Fall Break in Zion National Park

Last year our school district changed up the schedule and we now have a week off in October.  I have come to love this break because it’s a great time to get out of town and explore someplace a little cooler.  It’s still hot in southern Arizona in October and I am so ready for fall by this point.  The desert does not start to cool down until after Halloween.  It’s almost like clockwork. It’s hot on Halloween and November 1st starts the cool down.

Last year we planned to visit White Sands National Monument during fall break and were going to attempt our first backpacking trip by camping in the park.  Unfortunately fall break  happened to fall during the government shutdown so at the last minute we ended up at Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I highly recommend Balloon Fiesta and would love to go back someday.

This year we decided to go to Zion National Park for fall break.  The Husband and I had visited Zion several years ago and the kids have been wanting to go ever since.  Even though I made reservations in March, it was not early enough.  The campground was full and we could only get a room within the park for two nights.  We wanted to spend more than one day in the park so we stayed just outside the east entrance at the Zion Mountain Ranch the first night.  I was really impressed with our cabin as well as the restaurant.  I am not a fan of staying outside of the parks only because it takes so much longer to get around.  In the case of staying at Zion Mountain Ranch and driving into Zion each day, it’s an absolutely gorgeous drive so at least you have that to look forward to.  If you are looking for a central location between Bryce and Zion National Parks this would be a great option.

The living room portion of our cabin at Zion Mountain Ranch.

The bedroom portion of our cabin at Zion Mountain Ranch.

The majority of the hiking trails and scenic views in Zion are located along the six mile Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.  With three million visitors each year, the six mile drive is not large enough for all those cars so during peak season (spring to fall) everyone is required to use a shuttle system.  The Husband and I had visited Zion in the off season so we had the luxury of driving through the park.  This time around we were forced to use the shuttle system.  I understand why there is a shuttle, but I have come to realize that I am not a shuttle person.  We really enjoy packing the car for the day and stopping at our leisure.  We also always pack our lunch and enjoy eating out in nature when we find a nice place to stop.  If I were to go back to Zion I would likely do it during the offseason.

We did a little hiking but not as much as we had expected.  We still got out though and were able to enjoy the beauty of Zion.  We visited most of the same places we had before so I will not recap the trails.  You can find those in the previous recap of Zion.  Instead I am going to share some of my favorite pictures.  I don’t know about you but I love looking at pictures.

Towers of the Virgin taken from behind the Zion Human History Museum

Once again the kids had the most fun playing in the river. They are drawn to water everywhere we go. Waterfalls, rivers, lakes, pools. These are their highlights every trip we take.

Little Mister walking in the Virgin River

The kids playing in the Virgin River

Little Miss loves making sandman. Since we’re from the desert this is her version of a snowman.

And while the kids play The Husband and I relax and enjoy the scenery.

The Virgin River seen from the Temple of the Sinewa walk

I love the mix of red rocks and the bright green leaves.

Each night after dinner the kids would play chess in the lobby of the Zion Lodge.

We stayed in a cabin in the park, just as we did last time.  Once again we had an enjoyable time and would definitely stay there again.

And if being in Zion isn’t enough, the drive is gorgeous as well.

Going home we headed toward Glen Canyon and stopped at the dam.  There’s a pull out right next to the bridge that crosses the canyon so you can easily get out and view the dam.

The Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1964, taming the waters of the Colorado River and creating Lake Powell, a popular recreation area along the Utah/Arizona border. Lake Powell is about 186 miles long and took 17 years to fill to full pool. The lake has a storage capacity of 27,000,000 acre-feet, making it the second largest man-made reservoir in the US.

We also made a quick stop at the Grand Canyon on our way home and I plan to recap our Grand Canyon visit soon.  Happy Travels!

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