|Subject: Zion Nat'l Park|
I agree with Mark...Zion is awesome. We were just there a few weeks ago. Flew into Vegas and drove up the next morning (talk about culture shock going from a bright, smoky & loud Vegas to a peaceful National Park!)
We stayed in Springdale, right outside the main park entrance. It's a nice small town with plenty of choices of restaurants and accommodations. Our first full day there we stocked up on trail mix & water, rented some hiking sticks and booties and hiked "The Narrows." It's a beautiful and fun hike through part of the Virgin River. Took us 5.5 hours to go a 6 mile round trip. No one fell in the water so the hike was considered a success. The next day we drove to Bryce Canyon (about 80 miles) and got to see how the rock formations change shape and color along the way. There were also some beautiful trees with leaves changing to yellow on the way up. Spent the day at Bryce and hiked the Sunrise to Sunset trails and the Queens Garden trail. The hoodoo formations were so cool and I've never seen a bluer sky.
Our third day was a little overcast & drizzly but the weather cleared enough for us to hike the Angel's Landing Trail back at Zion. This one follows lots of switchbacks but the trail is pretty wide and mostly paved (in some fashion) and it provides wonderful views of the canyon length. We bypassed the last 1/2 mile of the trail which leads to Angel's Landing. This part of the trail takes 2 hours to complete and you are basically climbing on rocks while holding on to a chain. Looked pretty challenging!
We barely touched everything this park has to offer - it is really huge! As for places to stay and eat...we only ate breakfast and dinner, eating lunch on the trails. The Spotted Dog Cafe was great for breakfast - the french toast & pancakes were the best and the fruit bowls were huge. Prices were good too, though service was a little slow. Oscar's was a nice place for dinner - their menu was mostly Mexican but with some burgers and huge desserts. They have a patio so we got to enjoy eating outside. The Pioneer Lodge was a surprise - after looking at their website during my search, I decided against staying there (the hotel just didn't look that nice in the pictures). Well, we decided to eat breakfast there one morning and it was great! The restaurant has been recently renovated, the food was good and the prices were good too. Even the hotel looks much nicer in "real life" than in the pictures. Would definately consider them next time. As it was, we chose to stay at The Bumbleberry Inn - the pictures on the website looked pretty nice and it was in our (budget) price range. Though the place was clean and ok...it left much to be desired. Squeaky floors, outdated bathroom fixtures, etc. As for Vegas - we stayed at the Westin which was great and the Tuscany Suites (recommended by another Ziner) which was also very nice - huge rooms.
Overall a very nice trip! Jennie in Atlanta