After a mostly rainy previous day, the 10th day of our epic family travel adventure would start and end with beautiful weather and unbelievable landscapes.
We only scheduled this one day for Zion National Park and can say with hindsight that this was nowhere near enough time. This turned out to be my favorite of all the national parks we visited.
We continued winding our way down into the valley of Zion National Park and made our way to the main visitor center. The parking lot was extremely full, even early in the morning and there was already quite a line, inside the visitor center to speak to a park ranger and get our Junior Ranger programs.
One of the requirements of most of the National Park Junior Ranger programs is to attend a ranger-led program. With our limited schedule at Zion, we needed to get this requirement out of the way early and there happened to be one starting, but there wasn’t much time for us to ride the bus up to the program location! We had to pray that we would catch a bus and not be stuck waiting at a bus stop!
Fortunately, we walked right on to a bus as it was leaving (well, more ran onto the bus!) and it’s first stop was the Zion Human History Museum — right where we needed to be for our ranger program!
With a limited amount of time, we decided to take the bus only up to the Zion Lodge for lunch and hike the Lower Emerald Pools Trail.
After the Lower Emerald Pools Trail, we needed to begin our trek back out of the valley to our car and start out for Bryce Canyon.
On the way to Bryce Canyon, we passed through Red Canyon. Red Canyon is part of the larger Dixie National Forest, but it’s famous for having given shelter to Butch Cassidy. Cassidy was in Panguitch at a dance he got into a brawl over a girl. Cassidy thought he killed the fellow and fled to the craggy land where Red Canyon is today. Turns out the man he knocked out was just fine, but a posse was already sent out after Cassidy. He eluded them by hiding along what is now known as the Cassidy Trail. Red Canyon is located on Scenic Byway 12, right on the way to Bryce Canyon. I wish we could have come back and spent some time in this hidden gem. I’d never even heard of it before this trip, but it was absolutely spectacular to drive through it!
After dinner, we decided to walk out onto the back porch of the lodge and sit a spell. 🙂
From there, we could see a trail leading off in the distance. What the heck? We’re on an epic family adventure, let’s check out where it goes. We were delightfully surprised with the view just over the ridge!