SW National Parks Trip: More of Zion

In my last post, we left off having lunch on the patio of the Zion Lodge…

After we ate, we took some photos of the Zion Lodge.  The original lodge was built in 1924 with milled lumber and stonework.  It was intended to provide a rustic lodge look without being over the top in grandeur and overpowering the landscape.  At the time, there were still several settlers with homes on the canyon floor.  Several cabins were added in 1927, and 1929, and employee dormitories were built in the complex between 1929 and 1937.  Unfortunately the original lodge burned in 1966 – a replacement was built immediately, but wasn’t remodeled to look like the original building until 1990.  The cabins and dormitories are the originals.

Zion Lodge – A Very Happenin’ Place

Zion Lodge – A Very Happenin’ Place

We still wanted to do a little more hiking so we checked out the Emerald Pools Trail next. There are 3 Emerald Pools – the first one is 0.6 miles out for a round trip of 1.2 miles.  There is a footbridge that crosses over the Virgin River at the trail head, and a paved trail.  There are some hills on this trail, but nothing too strenuous. We got to the pool and I promptly renamed it the Emerald Mud Puddle.  I was not impressed – it was not the right time of the year to see this beauty in its full glory.  But that’s ok, because coming from Washington, we have lots of spectacular waterfalls and pools at home.

On our way out to the Emerald Pools

On our way out to the Emerald Pools

One of the sandstone peaks on the way out to the Emerald Pools

One of the sandstone peaks on the way out to the Emerald Pools

Looking down at the first Emerald Pool. Impressive? Eh…

Looking down at the first Emerald Pool. Impressive? Eh…

We didn’t go up to the second or third pool because we had already hiked about 6 miles at that point, but I was surprised to learn that more people have actually died falling from the Emerald Pools Trail than at Angels Landing.  I guess you can’t let your guard down anywhere at Zion – who would have thought?

Once we got back from the mud puddle – er… pool – we got on the shuttle back to the Visitor’s Center, got our car, and headed over to the Kolob Canyons section of the park. This section is more wooded and not as visually dramatic as the main tourist section. As a result it was much quieter and less traveled. It does have the tallest mountain in the park though – Horse Ranch Mountain at an elevation of 8,726 feet. One of the guidebooks I read before the trip suggested a hike called the Taylor Creek Trail that leads you past two settler’s cabins from the 1930s. If we were doing another day in the park, we certainly would have checked out that trail. It is about 4 miles, and looked like a nice, moderately difficult hike.

Kolob Canyon as the Sun gets Lower

Kolob Canyon as the Sun gets Lower

On our drive through Kolob Canyons, we even saw a wild turkey!  She was just off the side of the road, but she was a little shy when I rolled down the window to get some photos, so the photo below was the best we could do.  Kolob Canyons has a Visitor’s Center, but we got over there after it had closed for the day, so I don’t know if it has its own National Parks Passport stamp.  I bet it does; they usually do.  That just means I’ll have to come back!  All in all, it was a fantastic day at Zion.  We had perfect weather – the high was in the mid-60s, so it wasn’t too hot when we were hiking in the sun.  I hated to leave.

Turkey! Sorry it’s a little blurry…

Turkey! Sorry it’s a little blurry…

Our last bit of the day was spent traveling up to Cedar City (we stayed there instead of Springdale to get a jump on the next day’s driving) and we made our way to the next Super 8 of the trip. When we checked in, we discovered that there was a smoke detector in the room next door chirping – what is it with Super 8’s and smoke detectors? I probably don’t want to know. We had a few errands to run, so the clerk at the front desk told us that he would either fix it before we got back, or move us to another room.

Then off we went to the only electronics store in town, Walmart, to see if we could get a new cord for our GPS, since ours was no longer charging the device. Kenny didn’t have a Garmin cord, but he was able to find us a universal adapter that fit into the Garmin’s mini USB port. It worked! And we were back in navigational business.

Jon didn’t feel like eating dinner out, so we got deli sandwiches, snacks and fruit, and went looking for some beer and wine.  This is when we discovered a quirk that we didn’t know about Utah and alcohol. Apparently, Utah does not permit sales of alcohol with higher than a 3.2% alcohol by weight in grocery stores or on taps in bars.  Apparently you also have to order food at the same time as you order alcohol in a bar or restaurant.

For those of us that live in states where alcohol is primarily measured as alcohol by volume, 3.2% alcohol by weight is equivalent to 4.0% alcohol by volume. Jon was craving a stout beer that night, but instead left empty handed because he was disappointed by the less than robust selection. There wasn’t a bottle of wine to be seen in the grocery store – you have to purchase wine at the liquor store, which of course was already closed.  So we struck out…

When we got back, our hotel clerk had successfully fixed the chirping smoke detector, so we were able to eat our dinner in peace and watch a bit of TV.  Then it was off to bed for a good night’s sleep and another early morning wake up.

We were headed to Canyonlands the next day!



2 thoughts on “SW National Parks Trip: More of Zion

    • I know! Coming from WA, it was quite a change. We did find that the Moab Brewery seems to skirt the rules by serving their stout beer in a bottle, rather than having it on tap.

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