Utah 2023 – Zion National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Still relishing our climb of Angels Landing, the next couple of days were filled with several relatively short hikes in Zion (The Watchman Trail, The Narrows Riverside Trail and the Zion Canyon Overlook Trail) before we made the long drive around Navajo Mountain, back and forth over the Utah-Arizona border, to our next base of operations in Grand Staircase-Escalante.

If you like rocks and cliffs, you cannot help but love Zion!

The summit of The Watchman overlooks the ancient remains of a desert juniper.

The Narrows is a slot canyon in Zion that hosts a trail almost as famous as Angels Landing, because it runs for several miles along – I mean, IN – the Virgin River. Unfortunately, because the river is subject to high waters when the snows above begin to melt, as was happening during our stay, it was not possible for us to make the trek this time. It is at the top of our list for our next visit to the park!

While we didn’t get the full experience of The Narrows, we did enjoy the views along the short Riverside Trail.

Some intrepid souls donned waders to go a bit further up river than we chose to go. We learned later that, despite their best efforts, they were turned around just a few hundred yards up the canyon.

Our final hike of the day was to see the sunset from the Zion Canyon Overlook.

Slot canyons are usually seen from within, but this hike allowed us to see one from above.

The following day, after several hours driving towards our next base, we stopped to stretch our legs at the southern border of the immense Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. We saw no other people for miles and miles around us, yet modestly chose to follow only one of the instructions on this trailhead sign. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Soon enough, it was time for us to check into our new accommodations: the fanciest tent I have ever slept in at Under Canvas‘ “safari-inspired” “glamping” spot near the town of Big Water, Utah.

The late afternoon light extended our shadows past the first staircase and toward the majestic Navajo Mountain in the distance, far beyond Lake Powell.

We love fine dining, but with a view like this we like nothing better than chips and salsa, grapes and beer!

Author: Chris

Until 2019, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia focused on Community Economic Development. Before that, I was a high-tech executive, small business owner, consultant and business broker.

4 thoughts on “Utah 2023 – Zion National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument”

    1. Haha, @Mark Van Doren! So true! Wait’ll you hear why we had to leave it one day early, though: when we learned they were rated to withstand winds only up to 55mph! ️

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