Angels Landing conquered, my hubby and I had most of the afternoon to fill. Wanting to see as much of Zion National Park as possible, we discussed our options for the next destination.
|Hidden Canyon trail begins|
While on Scout Lookout, I'd struck up a conversation with a man from Connecticut. A frequent park visitor, one of the hikes he'd recommended was Hidden Canyon. Although more climbing was involved, it was described as a short hike with big rewards.
|Sharp switchback (but not Walter's Wiggles!)|
Good enough for Roger and I! From Angels Landing, we took the park shuttle one stop to the Weeping Rock Trailhead, which also doubled as the starting point for Hidden Canyon.
|The higher we climbed, the better the views|
The trailhead sign noted the round-trip distance to Hidden Canyon as two miles. Perfect! My hubby and I began climbing up a steep, rough dirt path.
|The entire valley opened up|
It didn't take long for tremendous views of the Virgin River Valley to open up below.
|Remnants from yesterday's hailstorm|
After a short distance, I began to notice a white mound at the corner of a switchback. It looked like a snowdrift. Moving closer, I realized the white stuff was a pile of hailstones, remnants from yesterday's storm. Located in a shady spot, these little ice balls had been slow to melt.
|Hmm...good to eat?|
Of course, we had to get a couple of photos of this unusual sight. And, no I wasn't that hungry! (I'd have to be really desperate to eat one of those dirty hailstones.)
|The trail became narrow|
We climbed steeply, rounded a switchback and climbed some more. As time and distance wore on, it seemed to me I'd already traveled at least a mile. That canyon had to be around here somewhere!
|Lovely patterns on the rock|
But we'd round another switchback, and the trail still rose upward.
|Trees growing out of the rock!|
Finally, we topped out on a ridge. Was this it? Nooo.....the trail contoured across a narrow gully, and then traversed up the the opposite side.
|Park road and bus waayyyy down below!|
The "path" climbed up the side of a cliff face. This narrow route hugged the steep wall, with only a chain for hikers to hang onto. Oh, I didn't like the looks of that at all!
|Virgin River Valley|
I know for sure we'd traveled much farther than one mile. And by the looks of it, we still had at least another half mile to reach our destination. After climbing Angels Landing that morning, I was tired and footsore. I told Roger I'd had enough. We agreed to turn around and hike back down.
|Close up of these cool rock formations|
Although we didn't reach the famed Hidden Canyon, the fantastic views from this trail alone were worth the climb. We could see the main park road wayyy down below! The Virgin River wound in between some impressive rock formations. And the weather cooperated, keeping things dry the entire time.
Back at the trailhead sign, Roger and I both agreed it had to be wrong. We'd traveled way farther than the 2 miles that was stated.
|Dependable Zion shuttle buses|
But it was time to board another shuttle for one final destination. Chased off by the previous day's big thunderstorm we didn't get to visit the Human History Museum. Behind the museum was a stunning view of a group of sandstone formations called the Towers of the Virgin. I didn't want to leave Zion without a photo of these huge monoliths.
|The Towers of the Virgin|
Then we happily headed into the nearby town of Springdale and checked into a local motel. Knowing we'd likely need to shower and charge electronics, I'd booked us indoor accommodations for the third night.
|Another view of the Towers|
Oh it was so wonderful to be in a dry, heated indoor room! With showers! After three days without bathing, my hubby and I were both mighty ripe (Yeah...I think people on that last shuttle were giving us a wide berth) We laid out all our wet camping gear to dry and it looked like a sporting goods store had exploded in our room.
|Sunset view from our motel room|
But the best was yet to come. The back patio off our motel room had the most wonderful view of more colorful sandstone cliffs. As we sat outside, enjoying a beer, the setting sun colored these rocky pillars the most vibrant shade of red. People popped out of their rooms and stared in awe. Cameras clicked. Truly a perfect way to end our stay in Zion National Park.
Tomorrow we would bid Zion goodbye, and head to our next destination - the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.