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Utah Adventures With A Friend: Part 4

  • Written by Lindsey Huster
  •  / 
  • 8 min read
  •  / 
  • Last updated 10 days ago

Our friend, Yi, was in town and we already started our road trip through southern Utah. We traveled for a full week hiking, kayaking, and sightseeing. With a few days left, the agenda included hiking The Narrows in Zion National Park, and the guys would do some biking.

Utah Adventures With A Friend
⦿ Part 1: Welcome Back to Utah
⦿ Part 2: Bryce Canyon and Lake Powell
⦿ Part 3: Mount Carmel Highway, Snow Canyon State Park, and Sand Hollow State Park
⦿ Part 4: Zion National Park and Hurricane Area (this post)
⦿ Part 5: More Biking and Wrapping up the Visit (upcoming post)

Hiking The Narrows

Hiking The Narrows was a high priority on the to-do list. We had planned to do it a couple of days prior, but we knew the nearby rains could cause dangerous conditions and muddy/debris-filled waters. It was also important to us to leave several hours for hiking so we didn't have to turn back before we wanted to due to cooler temperatures in the narrow canyon and daylight. We also needed to be cognisant of parking at the visitor center, the bus schedule, and the time it takes to reach the start of the hike.

We loaded on the bus without much wait time and rode until stop 9, Temple of Sinawava. To access The Narrows, you walk about a mile on the Riverside Walk, which becomes the start of The Narrows hike. The Narrows is popular for good reasons. It's a unique and memorable experience. This is an activity where you understand it will be busy and adjust your mindset. You can make it as hard or easy as you want by choosing your path and distance.

The water was more cloudy than I hoped, which made it hard to see where to step, but all the other conditions were great! It was slightly chilly, but you are working hard against the current that you warm up pretty quickly. Once that sun flows through the canyon, you learn to enjoy the contrast of the sun and shade. With the sun beaming onto different walls and canyon sections, it just makes for a magical experience. We hiked for several hours and miles before we decided to turn back.

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Zion National Park

Since the Narrows was our top priority for the day, we headed there first knowing we'd see the park after. We made good timing and I was getting hungry for lunch while Keith and Yi decided to do more hiking.

I went for lunch at the Red Rock Grill located at the Zion Lodge. They have great outdoor seating with an awesome view. I had a delicious lunch, walked around the resort checking out the gift shop, and then found a rocking chair on the resort patio. It was a great way to relax and enjoy more of the park.

Keith and Yi chose to hike to Scout Lookout. This is the part of the trail you hike before starting Angels Landing. Yi wasn't interested in hiking Angels Landing because of the height and we hadn't secured permits. The hike to Scout Lookout would give him a fantastic view of the canyon and the chance to hike Walter's Wiggles. Hiking to Scout Lookout is 4.2 miles roundtrip (6.2 kilometer) with about 1000 feet (305 meters) of elevation change. Walter's Wiggles is a set of 21 steep switchbacks that allows you to gain a good bit of elevation in a short section. The guys enjoyed this addition to the day for more hiking and experiences in Zion.

Springdale, Utah

Springdale is the town right outside of Zion National Park. It's very tourist-centered with lodging, restaurants, shopping, etc. We have not stayed in Springdale, but we enjoy the restaurants and walking around town. We usually recommend the Zion Canyon Brew Pub. The food is always good, they have an outdoor patio and usually, there is live music. It's a great way to wrap up your time in Zion and talk about the adventures you've just had.

Check out our Video

Yi was visiting us in Utah, and we planned a 10-day road trip! This is 2 of 3 videos of the road trip.

Riding Smith Mesa Road

Both Keith and Yi love riding bikes. We had not brought their bikes on this trip since we would be driving to so many places and dealing with the bikes would be burdensome. So, they decided to rent mountain bikes for a day from Over The Edge Sports in Hurricane, UT.

Yi mainly rides a road bike so they looked for a route that would provide a nice mix of paved and gravel roads with scenic views and no difficult singletrack trails. The Smith Mesa Road Loop was the perfect choice for this ride. The loop starts with a significant road climb up Smith Mesa Road. At the top of the climb, the road splits off onto a gravel road that takes you toward Zion National Park. Finally, the route ends with a spectacular gravel then paved descent down Kolob Terrace Road back to the starting point near Virgin, UT.

Riding Hurricane Cliffs

After completing the Smith Mesa Road Loop ride, Keith and Yi decided to check out the Hurricane Cliffs mountain biking trail system. Keith had ridden some of these trails during a previous trip to the area so he knew that Yi would be safe to ride them. The most famous trail in this trail system has to be the JEM Trail.

The climb to the top consists of a scenic route of rolling hills that slowly ascends through the desert. Eventually, the route takes you to the start of the JEM Trail descent. The descent is a fun mix of mostly flow-style singletrack with an occasional technical section. The technical sections can all be easily walked which makes it perfect for those new to mountain biking.

Keith and Yi didn't stop much on these trails because they were running out of time on their bike rentals. So, they didn't get many pictures of their ride. They did however get a picture of a California King Snake crossing the road at the start of their climb! 🐍

Ending the Day Together

While the guys were riding all day, I took the day to relax. I got a coffee and breakfast at Starbucks in the morning, read a book all day, and did some online shopping! I am perfectly content having days like this so it didn't bother me one bit being stuck at the hotel. After the guys returned and cleaned up, we went for dinner at Riggatti's Wood-Fired Pizza. We've eaten there a few times and the pizza is always amazing!

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Drive Home

By Sunday, it was time to head back home. With about a 4 hour back to Orem, we had enough time for short stops on the way back. We took a little time to explore some of the overlooks of Cedar Breaks National Monument. Sitting at over 10,000 feet, it was quite windy and chilly. We didn't last long before rushing back to the car. We stopped at the Brian Head Moutain peak. At an elevation of over 11,000 feet, the air is thin and again, quite windy. After enjoying the view we descended to the town of Brian Head. In the winter this is Brian Head Ski Resort. We stopped for an afternoon coffee and enjoyed the quiet scenery of the area.

One More Post

Check back next week as we return to Orem and spend the last few days together. Even though we were all back to work, there was still time for more biking!

Have you been to Zion National Park? If so, what adventures did you have? Did you hike The Narrows or Angels Landing? Let us know in the comments section below.👇 💬

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