Zion National Park: Days 2 & 3

Day 2: After experiencing the hordes of people on my way back down from Angel’s Landing, I knew I would need to get another early start the next morning as it tends to be less busy either early in the morning or late in the day. And to avoid the shuttles all together, I decided to explore the eight-mile Zion Canyon Scenic Drive on my bicycle. I got a bit of a later start than I intended due to the thunderstorm that rolled in during the middle of the night. There had been forecasts of thunderstorms the last several days and a Flash Flood Warning was in effect yesterday but there were no signs of any storm until last night. They take flash floods very seriously here, because they can happen very quickly and can have damaging effects. There have been several significant landslides here in the last several decades because of flash floods. So, when I heard the storm coming through, I wondered if I’d even make it out. But as fate would have it, I stepped out of my RV to blue skies!

I rolled out of my RV around 8:30am, made my way into the park and rode past the people waiting at the shuttle stop. Ha! Suckers.

I basically had the road to myself the entire eight miles up aside from the shuttles, a few tour buses and an older gentleman walking his dog.

“Morning! How’s the view?” he said.

“Fantastic!” I replied.

I heard nothing but the Virgin River rushing alongside the road, the birds singing, a few crickets and occasionally something scurrying in the bushes. I kept my eyes peeled for wildlife but only came across a few mule deer and a stork/Blue Heron looking bird hanging out by the river. He caught on to me quick, though, and was off for a tree the second I got my camera out.

I got to explore some hiking trails off the road that you wouldn’t otherwise know were there if you always stuck to the shuttle buses. At the end of the scenic drive is Temple of Sinawava. From here is a two to three-mile walking path which leads to The Narrows, a slot canyon which is very popular because the path through The Narrows is the Virgin River. You actually walk and wade through the river, sometimes up to your waist. Had I been better prepared for this and knew about this ahead of time, I definitely would have checked it out.

All in all, it was a pretty mellow day where I got to ride through this amazing place and take it all in.

 

Day 3: I had no intention of mountain biking while visiting Zion. I didn’t really know if there were any trails because I didn’t look into it. But when I first got into town, I came across Zion Cycles and decided to stop in and talk to them. The owner was really cool and helpful giving me the lowdown of the different trail systems here and gave me a few places to call for a private guided tour. I got a hold of Monte of Utah Mountain Biking Adventures. He was booked out for several days so he got me in contact with Morgan – one of the major trail builders out here and we decided the Guacamole Trail was exactly what I was looking for. Morgan and I agreed on meeting up at 7am this morning, so he picked me up in town and we headed west out of Springdale a bit and turned up a dirt road where we came out onto a plateau. The views were spectacular! The trail was crazy fun – a mixture of single track and slick rock. My technical skills were put to the test with the insane steep, vertical rock ledges that Morgan made look like a breeze. I watched, baffled, as he nimbly made his way up a nearly two-foot ledge. I gave it a try once but failed. I was getting the hang of it toward the end of the ride and was able to successfully climb up a few smaller, less-vertical ones. Mike would have loved these trails because his trial skills would have been put to good use.

Morgan was a fantastic guide and I’m so glad I got to ride some trails here!

 

Author: Debora Schwartz

I am a traveler, a writer, an outdoor enthusiast and a tiny house dweller.

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