Zion National Park: Pa’Rus Trail

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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On our last day in Zion, we spent the morning hiking the strenuous trail to Angel’s Landing (you can see my post about that hike here and here.) We were exhausted from that hike, but still wanted to see more of this beautiful park. After lunch, we rode the shuttle to the Visitor Center and spoke to a ranger about our options.

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He suggested the easy and level Pa’Rus trail. It is 1.8 miles from the Visitor Center and is mostly paved or hard-pack. It was designed to ease congestion during the busy months…it provides a way for hikers and bicyclists to get from the Visitor Center to the car-free section of the park road.

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It winds through campgrounds at first and then by the Virgin River. There are several river access points along the way if you want to get right down by the river.

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Pa’Rus is a Paiute word that means tumbling water. The water was really high and fast during our visit, so high the National Park Service had to shut down The Narrows, a hike further upstream. Part of that hike must be hiked in the river.

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The trail crosses back and forth across the river as you travel north via rustic bridges.

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As you near the end of this trail, you must look downstream for the iconic view of the Watchman towering over the river. The trail ends close to another shuttle stop, which we hopped on back to the lodge.

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For being an easy trail, I was surprised by how peaceful it was. We only encountered a few cyclists and pedestrians along the way.

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Location: Hurricane, UT 84737

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 2017

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Zion National Park: Angel’s Landing

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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So in my previous post on Scout Lookout, we established that there was no way I was climbing the narrow ridge to Angel’s Landing. My husband however, was determined to do it and my teen was on the fence. So we began the two-mile ascent to Scout Lookout at 8 AM.

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While this section of the hike has a nice wide path that is paved for a good part of the way, the elevation gain makes it a tough climb. We\ had to take frequent breaks to catch our breath and enjoy the beautiful the view.

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By the time we reached Scout Lookout and the base of the Angel’s Landing stretch, it was almost 9:30 AM and it was getting pretty crowded. To get to Angel’s landing, you must climb up a pile of rocks to a narrow ridge. Then, holding onto chains bolted into the rocks, you cross the spine of rock, with sheer cliffs on either side, to the landing on the opposite peak. There are several signs at the base warning people of the hazards.

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My husband and teen got in line to ascend to the ridge. My teen quickly turned around and decided to wait at Scout Lookout with me once she’d seen the ridge and realized that everyone had to use the same chain…going up or down.

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With so many people on the trail, it was more than a little chaotic and scary. It took my husband over an hour to come back because of having to wait for people to come up before going down. But he made it to the top and snapped a couple of pics along the way.

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Location: Springdale, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 11, 2017

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Zion National Park: Scout Lookout

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Being that Angel’s Landing is one of North America’s iconic hikes, my husband insisted on including it in our itinerary when visiting Zion National Park. Now while I have no fear of going to the rooftop of the city’s tallest building or gazing down on the countryside from an airplane or even a tall Ferris wheel,  put me on a ledge with a yawning abyss on either side of me and I will be completely paralyzed. So I knew going in that Angel’s Landing was not for me.

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Thankfully, I did my research and realized that I could enjoy most of the journey without the mind-numbing, cliff-terror part. I could hike up the first two miles to Scout Lookout and then chill.

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We started the hike at 8 AM on our third day in the park. After a brief pleasant flat stretch along the river, we began to ascend.

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We had to take frequent breaks to catch our breath and take pictures. The higher up we got, the more beautiful the view.

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After some long switchbacks that took us along the Western Rim of the main canyon, the trail turned in to a more shaded canyon. It was amazing to see the trees growing out of seemingly bare rock.

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Then we arrived at the base of the tight switchbacks called Walters Wiggles, named for the first superintendent of Zion. These 21 curves, carved into a nearly vertical cliff, are the last hurdle before reaching Scout Lookout.

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Scout Lookout is a large open area with gorgeous views and plenty of places to rest. My daughter and I relaxed, had snacks and took some photos while we waited.

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Zion Posts:

Location: Springdale, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 11, 2017

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Zion National Park: Hidden Canyon

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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After a morning of canyoneering, we were tired, but wanted to see more of the park. We asked our canyoneering guide, Chad, to suggest a good afternoon activity in the park that wasn’t too crowded. He suggested we hike the Hidden Canyon Trail.

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This hike starts at the Weeping Rock trail-head, which is also the start of the more ambitious Observation Point hike. The two trails share the same uphill path but then we took the turnoff to the right for Hidden Canyon.

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With a 940 ft elevation gain, it is fairly strenuous going up. We took the switchbacks slowly, pausing to take pictures frequently. The view of the main canyon was spectacular as we ascended.

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Then the path turned away from the main canyon and into a shaded valley. Here there were chains bolted into the wall for hikers to hold onto.

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My daughter and I opted not take this part of the trail, so we sat on a ledge and rested while we waited for my husband to continue.

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He said this section is not as daunting as it seems because the walk is banked in towards the cliff wall and the chains.

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Other Zion Posts:

IMG_8256Location: Springdale, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 10, 2017IMG_8212

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Zion Canyoneering

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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For this adventure, we had to head to a slot canyon just outside the park. The NPS does not allow commercially guided rope-work inside Zion National Park.

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We headed into Springdale early in the morning and met up with our guide, Chad, at Zion Adventure Company. We were paired up with a mother-daughter team for our half-day family canyoneering excursion.

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Our guide, Chad, drove us to a remote area outside park boundaries. After a short hike we came to the entrance of the path through the rock and harnessed up. Chad guided us through getting our lines on and we did a practice rappel at a small drop.

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For the rest of the morning, we traveled through the hunk of rock in the desert by rappelling, down-climbing, scrambling and squeezing through crevices. It was at times terrifying, but ultimately a rewarding experience.

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Zion Park Posts:

IMG_0025Location: 36 Lion Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767

Designation: National Park (just outside)

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 10, 2017IMG_0074

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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We visited the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park to help break up the long drive from Capitol Reef to Las Vegas. This park is home to ancient sand dunes created by the wind blowing eroding Navajo sandstone through a notch between the Moquith and Moccasin mountains. The red sandstone results in the unique pink color of the sand in this area.

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We stopped by the visitor center first to pay our nominal entrance fee and looked at their collection of sands from around the world.

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Next, we parked by the viewing platform. If you don’t like sand in your shoes, you can get a good view of the dunes just standing on the boardwalk area. This park is at an elevation of 6000 feet and the dunes are estimated to be between ten to fifteen thousand years old.

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We took the short trail through the dunes from there, with signs along the way about the geology of the dunes, the vegetation that grows there and a rare indigenous beetle.

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There were people driving ATVs up and down the dunes further out. These dunes can shift up to 50 feet per year because of the constant wind.

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The Coral Pink Sand Dunes have provided the backdrop for several movies, including The Greatest Story Ever Told and Arabian Nights. There have been over 170 movies and television episodes filmed in and around Kanab.

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We stopped in the nearby town of Kanab for a bite to eat before continuing on our journey. We walked down the street until we found Houston’s Trail’s End. This was a nice diner with a Western vibe to it (a lot of the movies filmed in Kanab were John Wayne movies.)

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To see my other posts from this Utah trip, please click below:

Location: 12500 Sand Dune Road, Kanab, UT 84741

Designation: State Park

Date designation declared: 1963

Date of my visit: 4/14/2017

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Zion National Park: Lower Emerald Pool

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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After we checked into the Zion Lodge, we had enough time for a short hike before dinner. We headed to the trail head for the Emerald Pools, right across the street from the hotel.

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We crossed the footbridge over the Virgin River and followed the paved path upriver. This is a very popular trail due to its accessibility. In the late afternoon, it was way too crowded for our taste.

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After about a half-mile of dodging obnoxious tourists, we arrived at Lower Emerald Pool. Waterfalls spill over an overhang here and the path continues behind the falls to Middle and Upper Emerald Pools. We took a few photos at this point and decided to turn back because of the crowds.

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Zion Park Posts:

  • Kolob Canyons Section
  • Zion National Park
  • Kolob Canyon 5-mile Drive
  • Timber Creek Overlook Trail (Coming Soon)
  • Emerald Pools (Coming Soon)
  • Canyoneering (Coming Soon)
  • Hidden Canyon (Coming Soon)
  • Scout Lookout (Coming Soon)
  • Angel’s Landing (Coming Soon)
  • Pa’Rus Trail (Coming Soon)

Location: Springdale, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 9, 2017

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