One of the best things about working in the film industry is that there are times when I get to travel for a project. Besides filming – and photography – traveling is one of my most favorite things to do! So much so that I created a whole new instagram account just for my travel photography!
For this job I was taken to a small town at the Utah/Arizona border called Kanab, Utah. I did not know this at the time, but this town is known as the Little Hollywood of Utah because they have shot many, many films there, especially a lot of the western films from the early days of film!
And I am not going to lie, the landscape out in that area is truly stunning. It is, after all, only 30 minutes away from Zion National Park. Actually, the awesome thing about Kanab is that it seems to be centered among four national parks – Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Since I was there for work I stayed an extra day and toured Zion. [I hope to return in the future and tour the other national parks!]
So we stayed at the Comfort Suites in Kanab, Utah. Very quaint place and located not too far off the main road. There is even an awesome vegetarian restaurant across the street – Peekaboo Canyon Wood Fried Kitchen or this amazing Mexican restaurant about a mile away, Escobar’s Mexican Restaurant.
This post, though, is about the awesomeness that is Zion National Park. Now I am definitely not the first person to blog about Zion; and I certainly will not be the last to blog about it. More than anything I just want to give you my take on it.
So most national parks range anywhere from $20 to $40 for an entrance fee. Zion charges $35 per car but that lasts for one week [7 days] which is a good deal. (I only went for the day though lol.) The park though has so many trails in, which to hike as well as so many little pull outs, where you can stop your car and explore – so there seems to be no limit to where you can go. You can also camp there and explore as well.
I looked up photos of Zion before I went but nothing could prepare me for the stunning and picturesque landscape of the park. As you drive along deep canyons and ravines, you are almost blocked from the sun – and since I went in the off season of early December, it was definitely very cold in the morning. Literally every turn I took was more breath taking than the last. I found that I needed to stop frequently because I was just stunned at the beauty all around me.
So, during peak season there is a shuttle you have to reserve. I believe this is to help alleviate traffic build up on the main scenic road. It has several stops it takes you to along the road. It drops you off – and you are welcome to take as long as you want at each stop. There are many, many hiking trails, ranging from easy to moderate to more advance.
You can buy tickets for the shuttle for $1 here: Zion Shuttle Tickets
It was not peak season for me, so the shuttle was not running BUT I was told that you need to purchase them the following morning – and it is best to do it EARLY! This just guarantees your departure time for the scenic road; you are still able to take your time at each stop. After all, there is no need to rush such scenic beauty. It deserves to be relished.
I drove to the top of the drive, to the Temple of Sinawava. Not sure why it is called that as I saw no temple. But this is the Riverside Walk trail. It is about 1.5 miles and leads to the narrows. Some of it is through the water – and I did not have the right kind of shoes on – but what from I was able to see, it is equally awe-inspiring. I do plan on touring more of Zion in the future and definitely want to venture farther into the Narrows. Perhaps when it is much warmer!
The one hike I want to really try is the Canyon Overlook trail. I believe this one is a bit more rigorous – so I may not do the whole hike. BUT there is this tunnel that was built right in the middle of one of the mountains. It is 1.1 miles long and completely DARK [except for a few sporadic windows that have been etched out – where you can see that there is a MASSIVE drop.] This hike takes you to the top of the mountain and you are able to look down.
It was a bit too crowded at the time I was able to go. Mostly because I was not aware of it when I first arrived so I drove past it, intent on checking it out on my way out. Not gonna lie – I was hungry too, so was ready for some lunch.
I spend about 6 hours at the park, reflecting on life. It is truly amazing how being around such majestic mountains helps you understand your place in life – and on this earth. Nature, in some ways, is my religion, I suppose. It is when I feel the closest to God.
I recommend Zion National Park. From Los Angeles, it is only a 7 hour drive. That really is not that far – plus there are so many other National Parks – as well as state parks – close by! Definitely a good trip for the whole family!