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Zion/Bryce itinerary, hiking questions

Westbrook, Maine
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Zion/Bryce itinerary, hiking questions

Hi,

My daughter (23) and I plan to be arring in Las Vegas 5pm, Oct. 6, driving to Zion that evening, then spending 2 nights in Zion before driving to Bryce in time for sunset on Oct. 8. Would it be best to hike Observation Point our first (and only full) day, or could we do it our second day before driving to Bryce? We would take the shuttle to the East Mesa Trail. I ask because I think we'll be tired on our first day to get up early and be able to enjoy it. Also, suggestions for our first full day? I was thinking Scout's Lookout and maybe Emerald Pools. Suggestion for a scenic drive either on our full day or on the way to Bryce?

Thanks!

Las Vegas, Nevada
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1. Re: Zion/Bryce itinerary, hiking questions

If you're going to hike to Observation Point via the East Mesa trail, do you plan to hike back on the East Mesa trail or down into Zion Canyon? If you just want to hike in and back on the East Mesa trail you won't need a shuttle and you could do that your second day on your way to Bryce Canyon.

Encinitas...
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2. Re: Zion/Bryce itinerary, hiking questions

Looking at my calendar and the NPS site, it looks like there is an astronomy program at Bryce on the 8th of October. You should look into that.It's not far after a new moon so should be nice and dark.

www.nps.gov/brca

The shuttles to the east mesa trail leave fairly early, or a little later if you want to do OP from the top downhill. Either 6:30 or 9:30 in peak season.If its dry, the drive in is pretty easy if you have directions, and want to do the hike out and back by yourself.If wet, forget it. Either way, if you could do it before heading to Bryce, which is two hours from Zion.

www.zionadventures.com

Or you can do the walk from the bottom of the canyon to the top. Its about 8 miles round trip and takes the average person about 6 hours.

With a full day, you could also do Scouts Lookout (or Angels Landing)in the AM then a portion of the Narrows after you come down in the PM. Hit two of the Zion classics in one day.

Edited: 30 June 2013, 06:29
Salt Lake City, Utah
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3. Re: Zion/Bryce itinerary, hiking questions

And as for your scenic drive, you'll be going through the Red Canyon area on your way to Bryce along hwy 12. Be sure to stop there for a short visit.

Westbrook, Maine
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4. Re: Zion/Bryce itinerary, hiking questions

Thanks so much, everyone!

lvziggy, it's hard to answer your question because I am just starting research on the hikes in Zion, in an effort to finalize my air/hotel itinerary. Maybe I should have phrased the question like this: We have 1 full day and then part of day till we head to Bryce; which hikes should we do, how, and in what order? The view from Observation Point looks great and it is not supposed to be as hair-raising for the height-challenged among us as Angel's Landing. That said, we like to hike a bit, but are not hardcore. So a shortcut to save time and energy would be great! I'd like to leave Zion in time to get to Bryce to enjoy the sunset (7:03PM). Do you think that's possible?

I figure we'll be tired the day we arrive (flying and driving till 10PM the night before), so will not want to get up super early. I thought we'd go to the visitors information place, maybe hike to Scout's Lookout (if possible). I think my daughter would like to do Emerald Pools, but we really know nothing, so would love to get opinions from those in-the-know.

Dez40, yes, we plan to do the astronomy talk at Bryce; that's the reason we're trying to drive to Zion the night we arrive in LAS, and only stay in Zion 2 nights. I had checked the schedule and the moon phases, as we love that kind of thing and have heard the night sky there is spectacular.

Kbecjeans, thanks! I'll note this information about Red Canyon on highway 12.

Kipling. SK
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5. Re: Zion/Bryce itinerary, hiking questions

Lower Emerald Pools is in the main canyon, and basically meanders along the canyon bottom, into a very short side canyon(poor description) Kayenta trail joins onto it and is also easy. You can effectively form a loop with the grotto trail, emerald, and kayenta trails. These trails are fairly easy, and are recommended to those of all abilities.

West rim trail up to Scouts Lookout is more strenuous because you are beginning to hike from the canyon floor upwards. From Scouts Lookout you can easily see Angel's landing spur, and decide then if you want to try some of it. From Scouts Lookout you have some nice views. An option from this point is to continue upwards to the Northwest along the West Rim trail.

East Rim trail up to OP from the canyon floor is even more strenuous than West Rim/Scouts Lookout/Angels Landing because the elevation gain is even greater, and the trail length is longer(5 hrs)

Hiking to OP from East Mesa trail is easy because it is flat, and is a good option for you. Locating the trailhead somewhat difficult, requiring you to obtain some directions beforehand. Shuttling to the trailhead, then hiking to OP, then down to the canyon floor would be recommended. But yes, the shuttles do leave in the morning, with the latest about 930 am. This seems to be consistent among the three shuttle providers.

Your other options for hiking in Zions main canyon is Parus(very easy) trail and Watchman (moderate)on the South portion of the main canyon, and Riverside Walk to the North(easy)with the option of getting your feet wet in the Virgin River/the Narrows.

On your way to Bryce is the popular Canyon Overlook Trail on SR ( just as you exit the mile long Zion tunnel)

zionnational-park.com/hiking-zion-national-p…

Westbrook, Maine
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6. Re: Zion/Bryce itinerary, hiking questions

Thanks, Widmarsh! Great info!

Redlands, California
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7. Re: Zion/Bryce itinerary, hiking questions

I think the views from Scout's Lookout are outstanding and I personally felt NO NEED to go to Angel's Landing! :-) There is also a really iconic view up the Canyon at the bridge leading to the trailhead--before crossing, turn right and go down by the river and walk a bit for the best view. The Par'us Trail sounds almost too easy to be worthwhile, but I enjoyed it--its a wider space so you get good views of the canyon walls.

Westbrook, Maine
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8. Re: Zion/Bryce itinerary, hiking questions

Thanks, vnrose! I'm saving all these posts. In the photos, the view from Scout's Lookout looks great. Glad to hear you thought so, too. Do you think we could hike to Scout's Lookout on our first day, without getting up super early - say, leave around 10AM-ish? Then maybe do Emerald Pools or other similarly easy hike) later in the same day?

Encinitas...
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9. Re: Zion/Bryce itinerary, hiking questions

You could do Scouts Lookout at that time. On the way back down the hill, you can then cut across the Kayenta Trail over to Emerald Pools, and end up at the Lodge.

Westbrook, Maine
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10. Re: Zion/Bryce itinerary, hiking questions

Perfect, dez40! Thank you so much!

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