This is the second of three days spent in Southwest Utah. The level of riff-raff in Zion is higher than I expected for this time of year.
The drive from Hurricane to the Zion visitor center was uneventful.
At the South/Springdale entrance we had a 10 minute wait ~8am with only one of the windows running. I purchased an $80 annual pass, as Zion is $25 and Bryce (next day) is another $25, plus I will probably end up in Rocky Mountain NP some time this summer - $20 - and Canyonlands in the fall - $10.
Point forecast for visitor center: Zion NP & Zion Canyon UT
Got a close-in spot at the visitor center, filled up our water, and got on the shuttle for the 7th stop: Weeping Rock. Everyone on the shuttle except for us got off at the 6th stop, The Grotto, for what I am assuming was their attempt at Angels Landing. Great! Less people to be noisy; ah, the joys of shared resources.
Point forecast for peak: 5 Miles NNE Zion NP & Zion Canyon UT
USGS 2014 quadrature: UT_Temple_of_Sinawava_20140227_TM_geo.pdf
Full disclosure, my dad suggested Observation Point as an alternative to Angels Landing, and I am quite glad he did.
8+1.5 miles/2100+600ft RT in ~4 hours
After lunch we figured we should spend some more time in the park. I wanted to see what The Narrows is all about. Took the shuttle to the last/farthest North stop, Temple of Sinawava, and braved the crowds. Well probably not as crowded as peak season, but my dad and I were fast walking, which meant dodging strollers, land-waddlers, riff-raff, etc.
Spent an hour on that. I am pretty sure I do not need to do The Narrows; walking in a cold-water canyon seeing much of the same. Nah.
Coming South, we stopped at The Grotto shuttle stop and took the Kayenta Trail in; less riff-raff that way. First hit the middle, then upper, and finally lower. None were particularly emerald in color. The upper was actually brown.
Spent 1.5 hours on that. Meh. Spoiled after the grand Observation Point experience.
North view up the canyon before crossing over to Zion Lodge shuttle stop.
The drive from the visitor center to Bryce View Lodge had plenty of high-alpine grasslands to look at once into Garfield county. Uneventful? Fortunately we only had a 10 minute wait to get through the Mount Carmel Tunnel ~4pm.
Another solid Yelp find: Cafe Adobe. Even though it is the only place for miles around that serves more than burgers and steak, I would probably stop off even if there were other options. The chile relleno and tamale I ordered were on point. The service was perfect. Stopped in ~5pm and left a bit before 6pm. Right along the way in Hatch. No beer; not sure if the Mormon temple across the street has anything to do with this? Chocolate shake was good.
Bryce View Lodge is probably the cheapest non-camping option as close to the Bryce Canyon park entrance as you are going to get. Nothing spectacular, but nothing terrible. For us just a place to shower and hang-out until going to sleep.