If you’ve ever been to Zion or Bryce Canyon National Parks, then you know know the power that this landscape has to inspire sheer awe. Grand sandstone cliffs give way to plunging canyons, natural arches,and mesmerizing towers. These two parks, with the help of the amazing natural formations that lie within them, present some of the most iconic scenes of the American Southwest. Here are five of the region’s top day hikes to get you out, get you moving, and get you inspired!
Angel’s Landing is Zion’s most popular hike, and for good reason. This 5.4-mile trail is not for the faint of heart, as it includes some intense drop-offs, rock scrambling with the help of chains, and some narrow ridge climbing. At the top, you will find yourself standing atop this unique formation that juts out into the middle of the canyon. The view is simply stunning, some say among the best in the world, with the surrounding sandstone landscape all around.
The Narrows is one of the world’s best slot canyon hikes. This Zion hike follows a river between two towering canyon walls. What makes this trek unique is that you get to walk or wade through the water to follow your way down the canyon. In the heat of the summer, the cool water in this shady canyon can be especially refreshing. Most people venture in about 4 miles in to Wall Street, where the tall canyon walls close inward overhead, before heading back.
Prepare yourself for a challenging 8-mile hike through Zion’s lesser-traveled trails to Observation Point. Along the way, cruise through beautiful Echo Canyon’s twisting walls. Then comes the main climb,with each switchback giving way to a wider and wider view of the park. At the top, you’ll realize all the hard work was worth it when you see the serpentine Virgin River below and the majestic rainbow of colors that the natural landscape lays out before you.
Once you’ve enjoyed all that Zion has to offer, take a short trip to neighboring Bryce Canyon National Park. This park offers a totally unique topography of “hoodoos,” which are other-worldly rock spires that have inspired many ancient Paiute legends. Start at Sunrise Point for some fantastic early-morning photos, then descend into the canyon below. Use your imagination to see Queen Elizabeth and her castle among the rock formations at the end of this trail. This short 0.9-mile trail can be easily combined with Peekaboo Loop.
To see the best that Bryce Canyon has to offer, tack on the Peekaboo Loop after the Queen’s Garden trail for a great 6.6-mile hike. This trail leads you through small tunnels, across natural amphitheaters, and over old dunes, all of which lie guarded by the park’s legendary hoodoos. Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the famous Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
The landscape of this part of the world is unlike any other you will ever experience. To get the most out of these amazing natural wonders, it’s best to spend multiple days exploring, hiking, and simply being inspired. Fit 4 Adventure’s Utah’s Zion N.P. and Bryce Canyon N.P will get you experiencing it all with daily guide-led hikes and nightly stays in a beautiful mountain lodge. Get out there and celebrate some of America’s best natural wonders!
Author: Julie Fisher
F4A Blog Contributor