When we began this journey there was one particular part of the United States that I was super excited about seeing – southern Utah! National Parks galore and some of the most scenic ones to boot! There are very dark skies too which appealed to me since I love doing astrophotography.
Well, after five months on the road we have made it. We’ve been boondocking between La Verkin and Virgin Utah on some BLM land. We’re giving our solar setup a workout to see if it can meet our off grid energy needs (it can). We knew the area was special just arriving at our camping location! It’s beautiful!
The main attraction this stay is Zion National Park. It’s just 20 miles down the road from us. We decided to scout it out one afternoon so we could plan out a full day there. Man did we make a mistake going late afternoon!! They are doing roadwork right outside the park and had the street down to one lane. A twenty minute drive turned into an hour and a half! Keep in mind this is the “slow” season for Zion. It was still crazy.
We eventually made it in and couldn’t find a place to park. We really just wanted to drive and scope everything out anyway so it kind of worked out. We drove the only road available to private vehicles. The views were amazing!!! The only thing taking away from our enjoyment were the crowds. Now, crowds alone
do not always bother me. But rude people in said crowds get to me almost immediately. They usually are only about themselves and get in the way of pictures (they see me shooting), don’t wait their turns when going through narrow trails, etc.. We didn’t walk many long trails this trip out but still encountered our share of rude folks.
We had also been tipped off from some of our followers on Facebook that if you want to take the free shuttle they provide in the park, get there super early! We took that advice and planned to be there around 7am one morning. We missed that by 30 minutes (slept through the alarm) but still got a parking spot at the visitors center and the line for the shuttles was fairly small. We only had to wait for the third shuttle. Thank you for that great advice because when we went to eat lunch around 1:00pm the line for the shuttle was insane! It was likely a good 1-2 hour wait by that point. Follow that same advice and get there early!!
We had planned to go as far north in the canyon as the shuttles go and work our way south. We ended up walking some trails in several locations and thoroughly enjoyed the views! Again though, there are a LOT of tight squeeze areas on the many of the trails that require one side to wait for the other to go through. Misty and I default to being nice and letting others come first. Unfortunately we had to stop doing that as folks would just keep coming and not let us pass. Frustrating!
I’m really, really glad we went in the off season to avoid the really large crowds but it was still almost too much for us. I worry what Yosemite and Yellowstone will be like as we’ll be there during peak season. 🙁
None of this takes away from the sheer beauty of the park though! It can’t help it’s popularity and the rude people. As such we still rate it a “five” and a must see!
Meandering Life Rating: [usr 5]