Do you enjoy hiking? Do you like gorgeous views of the wildlife and natural beauties that mother Earth has to offer? Perhaps you desire those beautiful perfect pictures that you can only take in the wild? If so, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and Antelope Canyon are calling your name!
With a group of friends I headed to the Canyons trip for 4th of July weekend. It probably wasn’t the best time, considering it was over 100 degrees out. But other than that, the weather conditions were great.
Day 1. Zion National Park, Utah.
This park offers numerous trails varying in length and at all hiking skill levels. We picked the most challenging and most famous – the Angel Landing Trailhead. I have to warn you; don’t even think of this trail if you are afraid of heights or if you are out of shape. Angel’s Landing hike is one of the most dangerous hikes in the U.S.A. The last half mile is nerve-racking; with 1000 ft drop-offs and narrow paths. You need to be sure of your footing and hang on to the chains through the exposed slippery parts.
I am in decent shape and love hiking, but this trail was certainly one of the hardest I’ve ever explored. The combination of heights, very steep claiming, hot weather (it was 112F!), and long distances made it quite physically challenging. Round trip took us about 5 hours. I was not even sure if I could make it all the way to the top, but it was the majestic views of Zion that kept me going. The sense of accomplishment and phenomenal views after accomplishing this hike are what make this hike worth it.
After Angel Landing we also hiked the Emerald Pools. It was an easy and pleasant few mile hike.
Day 2. Bryce Canyon, Utah.
With a variety of options, we customized our hike starting with the partial Scenic Rim Trail. This route gives you a chance to see the canyon from the very low ground up to the top. Considering it was the pawn trail, the walking was easy and we had a chance to enjoy plenty of viewpoints. The temperature didn’t drop from Below 100F throughout out exploration of the Canyon. I can most definitely say that although it was easy, it was the splendid views that kept us occupied along the entire trail.
Day 3. Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona.
This is definitely one piece of nature you don’t want to miss. The Canyon is by far the best scenic view; with the natural combination of the suns lighting reflecting off the rocks creating mesmerizing and vibrant colors will stick with you forever. You just have to experience this wonder yourself. A little disappointment is that you cannot drive or hike there on your own; you must book a tour because the land belongs to a Native American tribe and is not open to the public, unless guided by them. The tours are very reasonably priced- about $20 per person; which includes the admission, the ride (the slot canyon is located in the desert), and the narration. Because we visited it during a National Holiday, it was very crowded. We had to be very fast in taking pictures without random strangers’ faces in it; which I’m sure is something none of us enjoy.
All three destinations were spectacular and certainly worth the effort to see in person. Make sure to have plenty of water with you and some snacks (safety first!). Oh, and don’t forget to charge your camera because you will want to capture!