I have quite a few Latter-Day Saint friends at home, so had heard a lot about Zion National Park before even coming here! Among being told of the gorgeous landscapes and scenery that I’d be sure to encounter, I’d been recommended to do many different hikes (especially if I wanted to be ambitious), most notably Angels Landing and the Narrows.
Angels Landing is a 5.4 mile roundtrip hike up a narrow rocky ledge with steep drop-offs, up to one of the higher peaks of the park to offer a spectacular view. The Narrows, alternatively, is a 16 mile hike through the gorge in the upper part of Zion Canyon, where the walls are extremely narrow (sometimes only 20 to 30 feet wide), making you walk through the Virgin River. As the National Park Service describes it: “In the Narrows, walking in the shadow of its soaring walls, sandstone grottos, natural springs, and hanging gardens, can be an unforgettable experience.”
When Katie and Ashley and I entered the park, we’d decided that the hike up to Angels Landing may be a bit too ambitious, and we knew that we definitely didn’t have time to hike the Narrows, so we ultimately choose to hike the Emerald Pools Trails. I’ve made up my mind, though, that I will be back one day to both hike up to Angels Landing and do an overnight camping trip through the entirety of the Narrows!
There are Lower Emerald Pools, Middle Emerald Pools, and Upper Emerald Pools to hike around. We opted to go for the Middle and Upper Emerald Pools, climbing our way up the rocks of Zion Canyon until we approached these gorgeous pools of water up high in the mountains.
This climb was supposed to take us two to three hours, but we managed to get all the way up, enjoy a lunch by these clear green miniature ponds, and back down within an hour. Once at the bottom, we debated what else to do – Katie and I wanting to hike up to Angels Landing and Ashley preferring not to. We ultimately chose to hike over to the end of the Narrows and hike up a bit of it, basically going as far as we could in an hour.
Little did we know that when they say you are wading through the Virgin River they mean you are literally trudging through the river, with the water sometimes being above waist-high! We kept going as far as we could through the frigid (though refreshing on this hot day) river, the water reaching thigh-high, until we suddenly came upon a deeper portion of the lake and decided – for the sake of our electronics – to turn back.
When we eventually reconnected with our parents and grandma, we learned that they’d hiked the Emerald Pools (albeit the Lower ones), the Narrows (but only the hike up to the water), and a place called Weeping Rock (where dripping springs make beautiful hanging gardens), meaning they were able to accomplish more than my sisters and I did! Needless to say, this solidified my plan to one day return to Zion, to fully explore all this amazing park has to offer.
Bucket List item # a lot: Hike the Narrows and Angels Landing at Zion