Spring Break at Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks

I feel like I’m in elementary school again when asked where I went on vacation. My family and I continued our tour of national parks a couple of weeks ago. Spring break at Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks was on the agenda and they did not disappoint.

Bryce Canyon National Park

First up was Bryce Canyon National Park. We decided to fly into Las Vegas because it’s easier to get flights to Vegas than to Salt Lake City. The park was about a 4 hour drive from there. What I didn’t realize was that there was a time difference from Vegas to Bryce so we ended up arriving a little later than planned so we opted for no hikes that day. (Vegas is Pacific standard time while Bryce was Mountain standard time.)

I found a wonderful place to stay called the Stone Canyon Inn. The view from here were incredible and the price was very reasonable for all the space with this cabin. (The hot tub on the deck was a nice perk too!) This time of year is not peak season so there were not a lot of places to eat. The restaurant at the Stone Canyon Inn is superb so that was helpful.

Hoodos in Bryce

On our first full day we made it a priority to see the hoodoos. Bryce has the largest collection of hoodoos anywhere in the world. The hike we chose to see them was called the Navajo trail. It’s kinda steep but well worth the effort to see these amazing stone structures in all their glory. My younger son was just getting over being sick and wasn’t enthused about doing another hike after this one. I do recommend doing the Peek-A-Boo Loop trail (more strenuous) to see more of what Bryce has to offer.

The Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park

The manager of the inn recommended a couple of hikes that were easier and less trafficked so we definitely took advantage of this. The Mossy Cave Trail and the Red Canyon Arches Trail (see collage below) also had amazing views. I highly recommend these if you don’t want to be hiking all day but want to experience the splendor of Bryce. They both are on the outskirts of the area.

Red Canyon Arches Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park

Telescope Tour with the Dark Rangers

Bryce Canyon in located in one of the least lit areas in the country.  Light pollution is hard to get away from so we took advantage of checking out the stars while we were there. This Dark Rangers tour is so worth it! Kevin, our tour guide and astronomy buff, gave us up close looks at several stars and planets with the use of huge telescopes.  Loved the up close view of the moon which is shown on pic below. We even got to see the Space Station travel by.  Kevin was a wealth of information and Michael and Evan (my older one) were totally geeked out. You realize how powerful God is when you learn how big and vast our universe is.

View of moon on the Dark Rangers Telescope Tour

 Majestic Zion National Park

When we drove into this park, we were in complete awe. What makes Zion so special is it’s colorful cliffs that have been created by centuries of erosion from the Virgin River. For this part of the trip, I chose for us to stay at the Cliffrose Lodge and Gardens which is located close to the Visitor’s Center in Zion. This was extremely helpful because you could only access the trials through their shuttle system. One word of warning; Zion is extremely busy so plan on waiting in line for the shuttle. I was completely shocked between the difference of traffic between the two parks.  Plan on being patient here. I can only imagine how busy it is in the summer!

The Narrows in Zion

This is the trail to experience if you check out Zion.  It is difficult, long, and strenuous but it is a must-see. The whole hike is done in the Virgin River so you need to rent gear to keep you dry. This was easy to do because Zion Outfitter is right next to the Visitor Center. There is a 2 mile paved trail leading up to the entrance of the Narrows. The good thing about this hike is that you can do as much as you want and then turn back so no pressure on doing the entire 16 mile trek.

The Narrows at Zion National Park

All I can say about this hike is that the views of the cliffs are spectacular! It has walls a thousand feet tall and the river sometimes is just twenty to thirty feet wide. As you can see from these pics, I am not kidding. It was very cold when we started out in the morning so layers were key underneath our gear. The bummer was that each of us (except the hubby) slipped a couple of times so our hands got wet and very cold which made it hard to hike for a long period of time. Find a way to get waterproof gloves if you can, especially if you go in the early spring like we did.  Another tip: Go early! Everybody wants to do this hike so the earlier the go, the less people you will encounter.

Family Pics of the Narrows Hike in Zion National Park

We did a couple of other trails in this park but we didn’t get to do the two other big ones – Angel’s Landing and Observation Point. Both extremely hard but with breathtaking views. The kiddos had enough after the Narrows, so we stayed away.

All in all, it was an incredible experience to see these beautiful parks. Can’t wait to see where we go next. My vote is Yosemite or Glacier but we’ll have to wait and see what works best for the family moving forward. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Linking up with Posh Classy Mom, Curly Craft Mom, and Jersey Girl Texan Heart.