Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Landscape Arch

Where: Arches National Park
Trail: Landscape Arch
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.6 miles round trip
Adventure Rating: 2 Stars
Pets: no

Even though the adventure rating is only a 2, it's still an awesome hike with a great view. The day we went, it was crazy windy at Arches NP. It was especially windy in the beginning part of the trail, where you walk through all narrow "hallway" of rock. Once we were out of that, the wind settled down considerably. It was an easy hike starting at the Devil's Garden Trailhead. The trail is well marked and easy to navigate with some uphill areas, but nothing too strenuous.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Zion National Park

Where: Zion National Park
Trail: Emerald Pools Trails to the Kayenta Trail
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 2.6 miles
Adventure Rating: 4 Stars
Pets: no

We took the shuttle from the Visitor Center to the Zion Lodge. Across the from the lodge, we crossed the bridge over the Virgin River and began the Lower Emerald Pool Trail. The Lower Pool was my favorite. The brilliant green of the foliage and the light green of the pools was beautiful.

We continued on up the steep trail (there are many steps carved in the rock) to the Middle Pool, which was very small. It's chained off because it's very dangerous. Foolish people have crossed the chain and stood in the pool, which is very slick, and slipped and slid over the edge, plummeting to the lower pool and their death. There is no swimming in the pools for very good reason.

After yet another steep climb and a bit of rock scrambling, we made it to the Upper Pool. When it's not crowded, it's a great place to sit and relax from the hike. Stop a moment and just listen to nature.

We hiked back down the upper trail and then took the Kayenta Trail. The trail has moderate drop-offs, but overall is less strenuous than the pools trails. There is a more gradual decline down the mountain. It offers spectacular views of the Court of the Patriarchs and the other surrounding peaks.