After taking it easy on day 1, we increased the activity/adventure level a bit for day 2. Check it out
This trail is located on the east side of the park, which means you get to drive through the coolest 1 mile-long tunnel to get there. It is a little weird being inside a mountain tunnel for that long! But then you make it out the other side and the landscape has changed like magic. It is more rocky and rough than the main areas of the park.
This hike was 1 mile round trip and it took us a little over an hour. It was definitely a fun hike . . . climbing up and jumping over rocks, cool landscape, and lots of interesting rock formations. All of the kids chose this as their favorite hike of the day.
8:45 am - Let's start the morning with a hike!
The kids were pretty silly this morning.
Such cool terrain
And then we made it to the top!
After a drive back into town to get some sandwiches for our picnic lunch, we returned to the park and started with the Kayenta Trail. This was a 1 mile, uphill trail, with the view getting better and better every step of the way. I think Scott was getting a little exasperated with me because I kept stopping to take pictures. :) I didn't know that I should just wait 'til we got to the top for the money shots.
a panoramic shot near the beginning of the trail
At the end of the Kayenta Trail we had the choice to continue to the lower emerald pools or to take an off-shoot trail to the Upper Emerald Pools. Why not? But this was definitely the most challenging trail of the day for the kids. A steep uphill climb -- 200 feet in .5 miles. They were huffing and puffing by the time we made it to the pools!
This shaded corridor was at the beginning of the trail. I thought it was just so beautiful!
At the end of the trail we found the pool (which isn't really emerald . . . just at certain times of the year when the algae is growing and the light reflects just right), enjoyed the cool shade, and the kids had fun playing with sticks in the sand and water.
The cliffs were so massive and close that it is impossible to do this little spot justice with my camera.
A panoramic shot taken with my iPhone
The Lower Emerald Pool Trail (.6 miles) took us down, down, down past a small water fall, more pools, a cool hole in a rock that we decided we should all squeeze ourselves into, and finally back down to the river.
Hmm, I might be having second thoughts. Maybe this (above) should have been our Christmas card picture!
After all this hiking we finally sat down under the shade of a giant tree at Zion's Lodge and ate our picnic lunch (1:30pm). Then we walked a short bit on The Riverwalk, visited the Human History Museum & watched the movie, bought key chains for the kids in the gift shop, and called it a day. We had covered all of the park that we were going to see on this visit. Luckily, we bought a year pass so we can come again!
Later, back at the hotel, we took the kids swimming and hot-tubbing. How about this view?
If you have a chance to visit Zion in the fall . . . go! It is spectacular!