As I look through most of our pictures on this crazy RV trip– I realize a few things. The first of course is how absolutely lucky we were to be able to take this trip. As I look at the stops and the beauty that we were surrounded by. I still lose my breath remembering how awestruck we all were.
Another thing that stands out to me, is how our kids could find a way to whine or complain about it all. Especially the pictures. In most of these pictures they have that classic “mom I don’t want to take a picture” scowl. It used to bum me out when they would scowl at the camera, or sometimes outright refuse to be in the picture.
So frustrating to think that they won’t even be grateful for this experience for at least another 15 years. However I am magnanimous enough to enjoy it enough for all of us. I will relish showing them and reminding them how they wined and begged not to get down and see the Arches.
We have all been there. It is a right of passage. Just like I’m sure I whined and complained on every trip I was lucky enough for my parents to have taken us on.
Zion was so special- the kids actually complained just a little less.
What makes Zion spectacular is undeniably the mountain. Once you see it, you can completely imagine how they came up with this name. It is in fact a heavenly city. You feel something when you look at it. It moves you. There is a majesty present at Zion that can penetrate you to your soul.
Here is how it broke down in Zion:
My parents were coming to stay with us, and since I inherited my extreme reluctance to RV life from my parents, they wanted to stay in a hotel. But the joke ultimately ended up being on them- as Under Canvas, where I had booked us was actually a step below the RV.
I hate to say it, but that luxury that they are trying so hard to sell you over there at Under Canvas- do not buy it. I do not want to spend any more time of this post that is supposed to be dedicated to majesty to trashing this company. But I will do that in a separate post because I feel like everyone needs to know what they are getting themselves into. But i will say for the amount of money you spend to stay at Under Canvas, money of which does not even include a bottle of water- you could stay at a nice hotel and pay for dinner. Also something that is not usually available at Under Canvas. And don’t you dare ask for wifi. Sacrilege.
Bobby’s sister, and family stayed on their RV inside of Zion National Park and she still says it was her favorite stay of the entire trip. She was even able to get up early, before her kids and hike Angel’s Landing. Yes, my sister in law is part psycho part bad ass. But look at the views from her camp
On our first day, we parked inside Zion, and immediately grabbed our dogs and headed to The Watchman Trail. This is an almost 3 mile trek that is described as moderate, but I would say it was fairly easy. You go in come back out hike that you do through the lower part of the mountain. It gives you breathtaking views of the park and you get to see parts of the Virgin River.
But Our Favorite Day Was
At the time we were in Zion, COVID was still running rampant. Zion has an incredible bus service that you can hop onto at the bottom near Watchman Trail, and you can ride the bus to whatever stop you wanted to take. This is ideal, but it gets very crowded. We wanted to find a way to avoid using the bus system, but still get to see what we wanted.
We were a big group of varying fitness levels and we wanted to find something we could all do and enjoy. The bikes were the perfect solution. The day we spent riding up and down Zion Mountain might be one of my most favorite days ever.
We rented our bikes from Zion Cycles Bike Shop and while we got very lucky and found last minute bikes, I would definitely suggest reserving yours before you go. The staff here is so knowledgeable and cool. They can give you tips about where to eat, or what trails to ride to depending on what you’re in the mood for or your level.
The adults riding alone used electric bikes, and Bobby and I used passenger bikes that would let Dylan and Tristan each ride with one of us. Tristan being the genius, chose me.
Blake, our niece Cameron, and nephew, Kellyn were big enough to ride their own bikes. Blake just made it and at the time she was between 4th and 5th grade and was about 48” tall. If you have a child that is shorter than that, they will likely have to ride with you. If you don’t have children, and you’re reading this because you’re about to go to Zion alone- you probably spent a lot less money than us that day.
We hiked all the way to the top of Zion, and unfortunately the most famous trail, The Narrows was closed due to flash flooding (this wouldn’t stop us later).
Off Roading Dream
Another amazing day in Zion was spent off roading in St. George. St. George is not too far away it was about a 40 minute drive. We rented ours from Sand Hollow Rentals. There are a few other options you can find with a quick google search.
We went off roading to a place called Sand Hollow State Park and it was so cool. We brought sandwiches from town some drinks and snacks and just off roaded all day. There were so many trails to choose from and they all end at a Sand Hollow Reservoir, which is a huge body of water where you can jet ski or just hang out.
There were also a ton of options if you check on line. There’s a few other state parks that are also around like Pink Sands that you can off road in but it’s just a little more expensive.
The day was incredible we went through this park and then we ended by the reservoir. The water was not very packed and it had an option for water sports for anyone who was feeling frisky.
We stayed to ourselves and just let the kids drive around on the beach. Then we made our way back to the center and went back to our campground.
My Crazy Sister In Law and Her Ideas…
The bikes came in handy the next day. When Leann (in her absolute craziest phase of the trip) suggested that her Cameron, my mom and I bike up to the Narrows again and see if we can go in and hike for a little. Normally I say no to Leann. But my mom said yes before I had a chance. My dad had already started drinking and looked a little like this:
So I couldn’t just let my mom go alone, could I? Off we went. Four women on a mission, that only three of them wanted to take (for the record). We took the bikes all the way to the top and hiked the 1 mile trail to get to the river known as The Narrows.
When we got to the entrance of the hike, we saw a big warning sign that read “Flash Flooding – Expected”. Do you think that stopped us? NO there was no stopping us at this point. Like a bunch of idiots from Miami we marched on.
The good things about there being a Warning, is that the trail was completely empty. Besides us there were only a few other completely crazy people willing to be there.
At this point, you should know Leann well enough to know, she wanted to tredge further into the river, but I am a nervous anxiety ridden old lady trapped in a 37 year old body and I forced us all to turn back. Sometimes I wish I had let Leann take us further. Because while yes, there was a big warning that said “flash flooding expected” in the front, the sky was clear and the gorge was insanely beautiful.
It was a great day.
Where to Stay?
- Not Under Canvas unless you are open to spending a ton of money to camp.
- Rent an RV and stay on the Campground inside of Zion National Park: Rent a spot HERE
- Zion Wildflower Resort kind of like Under Canvas but cheaper and has running water and electricity to charge your phone. I’m also guessing they have WiFi. Each time we passed this resort on our way to Zion, I cursed myself for not finding it first.
Other Hikes that we or my sister in law did and loved:
The Watchman Trail
The Emerald Pools
- Lower Emerald Pool Trail (easy): Starting at the Zion Lodge, this 1.2-mile trail leads through gentle terrain to the beautiful Emerald Pool and waterfalls. It typically takes an hour or less to complete the hike, but connections are available to the more challenging Kayenta and Upper Emerald Pool trails.
- Observation Point via East Rim Trail (strenuous): The trailhead for this 8-mile route is located at Weeping Rock, then climb through Echo Canyon to a viewpoint of Zion Canyon. Expect tricky footing and challenging descents, and allow yourself at least six hours to complete the hike.
Our favorite restaurant there was
Carlos’ Mexican Cafe we ate there more than once it was so good. The breakfast and lunch were both phenomenal. That’s right we went back twice.
Outside of this restaurant, we mostly BBQ’d at the RVs they have a great market in town.
The Bike Shop We Rented At: Zion Cycles Bike Shop
The Place we used to rent Offroading Vehicles: Sand Hollow Rentals we rented our ATVs here and went to Sand Hollow Resort, where there were several trails and the lakes. However there are other destinations like Coral Pink Sands that we heard was beautiful but a little more expensive. Check out their site HERE
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