Zion National Park: Lower Emerald Pool

IMG_8164

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.

IMG_8157

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.

IMG_8159

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.

IMG_8173

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.

IMG_8163

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

IMG_8175

Zion National Park: Timber Creek Overlook Trail

img_8090

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.

img_8108

We drove from Las Vegas to the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park. This is the quieter end of Zion, about an hour northwest of the main entrance. There is one paved road here…a 5-mile scenic drive.

img_8025

We parked at the lot at the end of the drive to hike to the top on Timber Creek Overlook Trail. This is a fairly easy and short hike along a ridge with spectacular views of the Kolob Canyons and the Pine Valley Mountains.

img_8026

This was a good choice for our introductory hike to Zion National Park . We really enjoyed it, especially after being cooped up in the car for the drive from Vegas. I would call it a moderate hike…it’s a half mile out to the top with an elevation gain of about 100 feet.

img_8058

We were already starting off at a pretty high elevation, so I was huffing and puffing quite a bit…this was easily remedied by pausing to photograph the beautiful views that just got better the higher we climbed.

img_8036

It was amazing to see the red rock formations from one side of the trail and snow-covered mountain peaks from the other. Though there were some people sharing this trail with us, it wasn’t so crowded that we couldn’t relax and enjoy nature. It’s not a loop…you hike back down the same half mile that you walked up.

img_8084

Zion Park Posts:

Location: 3752 E Kolob Canyon Rd, New Harmony, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 9, 2017

img_8105

Zion National Park: Zion Lodge

img_8147

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.

When visiting Zion National Park, we stayed in the Watchman building of Zion Lodge. These were reasonably priced accommodations with a rustic motel vibe and common areas in each building with fireplaces, seating and board games.

The convenience of being inside the park made staying here worthwhile…there are long lines to get from Springdale to the Visitors Center each morning and then more lines to board the shuttles since no cars are allowed on the park drive.

img_20170410_071340

The original lodge was built in 1924, but had to be rebuilt quickly after a fire in 1966 destroyed it. Remodeled in the nineties, it was restored to its appearance from the twenties, but it lacks the charm and grandeur of other classic park lodges. Convenience and the breathtaking surroundings are what make it.

Location: Springdale, Utah

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 2017

img_20170412_070208

Grand Canyon National Park: Grandview Point

IMG_6570

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.

IMG_6652

Two hours before sunset on our first evening in the Grand Canyon, we met up with Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safaris in Tusayan for the Grand Sunset Tour. Unlike the other tour company we used this trip, this was a well-run operation and we enjoyed this introduction to the park immensely.

IMG_6544

Our guide was a local with ties to the Navajo and very knowledgeable about the native flora and fauna. He took us through Kaibab National Forest via the unpaved historic stagecoach roads, pausing whenever someone glimpsed an elk or deer through the trees so we could all see.

IMG_6547

Our first stop was the steel Grandview Lookout Tower. This was built in 1936 as a fire watchtower by the Civilian Conservation Corps. We climbed the 80 foot tower to see the view from the top.

IMG_6564

We got back into the jeep and continued along the gravel road until it met up with the park road.  We got out at Moran Point where we could see the river and Grandview Point and then got back in the jeep to travel to Grandview for the sunset.

IMG_6517

The Grandview is the southernmost point on the South Rim and the farthest from the Colorado River. Because of its position, the drop-offs here are less steep with more intervening buttes and ravines than in spots closer to the river. This makes it an ideal place to watch the sunset as it washes over all the nooks and crannies in a colorful display.

IMG_6577

There was a hotel built here in 1895 for Grand Canyon tourists, before the construction of El Tovar and other Grand Canyon Village facilities. It only lasted a few years and we saw no remains of it when we were there.

IMG_6632

To see my other posts on the Grand Canyon, please click the following links:

Location: Arizona

Designation: National Park

Date designation declared: 1/11/1908

Date of my visit: 8/19/2014

IMG_6659

Zion National Park: Kolob Canyon 5-Mile Drive

img_8139

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.

img_8129

We began our exploration of Zion National Park in the quieter Kolob Canyon section. Kolob Canyon is accessed by a separate entrance in the Northwestern corner of the park.

img_8119

We first stopped at the visitors center for our park pass and perused the gift shop. Then we started our climb up the five-mile scenic drive. This is the only paved road on this side of the park and it does not connect with the main section in the south.

img_8020

There were few cars on the drive so we were able to drive slowly and enjoy the scenery. We pulled over at several stops along the way to get out and take pictures of the 2000-foot cliff walls lining the canyon.

img_8014

After about a half mile, the drive culminates at the Kolob Canyon Viewpoint which is also the trail head for the Timber Creek Overlook Trail.

img_8011

Zion Park Posts:

  • Kolob Canyon 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)

img_8002

Location: 3752 E Kolob Canyon Rd, New Harmony, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 9, 2017

img_8016

Grand Canyon National Park: Desert View

IMG_6882

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.

IMG_6888

Desert View is 25 miles east of Grand Canyon village. The park’s shuttle system does not extend this far, so you will need a car to visit this section. We were on the lackluster van tour I mentioned in my Yavapai post, so having a ride to Desert View was one of the few highlights of that tour.

IMG_6906

The main attraction, aside from the Grand Canyon views, is the stone Desert View Watchtower designed by Mary Colter in 1932. This building, like the other Colter buildings in Grand Canyon National Park, is a National Historic Landmark and was designed to blend into its surroundings.

IMG_6889

It is a replica of an ancient Puebloan Watchtower, with 85 steps leading to an observation platform at the top. The walls are adorned with murals painted by a Hopi artist.

IMG_6883

To see my other posts on the Grand Canyon, please click the following links:

Location: Arizona

Designation: National Park

Date designation declared: 1/11/1908

Date of my visit: 8/20/2014

IMG_6899
View of Cedar Mountain Mesa from the Watchtower