The highlight of the day was supposed to be the Zion National Park, and it certainly was, but on the way there we made two quick stops on other incredible places. The day before, a ranger recommended a must-see spot in Lake Mead Recreational Area and we decided to make it our first stop.
We knew more stops mean less time in Zion, but we wanted to see everything. While planning our trip, we planned too many things. I realize that now, but back while planning, it all seemed doable. We did see everything we wanted and planned to, but we barely scratched the surface. Everywhere we went, we looked around, took some pictures and tried to remember the place. We found things we loved, things we didn’t care much about, and things we would like to visit again.
So, our first stop on the way to Zion was Redstone, a small area with outstanding red rocks. About 2 million years ago there was a desert but over time sand dunes transformed to stones. Now, the process goes backward, and the rocks are slowly falling apart and turning back into the sand.
Redstone area was deserted when we arrived, so we had it all to ourselves. There was a small parking lot, few picnic tables, and huge rocks with a high content of iron, which gives them their red color.
Valley of Fire State Park
From Redstone, we continued down the Northshore Road and in about 30 minutes we entered the Valley of Fire State Park. Valley of Fire is a small park with desert climate and red-sandstone formations. It’s a fascinating area with breathtaking stone creations. I can imagine spending an entire day hiking and exploring it but preferably in early spring. At the beginning of May, it’s already summer here, with temperatures above 30 degrees and intense sun.
We stopped right at the east entrance of the park, to look at the Elephant Rock and then at the visitor’s center. We spent about half an hour here, learning about the park and exploring the area around. I wish we could have spent more time here, but the Zion was waiting for us.
Zion National Park
We arrived in Zion around 3 pm, parked our car and took a shuttle. That’s the best way to go around the park. There’s a shuttle every 15 or so minutes, and it takes you through the Zion Canyon. The shuttle stops at nine locations, and during the drive, you’ll learn about park’s history, surrounding mountains, nature, animals you can see and hikes you can do at each stop.
The Zion Park is stunning, its steep hills and narrow canyons, all the colors and peaceful nature left us speechless. We agreed we could spend several days, hiking and resting by the river. Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to do that in the future. It’s a fascinating, gorgeous, and peaceful place.
Many of the hikes in Zion are short and easy, and there were plenty of people with small kids. Some of the roads are paved and suitable even for people with limited mobility or in a wheelchair. I appreciate the effort to make the park accessible for everyone.
We walked by the Virgin River, went up to the Weeping Rock and wandered around. I wish we went to the Observation Point, a viewpoint of the Zion Canyon, but we didn’t have enough time for that. Maybe next time.