Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Cedar Breaks
7th day Itinerary
Experience the Incredible Canyon Country Vacation
Zion National Park - When someone has the time they often return to the grandest of all the Utah national parks, Zion National Park. Millions will visit this incredible corner of the US and return again and again because of it's enormous vertical scale and stone patterns that define Zion. Zion National Park is a cornucopia of nature that defies explanation. The vertical desert consists of 147,000 acres, and the wide range of elevations starting at 3700' and soaring to 8726' above sea level. This ancient sand-dune-turned-to-stone is located in the Southwest heat, but cooler forests are abundant and water fills the most interesting nooks and crannies. If looking for cloudy skies and rain, understand it's rarely found on the floor of Zion Canyon. The temperature in Zion Canyon can reach 100 F, but cooler temperatures are a jaunt away on the east side of the park. Zion is a year round park, displaying its snow capped peaks for the world each winter. There is so much to see and do year-round in Zion National Park.
Grand Staircase - For those who want to get away from the crowds, the 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has treasures to explore. Hike the majestic slot canyons and check out the hoodoos, pillars and balancing rocks. Explore the backways and fill your trip with adventure. The Glendale Bench Road backway to the Grand Staircase Escalante is located 6 miles from Mt. Carmel Jct. at the intersection of highways 9 & 89.
Bryce Canyon - The top riser of the Grand Staircase and the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau is a Southwest show stopper. Located only 60 miles from Mt. Carmel Jct. on the east side of Zion National Park.
Grand Canyon North Rim - Those that vacation in Utah often include a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on the itinerary. The North Rim pales to the South Rim only in commercialism. The North Rim is spectacular and is located only 95 miles from the junction of highways 9 & 89.
Cedar Breaks - It would be a shame to visit Southern Utah and miss this audacious show of hoodoos, pillars and fins at Cedar Breaks. The coral colored amphitheater whispers it's abundant beauty to its visitors. This park is a little off the beaten track, but it is worth the 45 mile drive from the junction of highways 9 & 89. The drive through Dixie National Forest is an adventure in itself.
Golfers - Play on the lush Thunderbird Golf Course on the east side of Zion National Park, where the scenery is outstanding and the green fees are only ten bucks!
Coral Pink Sand Dunes - For those who like to play on off-road vehicles, the Coral Pink Sand Dunes is an ATV users paradise. The Coral Pink Sand Dunes turn-off is located 3 miles from, Mt. Carmel Junction, and then it is another 9 miles to the park. Even those without ATVs come out to enjoy the park daily.
Zion Hiking Guide
Bryce Canyon Hiking Guide
Cedar Breaks Hiking Guide
Cedar Mountain Hiking Guide
North Rim Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Coyote Buttes Hiking Guide
Grand Staircase Hiking Guide
Coral Pink Sand Dunes Hiking Guide
Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway
Kolob Terrace - Kolob Canyons
Dixie National Forest: UT14 - UT148
Bryce Canyon: SR12
North Rim Grand Canyon: AZ89 - AZ67
Grand Staircase: UT89
Coral Pink Sand Dunes: UT89
Suggested Trails for Adventure Seekers!
For list of best hikes for the average visitor, please see day 1 of the spectacular Canyon Country adventure.Angels Landing - Angels Landing takes some time to trek, but its an incredible experience. The Angels Landing trail is a half-mile of climbing along a narrow sandstone ridge with sheer cliffs on both sides. The start of the West Rim Trail leading to Angels Landing is a 2 mile uphill hike. Plan on about five hours for the round trip.
Zion Narrows - This trail ranks #5 in National Geographic Adventure Magazine: America's Best 100 Adventures! The Zion Narrows Trail leaves little choice but to get wet in the waters of the Virgin River. The trail leads into the deepest reaches of Zion Canyon where the walls are only 24' apart and measure more than 1000' high! The trail begins with an easy paved walk and ends in a gorgeous slot canyon. The trail involves wading through the river that carved Zion Canyon. Plan to wade up stream for about 3 miles and then return the same way you came in. The narrowest section of the Zion Narrows Trail is only 2 hours up the canyon. The complete Zion Narrows Trail from Chamberlains Ranch to the Temple of Sinawava can be done as a rushed one day hike or a relaxed two day backpack. To begin the hike at Chamberlains Ranch use two vehicles, one at the trailhead and one at the trailend.
Orderville Canyon - Orderville Canyon is a tributary creek found two hours upstream from the Temple of Sinawava. Enter through the Riverside Walk Trail and hike to Orderville Canyon until stopped by obstacles. Do not jump down off obstacles in the slot canyons. This is one of the main reasons hikers are injured in Zion.
Hidden Canyon - This very steep hike begins at the same trailhead as the Weeping Rock hike. Hidden Canyon is a 2 mile, moderate (but very steep!) hike. After leaving the shared Observation Point trail, the narrow path toward Hidden Canyon hugs the cliff-side in many places, but there are chains secured to the cliff for hand holds. The ascent is 850.' On the return trip, the view from mid hike down into Big Bend is breath taking. Allow three hours to reach the canyon mouth and return. A path that requires a little climbing does continue for another half-mile past the trail end. One of the rare free standing arches in Zion is at the canyon section of this hike. It is missed by most, so keep your eyes open if looking for it.
Our "Canyon Country" trip is a vacation grand slam!
Zion National Park, Utah
History of the Thunderbird
This is my new favorite quote:
"I don't know who Tanya Milligan is, but I mean www.zionnational-park.com
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park