We landed in Las Vegas and we were in a big rush to get to Zion in order to fit in a few of the easier hikes before it got too dark. We grabbed our backpacks from the carousel, took the rental car shuttle to get our car, drove from Las Vegas, Nevada through Arizona, and finally to southern Utah after three hours of driving to Zion National Park!
We arrived around 3:30pm, checked into our campsite, set up our tent, quickly changed into hiking clothes, and jetted off to Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock, and Hidden Canyon. We took the shuttle and we first hiked to the Lower, Middle, and Upper Emerald Pools.
Lower, Middle, & Upper Emerald Pools
- 3 miles roundtrip
- Elevation gain = 350 feet
This trail was very crowded and felt very touristy while we were there. We both thought that we would feel isolated being out in Zion, but it was the opposite of that. There were a bunch of people here! It was our first time hiking in the sand and I learned really quickly that this sand gets everywhere (socks, shoes, eyes, mouth, clothes, tent, etc.) and doesn’t seem to ever leave you.
On the shuttle, we were looking at the map to see what other hikes we could squeeze in. This guy on the shuttle asked us if we had done Hidden Canyon and told us that it was a great hike to do and that it required using chains to get in and out of the canyon. Chains & heights = adventure!
- 2.4 miles roundtrip, out & back
- Elevation gain = 931 feet
The beginning of the trail was steep with some switchbacks, but finally had some relief in the shade once we hiked into the canyon. There was a moment while we were hiking that we heard these loud noises and thought it was some huge animal, but the closer we walked… We realized that it was a bunch of frogs in the water and their ribbiting was echoing off of the canyon walls. LOL.
After reaching a viewpoint, you reached an opening to a canyon that required a lot of rock scrambling. I hit my head a few times on some rocks trying to squeeze in between rocks and logs that were in the path. Very typical of me, unfortunately. The trail was beautiful and hiking in these canyons were incredible. It was the first time hiking somewhere else that didn’t have evergreen trees surrounding you, but instead a lot of rocks and sand! We saw some arch formations and enjoyed our time scrambling in and out of this canyon. The end to the trail was a sign that said, “End of Canyon Travel Turn Around Here.” It was kind of disappointing that there wasn’t a viewpoint or something at the end of this canyon, but the trail was fun at least! We started hiking back to the shuttle around 6:30pm and thought we would have enough time to check out Weeping Rock before the shuttle buses ended for the day.
- 0.3 miles roundtrip
- Elevation gain = 78 feet
This trail was super steep, but once you reached the top it was well worth it! We thought because of how hot it was, the rock wouldn’t be weeping, but once we kept hiking closer we could hear water falling from the rock. Due to the impermeable layer, it forces the water to find a place to penetrate such as at Weeping Rock. The water has been in the rocks for about 1200 years! I never learned much about rocks until this hiking trip and sort of wish I took “Rocks for Jocks” at UW when I had the chance. That information would of been actually valuable for a trip like this!
We made it back to our campsite and I had my first freeze dried dinner meal of lasagna with meat sauce and chili mac. 10/10, would definitely recommend! The wind was roaring throughout the entire night and since we were in a rush to get hiking, we didn’t put stakes down on our tent. Rookie mistake. You can hear the wind coming before you actually felt it & it woke me up the entire night. I felt like I only slept for a solid two or three hours. However, looking at the stars in the middle of the night felt like it was the only silver lining. THE STARS ARE AMAZING OUT HERE! I have never in my life seen so many in the open sky and I knew I could never get tired of looking up at them.
More to come about our day two in Zion, which includes The Watchman Trail & the craziest hike we have ever done — Angels Landing. Thanks for reading ❤