After again a long ride, because America is big we arrive at Zion Canyon National Park. With the 2 campgrounds full, we look for a parking place and get some information. The scenic drive is just for the free shuttle which goes every 10 minutes and brings you to the different points in the canyon. A good initiative that guarantees the peaceful nature of this ancient sacred place.
The afternoon here is very hot, the sun above us and no wind to refresh us tells us is not the time to do big hiking. WatchmanTrail is not too far, climbs to a viewpoint over the canyon and gives us an idea of what we can expect: heated dry air that rises from the canyon! After the trekking we end up swimming the Virgin River to refresh a bit…
So the next morning we wake up early, at 6 am, so we can start before the sun heats the canyon. First we do the Benchsand Trail starting from the Court of the Patriarchs (8 km) to reach the head of the Emerald Pools Trail (5 km)
which goes after climbing the 3 different levels of natural pools, to the Grotto Trail (1 km) back to the Zion Lodge. Here we take a shuttle to Weeping Rock. The trail till there is short (0,8 km) and connect us with the Hidden Canyon Trail, our main walk and hike of the day. A 3.9 km trail that has a 260 m elevation in 1.9 km track… that is steep! The trail is described as ‘Strenuous! Hidden Canyon Trail: 3 hours, long drop-offs. Not for anyone fearful of heights. Follows along a cliff face to the mouth of a narrow canyon’. We did it in 2 hours… and I am so proud of Giorgia who actually is afraid of heights. Lov’u!
After this we have a nice salad picnic at the “Temple of Sinawava” and a swim in the Virgin River. We have a long rest and nice entertainment of squirrels stealing food from people.
Last walk of the day is the easier Riverside Walk Trail that ends at the Narrows. From there on people can walk the river up the canyon, we are not prepared for that clothes-wise and decide to make a hot chocolate on the last dry spot the river canyon offers. In the shadow between these big walls with the sound of the river, it’s heaven on earth.
While the Grand Canyon is a view, Bryce Canyon an edge to follow, Zion Canyon is exploring the inside of a canyon along the river itself. It’s like the difference between an astronomer and an astronaut…