We are big fans of road trips. Utah road trips are the easiest thing to make happen with our friends who have real jobs and only can make trips work for the weekend. The weekend of New Year’s, we really didn’t want to be in town for the holiday (ok, mostly Lindsey) and so we planned a fun getaway to Zion National Park!
We got up early Saturday morning and left Salt Lake around 6am! After a few stops to pick up friends, buy some donuts and caffeine, we were well on our way. With the help of a good playlist, the drive didn’t seem too bad. We rolled into Springdale, Utah around lunchtime.
For lunch we chose Oscar’s Café, a local favorite near Zion. You MUST try the Murder Burger, the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, and definitely the sweet potato fries. (Lindsey recommends pairing it with a nice diet coke, on the rocks.)
Since it’s winter, we didn’t have too much sunlight to do an extra long hike. Also, we had high hopes to hike Angel’s Landing…turns out you can’t hike it without ice picks (apparently they’re called crampons- who knew?) on your shoes, so we opted for a more Nike friendly hike. Side Note– These are our favorite hiking/workout Nikes, unless you’re hiking Everest or something. We can’t help you there.
We started with a drive all they way up the Mount Carmel Highway. It was a super foggy day so we obviously started playing some Hans Zimmer and created our own soundtrack music. We drove all the way to the Checkerboard Mesa and turned around there and headed back down. We wanted to have enough time to do a small hike.
The hike we chose to do was the Canyon Overlook Trail off the Mount Carmel Highway. It took us about 2 hours because we stopped every 30 seconds to take a photo. It was SO beautiful and Kelsey only fell on the ice ONCE. This was a fairly moderate hike; the only hard parts were trying not to fall on our face during the slippery parts (good for your core!). It would have been a lot better if we remembered to put on our favorite snow boots. We are guessing in the summer, the hike would be super easy and family friendly.
There’s a really fun cave half-way up the hike that we stopped at for a good 20 minutes and tried getting group band photos for our upcoming album…. and by upcoming album, I mean a like-worthy Instagram.
By the end of our hike we lost most of our light so we went back to our hotel to get ready for our big New Years Eve plans of trying to stay awake until Midnight. Lucky for us we did find a firework show put on the city of Springdale at the local Community Center. The firework show was at 7pm and lasted 15 whole minutes, but we are glad we went!
For dinner we struggled to find an open restaurant that wasn’t completely booked out for the night but we finally settled with Wildcat Willies. We’ll be honest, wasn’t our favorite and it was sort of pricey, but if you do end up there, we recommend the Ribeye Steak. Word on the street is the Pie next door at the gift shop/ bakery is excellent. Unfortunately, it was closed so we settled with our Oreos at the hotel while we rang in the New Year.
The next morning we woke up and had some continental breakfast at our hotel. We stayed at the La Quinta and it was great! It was a Sunday, so we went to church and then planned another walkabout in Zion.
We walked Emerald Pools trail and we were able to see the lower, middle, and upper pools. It was beautiful, but slightly muddy and maybe not as Nike friendly as we anticipated. After that we went to Weeping Rock. FUN FACT did you know that the water coming out of weeping rock has been seeping through the rocks for HUNDREDS OF YEARS?!
All in all, we love Zion and we are excited to experience it more throughout the year.
Just so you know, we were sold on a National Parks Annual pass during this trip when we realized it was only $50 more for EVERY NATIONAL PARK IN THE COUNTRY. We couldn’t lose money on this! Be prepared for lots more in the National Parks this year.
Have you been to Zion? Where do we need to hike this summer? Share your favorites in the comments below!