Hiya friends – Hope you all had a relaxing long weekend! This past weekend I went back to Utah but instead of going skiing we went hiking! Utah itself is a beautiful place with tons of scenic views and hikes and this was my first time going back when it wasn’t snowing. Below is our 4 day itinerary to Zion & Bryce Canyon National Park and what we did!
From Houston, the closet airport to Zion National Park is McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. You can also fly into Salt Lake if that makes more sense for you and your itinerary but it’s double the distance to Zion!
DAY 1 – Zion National Park
We reached our hotel in Hurricane the night before, which is around a 30 minute drive from the park. If you wake up early, you will be able to drive directly into the park to park near the trails. Once the lots full up, you will have to take a shuttle. There are multiple parking lots near the entrance and where the shuttle stop is, just make sure to bring cash!
We bought tickets ahead of time for the Zion Shuttle here but on our flight to Vegas we saw that they got rid of the pre-booking system right before the long weekend. I’ll still leave the link here incase they bring back the process. Since we did have tickets, this allowed us to get priority in line which was a plus! Once in the shuttle, you must wear a mask! Make sure to pack extra masks for the weekend!
Since we visited the park during a national holiday, we expected there to be a crowd but didn’t think it would be as bad as it was! We travelled with some friends who happened to have already visited Zion last year so they were able to guide us on what to do. I always recommend heading out to hikes the earliest time possible. Depending on where you are, the crowds and heat can get bad during the middle of the day and quite honestly, views are so much more peaceful to take in when when parks are peaceful.
ANGELS LANDING / WEST RIM TRAIL
By the time we got to the Angels Landing trailhead around 830ish, there was a 2.5 hour line for Angels Landing. Being as it was a long weekend, the park was limiting the number of people on the trail and I’m sure it was also a COVID precaution. We initially stood in the line for a good 45 minutes and then decided as a group to do the West Rim Trail. From what we had read and heard, the West Rim Trail had equally (or better) views than Angels Landing and the only thrilling part of Angels Landing was climbing the infamous ladder to get up to the views.
We ended up doing the West Rim Trail which is the same as Angels Landing up until it splits off. The hike is around 15.5 miles long and depending on your pace can take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours. The hike wasn’t super difficult, there were some switchbacks that I definitely needed a break walking but as long as you take your time and drink water, you will be fine! Here is the view that we decided to post up and take in the beauty!
After we got back from this trail, we grabbed some smoothies from the cafe by the visitors center and went to Zion Guru to pick up our sticks and shoes for the Narrows Hike the next day!
DAY 2 – Zion National Park
THE NARROWS – Bottom Up Trail
This trail was one of kind and you HAVE to do it! In my honest opinion, if you have limited time at Zion DO THIS TRAIL over Angels Landing. The views and the experience is unmatched. To get to the narrows trail head, you have to walk 20 minutes from the start of the trail down the beginning of the trail. You will see people starting to get into the water and that’s when you know the trail is about to start. It’s really important to wear the right shoes because it is VERY easy to slip and fall. Renting the water shoes and stick was definitely needed although not required. Make sure to rent that early to make sure you have them – sizes do run out!
The full Narrows trail is around 9 miles but depending on the level of water it can take less or more time. The highest the water got for us was our waist! Make sure to bring a map or screenshot one, because there is no service in the park. There are few milestones like “Floating Rock” and “Wall Street” to help you gauge the distance to the end. We didn’t complete the trail since towards the end you had to swim across and we also heard the waterfall at the end of the trail was underwhelming.
Bring a light jacket since the trail is shaded and the water is cold! Also make sure to bring snacks for energy! We left Zion this day and headed to Bryce Canyon Park. You can take the scenic drive through the park and the views are breathtaking! P.S. The water is toxic, don’t drink it!
DAY 3 – Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon Park is absolutely gorgeous! We did the Navajo Loop trail and started at Sunset Point. Keep in mind the parking lot is TINY and you will most probably have to park and take the shuttle in!
If you follow me on instagram, you would have seen that we didn’t get to finish this trail because it started to rain! But the trail itself was not difficult and would have taken us 1-2 hours to complete. We ended up driving back to Salt Lake that evening since we were flying out of SLC the next night!
Below are some pictures where you can see Thors Hammer!
DAY 4 – Bonneville Salt Flats
On the last day, we drove 1 hour and 45 minutes from the city to Bonneville Salt Flats. We picked our rental dresses the night before and headed to the salt flats around 9 am! I will say that if you have the time, make sure to go during sunrise or sunset. It gets HOT and once the sun comes out it reflects on the white salts and can be difficult to adjust for pictures. With that said, I’m not photographer but am super happy with the results of this photoshoot!
This is just a quick and concise overview of our 4 day itinerary to Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions at all!! Happy weekend!