We left our campsite by 7:00 to get into the park and get a parking spot at the visitors center. It was already packed and had to drive around a few times to find a place. We lucked out and found one with a picnic table!!! So, we could make some breakfast!
We were parked right next to a Palomino truck camper. While we were making our breakfast they came back to get ready for their hike. We got to talking with them and got a tour of their camper – which was really nice. They were impressed that we had been car camping in our SUV for almost a month now.
During our breakfast, we also noticed some of the campers lugging their stuff from the campsite across the street into a car parked at the visitor’s center. We asked them why they did this – they had to check-out of the campground at 10:00 and by that time all of the parking spots at the visitors center would be full. So they had to move their car late at night to a parking spot in the visitor’s center just to get one!! It seems like Zion would have a better plan than this! So far Zion was not impressing us!
We cleaned up breakfast and headed to the visitors center to catch the shuttle bus into the park. Our plan was to hike a few of the Emerald Pool Trails but once on the shuttle bus we found out a bridge was out at the Zion Lodge so these were closed. The next best trail would be the Kenyenta Trail as it would lead to the Emerald Pools. These went out of the Grotto shuttle stop.
What we neglected to realize is that because the lower, middle, and upper Emerald Pool trails were closed all those hikers would now be on the Kenyenta trail! It started out fine, but once at the top it was getting crowded and heading back down was crazy. We were on a very narrow foot path that now had constant foot traffic in two directions. Some of the hikers were not able enough to be on this hike as it had some steep climbs. We were pretty happy to get off this trail! It was 2 miles, but felt more like 5 miles! If the other trails had been open we could have done a loop which would have been nicer than up and back.
Next we did the Grotto Trail which connects the Grotto stop with the Zion Lodge. This trail runs parallel to the north fork of the Virgin River. We decided to take our shoes off and dip out feet in the river. After that dusty hike, this felt great!
We hung out at the Zion lodge for a little bit then caught the shuttle back to the Visitors Center. The shuttle was so packed we had to stand for the entire ride. I guess I don’t look elderly enough yet for someone young to give up their seat – I think this is a good thing (head scratch).
We were pretty hungry but found nothing to eat or drink at the visitors center so we headed out. of the park to find a bite to eat. Outside the South entrance, is a little town called Springdale. This is much bigger than the area outside the East entrance where we originally came in from Bryce. We bought a few groceries and had a sandwich and salad at Sol grocery store. It was very good.
Back on the road I investigated dispersed camping about 2 hours away in Logandale Nevada. Back on a very dusty dirt road (Logandale Trail Road), we almost turned around, we found the spot. It was a trailhead with bathrooms, a pavilion, and several covered picnic tables.
An extended family from the Vegas area was already using the pavilion. We introduced ourselves and they were very welcoming offering us food and drink. They made some authentic Mexican food (Stew loves Mexican food) and we had our super with them.
They did something together every weekend and this Sunday decided to come out here to ride their ATVs. Stew got some drone footage of the ATVs and I got a lot of dust in my lungs! This area sits below the road so all the riding kicked up an enormous amount of dust that just rained down on the car.
They stayed until dark (even had multicolor lights on the ATVS), playing music and having fun. We got our car ready for bed and climbed in to watch a movie. We were hot and tired from our back-to-back days of hiking and camping.
We slept well and decided to head to Lake Mead and Vegas next…