Thank you for your comment on my blog post “Running and Hiking”! You asked if I would be hiking in the parks and yes, that is my plan. I plan to hike Zion with a day trip to Bryce for a hike there. My definite hikes so far are Angels Landing and the Narrows. I plan to do only a portion of the Narrows so not needing the permit and not making a long day of it. Have you hiked in Zion? I would appreciate any information you may have to share. I even wonder how cold the water in the Narrows would be in early May!
Calgary, Alberta Canada
ANSWER: Yes, I have been to Zion and love it! You have definitely picked out a couple of good hikes so far.
Angels Landing is a great hike, and you’ll see some of the best views in the park. You probably are already aware that it is steep with major drops, so I don’t recommend this to anyone with a fear of heights. Based on all of the training and adventures you do in Canada you’ll enjoy it. The National Parks Service has a great photo slideshow with a lot of information about the Angels Landing hike, if you want a sneak preview…
Another short hike I like is Lower Emerald Pools, especially on hot days. This trail takes you to some small, but beautiful waterfalls, that will be wonderful to see in May because the waterfalls will be even more dramatic.
The Narrows is spectacular, and I’m glad it made it on your list! Even without a permit, I’d recommend allocating the greater portion of a day to this hike, especially if you want to stop and take lots of pictures! Without a permit, you can start from the bottom, and the hike is about 7.2 miles, round trip. You can hike up from the end of the Gateway to the Narrows Trail (Riverside Walk) to Big Springs.
I’d recommend that you rent drypants and booties – in May, the water will likely be about 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit. When you get to Zion you can rent what you need from Zion Adventure Company. For most of the hike when you’re in the water, you’ll only be in knee deep or even less, but you’ll still want the gear.
Another hike to include on your list is Kolob Arch. It is a full day hike – 14 miles roundtrip. You’ll be able to see the 287 foot long arch curled up against what is known as Gregory Butte. If you have been to Arches National Park, then you may not find this one as stunning, however, it is still beautiful and it is a fun, challenging hike.
Lastly, in 1997 Zion implemented a shuttle bus system. From your hotel in Springdale, you’ll be able to take the town shuttle to Zion. Once in Zion, you can hop on the shuttle operated by the National Park Service (it is free!). It is actually very convenient because you’ll be able to get off where you want (ie, hike trailheads) then wait under 10 minutes for a shuttle to come by again. I really like the recorded history and facts that are broadcast while you’re on the shuttle – you’ll certainly get an earful about the park’s history, geology, wildlife and more before you hop off to go on your hikes!
Do you have a question for the Hiking Lady?