Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Zion National Park: a great overnight getaway from Vegas

If you live in Las Vegas or are visiting and want to get away for a overnight trip, take a ride up to Zion National Park in Utah. I’ve done it many times as a day trip, but if you’re a hiker, you’ll want to stay the night so you can get two days of hiking in, like Mike and I just did.

We left my place on Sunday morning around 10:15 and were back at my place at 10:35 because I forgot my cute little L.L. Bean hiking backpack. Good thing because I also left the coffee maker on. (Damn that cheap Mr. Coffee piece of crap that doesn’t even turn itself off.) Even with that false start and a quick stop for gas and bottled water in Mesquite, we arrived in Springdale, Utah at 2:15. Utah is on Mountain time so we lost an hour; without the false start and the stop in Mesquite, you can make it in two and a half hours.

Springdale is a cute little town right next to Zion, with lots of cute little shops and restaurants. (Am I in a cute little mood or what?) If you go want to stay the night, I highly recommend the Desert Pearl Inn.

I’ve stayed there before, and this is a place that actually does look like their website. (Remember our stay at the Cottonwood Resort in Scottsdale last year?) Their 500 sq. ft. rooms are sparkling clean and tastefully decorated.

This is the first time we opted for a river view instead of the pool view, and the extra twenty bucks was totally worth it. Our front door was literally 15 feet from the Virgin River.

Our private patio got the morning sun, and it was utterly delightful to sit there Monday morning and sip the Starbucks I purchased from the café/gift shop on the property and totally not be at work.

The weather couldn’t have been better for hiking. Sunday we did just a short 3-mile hike to the upper Emerald Pool area of the park.

We met a nice Mormon family and walked back down with them, and though I was quite sure that we should have taken a left onto the sandy path, Mike said, “Oh, no—remember that bench?” and we ended up taking a trail that led to where the Mormon family’s car was parked. Ours, however, was a mile back in the other direction. OMG, I love it when I’m right, even if I have to walk an extra mile.

On Monday, we decided to do a kick-ass hike up to Angel’s Landing. It’s a 2.5 climb that I did several times when B.H. and I lived in Utah, but never this time of year. I’ve always passed on the last .5 mile (hanging onto chains for dear life is a little too treacherous for me); instead we went about another mile up the West Rim trail. OMG, with all the snow it was beautiful!

The switchbacks on the way up were pretty slippery, and even more so on the way down. The good news is, I fell on my ass only once. This is a bit of the dry part--look at that freakin' path!

Zion is gorgeous any time of year, the Desert Pearl is a great place to stay, and we ate well, too—The Spotted Dog for dinner Sunday night, breakfast on Monday at Oscars (always fantastic food), and dinner at Zion Pizza and Noodle Co.

Oh, it was so wonderful to get away, even just for an overnight. There’s nothing as good for the soul as a road trip!


Josie said...

Such beautiful scenery, but a treacherous trail! Listen to Auntie Josie and stay by the pool. That's where you can get alcoholic drinks!

Anonymous said...

It looks so beautiful there. Now that's something I would like to do!

Anonymous said...

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Julie D said...

Snow...and a tank top. Only you, my dear! Looks like a great time!

Donna B. said...

I have tried to get my honey to Zion several times. First off, he is not a camper or a hiker. His idea of "roughing it" is a motel without a bar. He would NEVER do those trails, he does not do heights, either. Glad you and Mike had time away with one another.

K A B L O O E Y said...

I'm jealous! Even with that vertiginous view, it looks like a blast. I was only in Zion and Bryce for a too speedy single day ONCE and I've always wanted to go back and stay. And I didn't even know you could get Starbucks there.

CarmenSinCity said...

I love Zion! It's beautiful there. I might have to ask boyfriend if he wants to drive out there soon. What's new sweety?? We have to get together soon!!

gayle said...

Beautiful!! I have to see this in person!!