The Land of Canyons

Trip Start Jul 13, 2009
Trip End Oct 07, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hurricane was supposed to be a central place to see the canyons but it was still a fair drive from Bryce Canyon and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was very close to Zion though. Since we had another long drive down from SLC the previous day we decided we would visit Zion first. After reading travel books and researching the internet we decide to do either the Angel's Landing trail or Observation Point. On arrival we went to the Visitor Center and asked a ranger which was the better hike. He suggested Observation Point as it was a less crowded trail and you have a great view. We jumped on the Zion bus which is free with the entry fee and disembarked at Weeping Rock (that path was closed because of a rock fall). The trail was 4 miles that transcended 2130 feet! The sun was beating down for the second half of the ascent and it was hard! We reached the top and had lunch. The view was amazing and the canyon was phenomenal. On the way down we saw 2 snakes on the path! They didn't worry us though. Downhill was definitely easier and we still kept taking photos. At the bottom we jumped back on the bus and headed to to end of the road where we went on the Riverside Walk which was a 2 mile round trip on a paved path. It was a nice amble and very different from the uphill hike. Then I wanted to go and see the Lower Emerald Pool, a 1.2 mile round trip. We had a look around Zion Lodge and watched the deer on the lawn out front. After watching the sunset we headed back to Hurricane. It was a fantastic day!

The following day we were expecting to be sore but actually we were both feeling pretty good. We jumped in the car and drove on up to Bryce through Zion tunnel. It was a good drive but takes over 2 hours each way. We drove to Sunrise Point and were stunned by what we saw. The Hoodoos were captivating. There was a walk right next to the lookout and I ask Adi if he wanted to go and he said he was thinking the exact same thing (we had decided in the morning after the 11 miles of hiking in Zion that we would have a relaxed day, that was out the wwindow). We did the Queens Walk and Navajo Loop up through Wall Street. It was really spectacular and well worth the walk. It was a busy trail but we were distracted from the people by the beauty. After the walk we went for a drive to Inspiration Point, Bryce Point, Paria View and on down to Natural Bridge. Here we turned around and headed on back to the motel. It was another special day. Bryce Canyon is so unlike anywhere else in the world we had been. There and then we decided to have another day there.

After much debate we decided to cut out going to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon as it was miles away (about 250) so instead we went to investigate the North Rim (150 miles). People had told us the South Rim had too many tourists and you didn't see as much. The pluses of the South Rim are you see the Colorado River as its closer and that is where you get the picture postcard photos. We found the North Rim was very nice and had great views. There is a sun deck at the lodge that you could sit at and watch the sun go down with an ice cold beer. A beautiful setting. We walked down to Bright Angel Point and had lunch while soaking in the sun and the views. After lunch we drove to Point Imperial and Cape Royal which had the most amazing views. From Cape Royal you see Angel's Window where you glimpse the Colorado River and follow on to Cape Royal which was impressive. To see the Grand Canyon properly it would have been nice to hike down and stay a night in Phantom Ranch. On the drive home there was a spectacular sunset.

The following day we had a rest day and did washing.

The final day we headed back to Bryce Canyon and did the Fairyland Loop which was another great hike. I promise there are a couple we won't recommend but not this one. It is so cool to be down amongst the hoodoos and everywhere you look there are shapes that capture the imagination. If you are wondering of a place to head in the USA this area has a lot to offer. It isn't hard to get to Yellowstone or Vegas also. Definitely a great place although it would have been better for us to base ourselves at the different canyon parks instead of driving back to Hurricane every night.
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