyon National Park started early in the morning. From Kanab, it will take 2 hours to drive to the entrance of the "North Rim". From a tourist perspective, the north rim is much quieter in comparison to the south rim. Most visitors to the Grand Canyon will travel from Las Vegas to the southern rim entrance which is typically over-populated with people, tourist traps, and very high prices. Our experience at the north rim was amazing as we got to experience the beauty of the Grand Canyon in its own natural beauty.
There are a few different view points, each is a good 20-30 minute drive from one another. If we had to recommend one, it would be the Cape Royal Viewpoint. Stunning canyon views in every direction. You get a pictures sunset side view of the Wontons Throne as well. We ended up staying later than we anticipated as we could not get over the views of the Grand Canyon.
After sunset, we had a long journey to Page, Arizona.
With how hectic the past few days have been, we decided to sleep in today and take it easy. We visited the town of Page. Luckily we were able to book last minute kayaks, for the next day, to enjoy Lake Powell. Into the evening hours we ventured to Horseshoe Bend. Normally we like to be at a place for sunrise as there are fewer people, but with Horseshoe Bend, the view and the lighting is better during sunset as the sun sets behind the bend. There will be a lot of other people so recommend to get there early to claim a spot.
Horseshoe Bend is considered a state state park so a National Park Pass will not work. It is $10 to enter this state park.
Today, we enjoyed our day on the water. We headed to the docks for our kayak rentals at Lake Powell. We rented our equipment at Antelope Point Marina. The are located right now Lake Powell so we did not have to transport our kayaks. We kayaked into the Navajo Lower Antelope Canyons.
We kayaked till we reached the inner canyons. Note this is not the tourist side of Antelope Canyon since you have to kayak it all the way out and hike it yourself. The views were just mind-blowing and never imagined this moment and would do it all over again. The hike in was also beautiful and definitely worth it since there are not many crowds. Y
ou can hike as far as you want to and just keep track of time since it does take 1.5 hours to kayak back to the start point.
Once we docked, we headed out of Page, AZ and to the Arizona/Utah boarder to Monument Valley.
Monument Valley is well known for being the back drop for many movies. Most famously, Forest Gump. We reached "Forest Gump Point" early in the morning for sunrise to have the entire stretch of road to ourselves.
After our morning here, we made our way to Moab, Utah.
Today we visit the famous Arches National Park, and most iconic arch in the entire park, Delicate Arch. This is a 3 mile round trip hike from the trail head. To our surprise, when we reached the arch, there was a line to take pictures!
Arches is an absolutely beautiful national park with so many arches and trails to explore. You could easily spend multiple days here to see it all.
Outside of Arches National Park is a local know arch known as Corona Arch. This was an enjoyable trek with a great sunset view or the arch.
We woke up early the next day to head to Canyonland National Park where we went to the Mesa Arch for sunrise and it was really crowded, and you honestly couldn’t really enjoy the moment there. We then headed to Shafer Canyon Overlook viewpoint and it was totally worth it and what a view. There is a very popular Shafer trail that you can do, so make sure to look into that. If we had to do this over again we would head there first and then later to Mesa Arch.
We then drove to Dead Horse point State Park for the sunset view and it was totally worth it. It reminded us of Grand Canyon, and this is a great option to come to for great photography.
We decided to relax and slept in and had some delicious breakfast to start the morning off. We then were trying to go back into Arches National Park, but It was closed due to overcapacity, so we decided to make our way towards SLC. We stopped by a National forest on the way hoping to go and enjoy some hot springs, but it was closed, so we had some lunch and enjoyed being in nature. We then reached SLC and checked into our Airbnb. This was overall a great trip and we had the time of our life and if we could go do this over again we would do it in a heartbeat.