Zion NP, Part Two and Virgin River Canyon

The weather has not cooperated with us the last few days.  After our amazing snowshoeing and snow hiking adventures, we settled in for two solid days of rain.  We worked on videos and blog posts, watched YouTube videos, read, internet searched, trip planned, etc. since we weren’t able to get out.  We did take a drive one day, thinking that the rain had let up, but it was only temporary.  We were able to see Checkerboard Mesa in the snow and get out and walk around for a bit, but that was about it.  The rain started up again and we headed back inside.

The View from Garden Wall, Behind the Waterfall

On our last day in Zion, though, the sun and blue skies were back and we made the most of it.  The shuttles had started running by this point in our stay, so the first thing we did was head to the shuttles and into Zion Canyon.  We went straight to Garden Wall since that was closed the last time we were here due to a rock slide.  There was a great waterfall here and a really cool view down the canyon, but the hanging garden on the wall hadn’t greened up for the season much yet.

Jeff at Court of the Patriarchs

We debated continuing up the canyon from here and going back to the Riverside Walk, but decided that since we did some of that when we drove in a few days before, we would go down canyon instead, and stop at Zion Lodge.  In 2020, the lobby area of the lodge was closed to anyone not staying there, so we wandered in and looked around, then hit the trails across the road and hiked to Court of the Patriarchs on the Sand Bench Trail.  This was Heather’s favorite spot in the canyon on our last trip, and it was as spectacular as she remembered.  There is just something magical about standing below and looking up at that massive series of sandstone cliffs!

View of the Canyon from Watchman Trail

Once we were finished at the Court of the Patriarchs, we hopped back on the shuttle and headed back to the Bigfoot for lunch before embarking on our final hike for this visit to Zion, on the Watchman Trail.  This trail is a lot of uphill to a really nice overlook of the lower canyon, visitor center/campground area, and Sprindale, UT.  We love when we can hike right from the campground!

We had hoped to put the bikes to good use on this visit and ride them into the canyon, but the weather thwarted our plans this time.  The two days of rain meant some of our plans for the visit had to be postponed until the next trip, and the bikes got the cut.  That just gives us a reason to come back again!

After leaving Zion we traveled to Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area.  This is a beautiful spot with a nice campground and some trails.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to explore the area much.  The day we arrived was gorgeous, at sunny and 73!  We were so excited about the prospects for the next couple of days, until we checked the weather that night and saw that the next two days (the amount of time we would be there) was nothing but rain!  Luckily, the day we arrived, we walked around a bit and enjoyed the Joshua Trees that surrounded the area and were in bloom!  We had never seen Joshua Trees before, so this was a treat!  Those blooms are gorgeous and smelled so sweet and fresh.  The next morning, the rain held off for a little while, so we also did a small bit of hiking and looking around close to the campground.  Once the rain started we took shelter inside for most of the rest of our stay.  After one of the rain showers, we managed to get out for a few minutes and the smell of the Joshua Tree blooms had permeated the air.  The amazing smell was almost worth the hours of rain!  We were sad to not be able to enjoy the area as much as we wanted, but you can’t control the weather and it was time for us to move on.

Until next time!

2 thoughts on “Zion NP, Part Two and Virgin River Canyon”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *