Driving from West Yellowstone to Hurricane, Utah, we broke up the drive by stopping in Provo Utah for the night. We stayed at Lakeside RV Campground. Provo is a nice city and I wish I would have spent some more time there. We had planned to stay down in Hurricane for four days and hopefully make a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for a day trip, to help my grandma knockoff a bucket list item.
When we left Minnesota we were uncertain we were going to be able to go to the Grand Canyon as it was shut down. It did open when we were in Utah but due to wildfires, the North Rim was shutdown. When in Hurricane we visited Zion Twice, Bryce Canyon NP, and the Kolob Reservoir.
A few notes about Zion National Park:
- Entrance fee $35
- Established in 1919
- 146,597 acres in size
- Mountains, Canyons, Rivers, & Arches
- Best known for the Narrows & Angel’s Landing
Day 1 – Arrive & Drive-Thru Zion 06.12.2020
We arrived in Hurricane and set up our trailer at WillowWind RV Park. Such a nice place and highly recommended. Hurricane is a short thirty-minute drive to Zion and an hour drive to Bryce Canyon. After setting up the trailer we decided to head to Zion to spend the afternoon driving through the park.
The main scenic drive was limited to the number of cars per day and after talking to locals and park rangers, people were arriving as early as 3 AM to be able to access the scenic drive by car. You could walk or bike the scenic drive without any capacity limits. Since this was the case, there wasn’t much my grandmother could see, as her visits were all limited to what we could see by driving.
For those of you that don’t know, there are only a few roads that access Zion NP, the rest are done through hiking. With the scenic drive being closed there was no fee to enter the park. Once you enter road 9, you pass the scenic drive and go up and around the mountain. As you go up there are plenty of places to pull over for lookouts. As you approach the top there is a tunnel and at the time they were only allowing one-way traffic, which alternated about every twenty minutes.
Crossing the tunnel there is a parking lot for the canyon overlook trail, this is a very short trail and has great views. We continued down road 9 stopping along the way to stop and take photos and then we got to the east entrance, at that point they instructed us it was faster to turn around to get back to Hurricane so we did. Unfortunately, my grandmother didn’t get to see much of the park, but as you can see in the photos even driving through provides some amazing views, so much so she called it her favorite park we stopped at.
Day 2 – Bryce Canyon National Park 06.13.2020
On the second day in Hurricane my brother and I decided to spend the day hiking at Bryce Canyon National Park. I read thru some blogs online that going to the amphitheater in the morning and the evening would be the busiest times due to sunrise and sunset, so to aim for midday. With that in mind, we planned to drive to the end of the park and work our way back.
A few notes about Bryce Canyon National Park:
- Entrance fee $35
- Established in 1928
- 35,835 acres in size
- Not a canyon, rather a collection of amphitheaters
- Best known for the hoodoos, which were formed by frost weathering and stream erosion
The blogs were correct, as we drove in there was absolutely no parking for the amphitheater. We made our way up route 63. There are a few overlooks on the way up, Agua Canyon, Ponderosa Point, and then you get to Rainbow Point at the top which overlooks the whole canyon. There is a nice easy trail (Bristlecone Loop Trail) at the top that does have some decline/incline.
After spending a few hours near the top of the park we figured we were safe to drive back down to the Amphitheater and the bloggers were right again, there was plenty of parking to check it out. The main path that everyone takes is the sunset point lookout that turns into the Navajo Loop Trail. This trail will take you to the famous “Wall Street”. With it being COVID I was able to get a perfect shot of my brother with no one around and no photo editing.
After we finished the hike it was time to head back and relax. With sunset closer to 21:00 it didn’t make sense to stay and watch it happen.
Day 3 – Kolob Reservoir 06.14.2020
We had initially planned to visit the North Rim Grand Canyon, but it was closed due to wildfires so we decided to make this a relaxing day. Which worked well since we had planned to bike into Zion the next morning and do the “Narrows” hike. We had heard that the Reservoir was a nice place to relax and had good fishing. Although when we arrived in the late morning all the good spots were taken so we didn’t end up spending too much time there and cell service was limited or nonexistent.
The road to Kolob Reservoir enters and exits Zion National park, so on the way back we found a short hike. This didn’t lead to really anywhere and I wouldn’t plan to do this hike had I known about it. The hiking path (Hop Valley Trail) was mostly sand so my shoes filled up quickly and it was too hot to go barefoot. On the way back to the campgrounds we stopped at Southern Utah Adventure Center to set up a bike rental for tomorrow.
Day 4 – The Narrows 06.15.2020
I screwed this up, I had known about the Narrows through IG but I did not realize the amount of work it was going to take to get to, how deep the water actually was, and how slippery the rocks were. I started the day off completely wrong by renting mountain bikes when in fact I should have rented a road bike or even one of those electric bikes. The bike ride isn’t long 12km (7.5mi) and takes about thirty minutes, but when you bike with someone who never bikes it takes an hour because of the lack of shifting going uphills.
We tried to stop a few times to do some other short hikes and find some waterfalls but the shorter trails we were interested in were closed due to COVID. Once you arrive at the narrows you can wait in a long line to get walking sticks or you can just go and hope you find one along the way, which was my plan. Also super important because cell service is nonexistent, you might try to google is it safe to drink from the river, well apparently it’s not but my brother and I did it anyway, thankfully we did not get sick.
The paved path to the narrows ends of the narrows ends right before you have to cross the river. Along the riverside walking trail, there are plenty of spots to stop and swim, which I saved for the way back. The first cross is easy with shallow cold water (in June/July) and thankfully I was able to find two large sticks that worked for balance.
As you continue you get to a point where you have no choice but to walk through the river and the water gets up to chest high (I’m 1.82m/6’0” ft). I even saw people that were too short so they had to swim and of course, they had backpacks that got soaked. Having something to protect your electronics is critically important (Another thing I didn’t look at beforehand, but I do always carry one).
This was easily my favorite and most challenging hike (due to lack of preparedness and lack of time). The path twists and winds through the canyon, at certain points you can walk on land, balance on rocks, shallow water with slippery rocks, and even swim. We made it to the fork and had to turnaround to return the bikes, another mistake I should have just said we would return them in the morning.
Ultimately this was a great hike and bike ride. I had an amazing time and I need to do this again to complete it. If you’ve done the narrow hike, tell me about your experience in the comments.