Grand Canyon and Zion National Park

Sharon Sobel

Created By:
Sharon Sobel

 
This trip is a perfect way to explore and take in the sights of the American Southwest and two of the countries gorgeous national parks. If you are looking for activity, like adventure and enjoy being outdoors this trip is perfect for you.

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam, Clark County, NV, United States

If you fly into Vegas take a quick pit stop at the Hoover Dam (its only 1/2 hour outside Vegas). This activity is short but an interesting place to see. Don't pay for parking, there is some for free if you drive over the dam. Caution: it can get very hot.

Grand Canyon Village

Grand Canyon Village, AZ, United States

If you want to visit the Grand Canyon I recommend going to the more popular south rim. The north rim is only open during the summer and there is less to do. (The drive between the 2 rims is over 4 hours). Grand Canyon Village is the place to stay if you are at the south rim. It has a bunch of activities, hiking trails, hotels and restaurants. It also has a free shuttle service throughout the village for those who are injured, handicapped or not physically fit. You must book this months to a year in advance though because it does fill up and it is operated by the national park service. If you do not stay at the village the nearest lodging is 20 mins outside the park and is limited. Outside of those 2 areas to stay, there is nothing but desert for miles so plan accordingly.

Grand Canyon Mule Ride

Grand Canyon Village, AZ, United States

Riding a mule along the rim of the grand canyon is one of the most iconic activities to do at the village and was one of my favorite activities. It is a great way to experience the canyon from a different viewpoint. The mules are well equipped, know their job and do not walk close to the edge (like rumor has it), so no need to be nervous. You are in a group of 10 with an experience wrangler. These rides fill up fast so book in advance. I recommend doing the rim ride - the only other option is an overnight ride into the canyon and is not for the faint of heart.

Grand Canyon Red Rim Trail

Grand Canyon Village, AZ, United States

The red rim trail offered some of the most amazing views of the canyon as you walk out onto different ledges. You can even see some of the Colorado River below if you look closely. If you hike the red rim trail it is 8 miles one direction and relatively flat except for the first section. The red rim trail is also great for those not equipped to walk such a distance because it has a shuttle bus that goes from view point to view point so you can still take in the sights. Keep your eyes out for the mule deer and elk :)

Grand Canyon Bright Angel Trail

Grand Canyon Village, AZ, United States

The bright angel trail is one of the 2 trails that allows you to hike into the canyon (the other one is the south kaibab trail). This trail is the less strenuous (slightly lol) out of the 2 and is still only recommend for those who are physically fit and not afraid of heights. You can not hike down to the river (10 miles one direction) and back in 1 day because it is too dangerous. If you hike to the bottom you also need camping permits. We hiked to the 1.5 mile house and back up and that was plenty :) Bring lots of water and do this hike in the early morning or late afternoon/evening to avoid the sun.

Colorado River White Water Rafting

Hualapai River Runners, Peach Springs, AZ, United States

We did a 1 day white water rafting trip through 50 miles of the Colorado River in the western portion of the grand canyon. We had to backtrack a little bit so I recommend doing this first if you fly in from Vegas. We went through the company Hualapai River Runners which was fantastic. They took care of every detail of our day and made it a thrill seeking and enjoyable experience. This is one of the only rafting day trips available, most are overnight. Be mindful that the river is cold and the rapids are huge, but you will surely enjoy one of the most exciting rides of your life. We rode a series of 10 rapids and stopped to hike to beautiful waterfalls in between.

Grand Canyon West / Helicopter Ride

Grand Canyon West Park, Peach Springs, AZ, United States

We ended our rafting trip by taking a short helicopter tour out of the canyon. The views from this ride were AMAZING! We booked this as part of our rafting trip but you can do it separately as well. We landed at Grand Canyon West near the popular glass skywalk. The famous skywalk was not as large and amazing as it is pictured to be so perhaps dont waste your money.

Secret Slot Canyon

Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Tours, U.S. 89, Page, AZ, United States

On our drive from the Grand Canyon to Zion we stopped in Page, AZ. During our visit we toured a slot canyon which is MUST DO! We went through the company Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Tours which was the perfect decision. They took us to a secret slot canyon on their private property. This was an intimate and unique experience that most people don't get. We were in a small group which allowed for exploration without crowds and plenty of picture taking. This is only a few miles away from the famous antelope canyon which can get so crowded you can't move so I'm glad we went with our option.

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend, Page, AZ, United States

Horseshoe Bend is an iconic picture moment in Page, AZ. You park in a parking lot on the side of the road and complete a 0.75 mile hike to the edge of the canyon where you see the beautiful colorado river below. I highly recommend going during the morning or at sunset because there is no protection from the sun so it gets very hot. Also except large crowds.

Springdale, UT

Springdale, UT, United States

This was the perfect place to stay while visiting Zion National Park. It has the most hotels, restaurants and shops, and is such a cute town. If you stay here leave your car at your hotel and take the free shuttle into the park. The park does not offer much parking and the shuttle will take you to all the sights. Keep an eye out for the mule deer and big horned sheep.

The Narrows (Zion National Park)

Zion National Park, Washington County, UT, United States

Hiking through The Narrows at Zion National Park was one of my favorite activities we did during our trip. You are hiking through a canyon that gets narrrower as you go and you are in the water majority of the time. The water usually is between ankle and thigh deep, however if you hike past the point where the river splits it can go up to your chest. Wear clothes that dry quickly, sneakers or watershoes because it is rocky and bring a walking stick to help keep your balance. You can rent all of the equipment in town. It can also be cool in the canyon because you are protected from the sun so bring warmer clothes. Each twist and turn of the river offers sights and sounds that only get more beautiful as you explore deeper within.

Emerald Pools (Zion National Park)

Zion National Park, Washington County, UT, United States

Hiking to the Emerald Pools is an easy hike and you arent fully in the desert sun which is nice. There are 3 pools you can consecutively hike to, but we only walked to the first. The pools are beautiful and color and the dripping water from the rocks in nice to cool off in. Keep in mind you can not swim in the pools.

Angels Landing (Zion National Park)

Zion National Park, Washington County, UT, United States

Angels Landing is one of the most famous hikes in Zion National Park and is only for those up for a challenge. You hike a series of switch backs up the side of a mountain (don't be afraid to stop for many water breaks lol). After a bit of climbing you reach a platform that allows for some great views, however, you are still not at the top (I stopped here, my sister continued). The rest of the hike is basically a rock climb on a knife back (skinny ledge with 1000 foot drops on either side) where you use poles and chains cemented into the rock to help you along the way. People die doing this hike so it is only for those who are physically fit, not afraid of heights and those aware of their surroundings and capabilities. I was told once you get to the top the view is so outstanding and you are so high that only angels can land there ;)

 

Hoover Dam

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Hoover Dam, Clark County
If you fly into Vegas take a quick pit stop at the Hoover Dam (its only 1/2 hour outside Vegas). This activity is short but an interesting place to see. Don't pay for parking, there is some for free if you drive over the dam. Caution: it can get very hot.
 

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Grand Canyon Village

Eat Sleep Drink
Grand Canyon Village, AZ
If you want to visit the Grand Canyon I recommend going to the more popular south rim. The north rim is only open during the summer and there is less to do. (The drive between the 2 rims is over 4 hours). Grand Canyon Village is the place to stay if you are at the south rim. It has a bunch of activities, hiking trails, hotels and restaurants. It also has a free shuttle service throughout the village for those who are injured, handicapped or not physically fit. You must book this months to a year in advance though because it does fill up and it is operated by the national park service. If you do not stay at the village the nearest lodging is 20 mins outside the park and is limited. Outside of those 2 areas to stay, there is nothing but desert for miles so plan accordingly.
 

View on Map

 

Grand Canyon Mule Ride

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Grand Canyon Village, AZ
Riding a mule along the rim of the grand canyon is one of the most iconic activities to do at the village and was one of my favorite activities. It is a great way to experience the canyon from a different viewpoint. The mules are well equipped, know their job and do not walk close to the edge (like rumor has it), so no need to be nervous. You are in a group of 10 with an experience wrangler. These rides fill up fast so book in advance. I recommend doing the rim ride - the only other option is an overnight ride into the canyon and is not for the faint of heart.
 

View on Map

 

Grand Canyon Red Rim Trail

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Grand Canyon Village, AZ
The red rim trail offered some of the most amazing views of the canyon as you walk out onto different ledges. You can even see some of the Colorado River below if you look closely. If you hike the red rim trail it is 8 miles one direction and relatively flat except for the first section. The red rim trail is also great for those not equipped to walk such a distance because it has a shuttle bus that goes from view point to view point so you can still take in the sights. Keep your eyes out for the mule deer and elk :)
 

View on Map

 

Grand Canyon Bright Angel Trail

Explore
Grand Canyon Village, AZ
The bright angel trail is one of the 2 trails that allows you to hike into the canyon (the other one is the south kaibab trail). This trail is the less strenuous (slightly lol) out of the 2 and is still only recommend for those who are physically fit and not afraid of heights. You can not hike down to the river (10 miles one direction) and back in 1 day because it is too dangerous. If you hike to the bottom you also need camping permits. We hiked to the 1.5 mile house and back up and that was plenty :) Bring lots of water and do this hike in the early morning or late afternoon/evening to avoid the sun.
 

View on Map

 

Colorado River White Water Rafting

Explore
Hualapai River Runners, Peach Springs
We did a 1 day white water rafting trip through 50 miles of the Colorado River in the western portion of the grand canyon. We had to backtrack a little bit so I recommend doing this first if you fly in from Vegas. We went through the company Hualapai River Runners which was fantastic. They took care of every detail of our day and made it a thrill seeking and enjoyable experience. This is one of the only rafting day trips available, most are overnight. Be mindful that the river is cold and the rapids are huge, but you will surely enjoy one of the most exciting rides of your life. We rode a series of 10 rapids and stopped to hike to beautiful waterfalls in between.
 

View on Map

 

Grand Canyon West / Helicopter Ride

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Grand Canyon West Park, Peach Springs
We ended our rafting trip by taking a short helicopter tour out of the canyon. The views from this ride were AMAZING! We booked this as part of our rafting trip but you can do it separately as well. We landed at Grand Canyon West near the popular glass skywalk. The famous skywalk was not as large and amazing as it is pictured to be so perhaps dont waste your money.
 

View on Map

 

Secret Slot Canyon

Explore
Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Tours, U.S. 89
On our drive from the Grand Canyon to Zion we stopped in Page, AZ. During our visit we toured a slot canyon which is MUST DO! We went through the company Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Tours which was the perfect decision. They took us to a secret slot canyon on their private property. This was an intimate and unique experience that most people don't get. We were in a small group which allowed for exploration without crowds and plenty of picture taking. This is only a few miles away from the famous antelope canyon which can get so crowded you can't move so I'm glad we went with our option.
 

View on Map

 

Horseshoe Bend

Explore
Horseshoe Bend, Page
Horseshoe Bend is an iconic picture moment in Page, AZ. You park in a parking lot on the side of the road and complete a 0.75 mile hike to the edge of the canyon where you see the beautiful colorado river below. I highly recommend going during the morning or at sunset because there is no protection from the sun so it gets very hot. Also except large crowds.
 

View on Map

 

Springdale, UT

Eat Sleep Drink Shop
Springdale, UT
This was the perfect place to stay while visiting Zion National Park. It has the most hotels, restaurants and shops, and is such a cute town. If you stay here leave your car at your hotel and take the free shuttle into the park. The park does not offer much parking and the shuttle will take you to all the sights. Keep an eye out for the mule deer and big horned sheep.
 

View on Map

 

The Narrows (Zion National Park)

Explore
Zion National Park, Washington County
Hiking through The Narrows at Zion National Park was one of my favorite activities we did during our trip. You are hiking through a canyon that gets narrrower as you go and you are in the water majority of the time. The water usually is between ankle and thigh deep, however if you hike past the point where the river splits it can go up to your chest. Wear clothes that dry quickly, sneakers or watershoes because it is rocky and bring a walking stick to help keep your balance. You can rent all of the equipment in town. It can also be cool in the canyon because you are protected from the sun so bring warmer clothes. Each twist and turn of the river offers sights and sounds that only get more beautiful as you explore deeper within.
 

View on Map

 

Emerald Pools (Zion National Park)

Explore
Zion National Park, Washington County
Hiking to the Emerald Pools is an easy hike and you arent fully in the desert sun which is nice. There are 3 pools you can consecutively hike to, but we only walked to the first. The pools are beautiful and color and the dripping water from the rocks in nice to cool off in. Keep in mind you can not swim in the pools.
 

View on Map

 

Angels Landing (Zion National Park)

Explore
Zion National Park, Washington County
Angels Landing is one of the most famous hikes in Zion National Park and is only for those up for a challenge. You hike a series of switch backs up the side of a mountain (don't be afraid to stop for many water breaks lol). After a bit of climbing you reach a platform that allows for some great views, however, you are still not at the top (I stopped here, my sister continued). The rest of the hike is basically a rock climb on a knife back (skinny ledge with 1000 foot drops on either side) where you use poles and chains cemented into the rock to help you along the way. People die doing this hike so it is only for those who are physically fit, not afraid of heights and those aware of their surroundings and capabilities. I was told once you get to the top the view is so outstanding and you are so high that only angels can land there ;)
 

View on Map