Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, & Zion Treks

February 25 - March 4th - 2006

- Click Here For Larger Image -Zion Canyon From Scout's Landing

From Las Vegas, we drove what must be on of the most scenic highways in America. With visits to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon.

At Zion we took some short hikes including the Emerald Pools Loop, Angel's Landing, and the Zion Overlook. Of these, Angel's Landing provides the most fun, the most thrills and the best views. The trail to Angel's Landing starts gently on a paved trail. It soon gets steeper, passes through a very narrow canyon, then climbs up the tight switchbacks called Wally's Wiggles. At the top of Wally's Wiggles is Scout's Landing. Many visitors stop here.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Knife Edge Leading to Angel's Landing

From Scout's Landing the route becomes very interesting, a knife edge with sheer drops to the valley below. But the footing on the sandstone is good and a chain “handrail” is anchored into the rock. A last steep climb will test your resolve. But for the intrepid, the views of Zion Canyon from Angel's Landing are breathtaking.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Zion Overlook

One last stop at Zion. The road leaving Zion passes through a mile long tunnel, which is an engineering marvel. The tunnel navigates just inside the cliff face with openings carved through the rock as “windows” providing the only light and ventilation.

Just after exiting the tunnel we parked our vehicle at a roadside pull-out and hiked the short 1/2 mile trail to the Overlook. The Overlook provides an impressive view of Zion Canyon and a close up look at the fascinating stratification of the layered sandstone.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon from Sunset View Point

Leaving Zion, we hoped to reach Bryce Canyon and make some photo stops at some of the view points before sunset. Our first surprise was discovering that Bryce Canyon is high in the mountains, ranging from 8,000 feet at Sunset View Point to 9,000 feet at Rainbow view Point. Our next surprise was the surreal,fairytale like rock formations.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Hoodoos from Sunrise View Point

Even if you have seen photos of Bryce Canyon you will not be prepared for the actual scenery. We have vowed to return and hike into Bryce Canyon and explore the trails that wind through the fantastic rock foundations.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Balanced Rock at Arches National Park

Next, Arches National park, located just 5 miles West of Moab. We stopped at the information center for lunch and to plan the best hikes we cold take and get the most out of our afternoon in Arches.

Driving into Arches, it seems there are view points every 1/4 mile. We stopped at most of them.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -View into Arches National park

Each view point has something special and unique. This view captures some of the cliffs, spires and wide open spaces of Southern Utah.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Devil's Garden Trail

We chose the Devil's Garden Trail as one of our “must see” hikes in Arches. There are several amazing arches in the area. There are also some beautiful scenery along the route like this look at some sandstone formations with a twisted old juniper snag in the foreground.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Navajo Arch

We took a fun loop hike that lead us into Devil's Garden. The route took us past the incredibly fragile looking Landscape Arch, the blocky Wall Arch, then to the intriguing Navajo Arch.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Partition Arch

From Navajo Arch, we continued on the trail ascending a small rocky hill and turning back until Partition Arch came into view. Partition Arch provides a window view of the mystical sandstone scenery beyond.

The afternoon was passing quickly as we hustled back to the trail head. We were anxious to get started on the trail leading to famous Delicate Arch.

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