In the future, I would like to spend some nights at the Zion Lodge. It would be nice to wake up and start exploring. Even if you just make it to the Lodge, you have accomplished a lot. The scenery in the Zion Canyon is most impressive without even striking out on a trail. Go and visit if you get the opportunity.
Zion is such a great adventure. If you drive the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, about 6 miles from the Visitor Center, you will find the Tunnel. It is about 1.1 miles long, and when it was completed in 1930, it was the longest tunnel of its type in the United States. It is a dark and spooky drive with a few openings along the way that let in some light and some views of the mountains. Beyond the Tunnel is a completely different section of the Park with some great hiking spots to explore.
This was a special sighting of Bighorn Sheep at Zion National Park. I was so thrilled that they gave me a moment to take some photos before they continued grazing and went on their way looking for dinner.
These are some of the sights you can see as you climb the Watchman Trail in Zion National Park all the way to the top. When you reach the trail summit, you will be rewarded with some lovely views.
The Watchman Trail is listed as a moderate hike in the Zion National Park Hiking Guide with a distance of 3.3 miles and an elevation change of 368 feet. I think a lot of people may take a pass on this trail because it kicks off right from the Visitor Center. However, I liked the trail and its scenic views of the Zion Canyon and beyond. Here is the Trail Map and several photos taken from ground level or from a very low elevation at the beginning of the hike. As you may know by now, Zion National Park is a beautiful place.
It is about a 3 hour drive from the Las Vegas Strip to Zion National Park. 164 miles according to Google Maps. This makes for a full day trip if you want to see and experience a piece of this awesome park. Right from the parking lot at the South Entrance, you know you are in for something special.
Part of the West Rim Trail runs along the Virgin River. This is the river (The North Fork) that runs through Zion Canyon and creates a lovely background noise of running water over rocks. At a few points, the trail provides river access so you can get next to or in the river for some fun.
Today’s mission – get as far up West Rim Trail as possible. As you can tell from the pictures, this is a challenging trail, full of switchbacks. It is like a super stair climber at the gym. I would have liked to go farther, but my daylight was limited and I needed to save some energy for the drive back to Las Vegas. If you hike this trail, you will be rewarded with some awesome views of the Park.
I was hiking the Grotto Trail, starting from the Zion Lodge, and walked upon several deer on the trail. The employees of the Lodge say that they like to hang out nearby. The deer mostly ignored me and went ahead with their lunch of green grass.