The best way to access Zion National Park, is to fly into Las Vegas, Nevada and to then drive to Springdale, Utah. This is what we did, and it’s an easy three hour drive. Springdale is the town that borders the National Park.
Springdale was a pleasant surprise with some nice cafes and restaurants. Completely by accident we ended up staying next to the best cafe in town, and we returned there three times, on three separate days. This was Cafe Soleil and they had everything that I want in a cafe, a nice selection of drinks, as well as healthy and tasty food options.
We stayed at the Cliffrose Lodge & Gardens, this hotel was well appointed, had fair prices, and best of all was in the best location. This hotel was next to Cafe Soleil, but most importantly was a five minute walk to the entrance of Zion National Park. The benefits of being this close are numerous.
During high season it is prohibited to drive your vehicle inside the park. What you need to do is take a hop-on and hop-off shuttle at different points in the park. The shuttles are frequent, and once you get used to the system are actually quite convenient. With these shuttles you can easily plan one-way hikes, and start hikes at one drop off point, to get picked up at another.
If you stay close enough to the border of the park to walk to it, you can avoid the high parking fees, and in some cases we were told that during high season it can become a chore to even find parking. This is why I recommend you save yourself the hassle and stay at the Cliffrose. More hotels are in the process of being built, but with the bulk of them you will need to drive to the park, and hence worry about parking.
I had seen pictures of Zion before but nothing prepared me for the beauty. The park was smaller than I expected, but everywhere I looked was eye candy. We stayed here two full-days and that gave us enough time to do several hikes and see most of the park. If you are the type of person that likes to do everything, you could probably do all of the major hikes in a four day period.
We started with the Emeralds Pool Trail which is fairly easy but offers stunning scenery and this hike is absolutely recommended. Another notable hike was the Observation Point hike which is a bit more strenuous but highly rewarding. I actually ended up doing less hiking than I wanted to as I was fighting a cold, what I missed and would have loved to see is the Angels Landing.
As you can see it’s difficult not to be mesmerized by the scenery. This was the start of our stay in Utah, where we hit three amazing National Parks. After this, we drove to Capitol Reef National Park and afterwards Arches National Park shortly.