One Day in Zion National Park


On the front-end of our Havasu Falls hiking trip, Mike and I flew into Las Vegas and stayed at the Hard Rock Casino & Resort.

We had one full unplanned day to do whatever we wanted before heading into the canyon on our 3-day hike.  I did some digging online and realized that Zion National Park was only a ~3-3.5 hour drive from Las Vegas.  Zion has been on our bucket-list for a while now … We knew that having a few hours to explore the park was not nearly enough to truly take it all in… but we decided to go for it and it was well worth it!

The scenery along the drive into the park (before you even reach the paid entrance) is jaw-dropping. We could not wrap our minds around the towering red-clay colored cliffs on both sides of our car as we cruised into the little, quaint town of Springdale.
Parking costs a mere $30/car and allows you access into the park for 7-days. The parking lots fill up early especially during peak season months and as mentioned below, the shuttle line also grows quite long , very fast.  My best tip is to get there as early as you can and jump in  the shuttle line ASAP.

With very limited time to spend in this natural paradise, we didn’t waste any time once we (finally) got on the Zion park shuttle ( free once you are in the park – but warning if you don’t get there early, you will wait for an hour + ), and decided on the Lower & Upper Emerald Pools hike. This was one of the shorter, yet more intriguing hike options we saw. The park guide lists out all of the trail options, from easy to moderate to hard and notes the distance + average time it takes to hike that trail. This allows you to map out your day before you even get started.

** If we had a full day or more, we would have LOVED to hike Angels Landing (from what we heard from fellow hikers, this was one of the scarier hikes especially when the trail gets crowded so go early (!!). **

Alright… Now I will let the pictures do the talking….

Views while driving through the town of Springdale
Lower Emerald Pools


After a non-stop morning and afternoon of hiking around Zion in the 80+ degree dry Utah heat, we were both starving and ready to chow down on a big ole Tex-mex meal, which we found at Oscars Cafe. Mm mmm, nothing like some specialty fish tacos of the day and a heaping serving of chicken enchiladas to finish off our day at the National Park.   ** Tip: Try a slice of the carrott cake. It is homemade by the grandma of the restaurant owner! 

Now with stuffed & happy bellies, we were off on our 4.5 – 6 hour road trip to Seligman, Arizona… Just in time to catch the most perfect sunset as we drove down a two-lane, desert road with the red-orange canyons in the horizon and shifting into the night time sky filled with thousands of stars above our heads!

You can find more information regarding our (very short) stay in Seligman, AZ on my Havasu Falls hiking trip post. Seligman was merely our meeting point for our  hiking guide but besides that, I would not write home about the town.

The 6-hour road trip views however….. they were something else!