July 1st was the first day Zion National Park was allowing the shuttle busses to run, but you had to have a ticket in order to ride, due to covid precautions. Tickets went on sale at 9:00 am on June 30th and were sold out for the only day we were going to be there in THREE minutes! Luckily we were able to score our five tickets in this small window.
Another little pickle we didn’t expect in Zion was no dogs were allowed. Will started calling the various doggy daycares in the area at 8:00 am and we were able to secure him a spot at one with a very high rating. By 10:00 am we were on our way to Zion National Park. The line to get into the entrance wasn’t as long as I was expecting and we had great parking for the RV. When we were walking to get on the shuttle they said, since it’s day one and they were working out the kinks, no wheelchairs would be allowed on them yet. However, for those needing extra assistance they were giving out a yellow pass to drive further up the mountain to the Lodge.
We barely brushed the surface of what can be seen at Zion and it definitely is a place we need to return to explore more. Between the lack of wheelchairs on the shuttles (on day one) and the fact we were in the RV and could not drive ourselves to the top, we needed to make a decision as Zion National Park is not as handicap accessible as other parks. Again, if we were not in our RV it would have made the last part much easier; however, given the stop at Zion was only a stop on the way to our next destination we didn’t rent a car like we do at most locations. Note: Zion is worth at least two full days!!!
Notes on Zion National Park: The walls of Zion Canyon soar more than 2,000 feet above the valley. Bands of limestone, sandstone, and lava in the strata point to the distant past. Greenery high in the cliff walls indicate the presence of water seepage or a spring. Erosion has left behind a collection of domes, fins, and blocky massifs bearing the names of cathedrals and temples, prophets and angels. Trails lead deep into side canyons and up narrow ledges to waterfalls, serene spring-fed pools, and shaded spots of solitude. So diverse is this place that 85% of Utah’s flora and fauna species are found here. Some, like the tiny Zion snail, appear nowhere else in the world. The Colorado River helped create the Grand Canyon, while the Virgin River-the Colorado’s muddy progeny- carved Zion’s features.
There are only two trails which are handicap accessible, the Pa’rus Trail and the Riverside Walk. We started down the Pa’rus Trail which is at the base of the canyon and knowing we had limited time to spend at Zion, we opted to forego this Trail and head up to Riverside Walk. We drove the RV to The Lodge and picked up the shuttle from here. The shuttle had limited seats as they removed every other seat from the shuttle in a staggered pattern. Masks were required as well.
Once we got to the top, I took a few pictures of the kids and then we agreed on a time Betsie and Eli needed to meet us back as we still had a drive ahead of us. Will, Anna Cate and I walked slowly the entire Riverside Walk which delivers you to the gateway of the canyon’s Narrows. I wish we could have gone further and seen more as the views were incredible, but due both to lack of time and it not being accessible to all, we could not. This is one of the many parts about having a disability that is hard and often times frustrating (and why we often have to divide our time); however, we always try to find the silver lining.
The silver lining today was Anna Cate walked 1.79 miles herself to the end of the Riverside Walk!!!! I couldn’t believe it. She had a smile the whole time and was ha-ha-ing to everyone who walked passed her. On the return walk, she caught a ride on dad for portions of the way back. We think in total she walked 2.7 miles of the 3.58 (roundtrip)!!!! Talk about a memory for the books!
After Zion we picked Pawley up and started our journey to Heber City, Utah which was just under a five hour drive. The drive was beautiful as the landscape was breathtaking. I never thought we would like Utah as much as we have and we all have said how we want to come back! Each town in Utah we loved and Heber City was no exception.
We pulled into the Mountain Valley RV Resort around 8:20 pm. The views, our site, the bath houses, everything was top notch! It was simply a gorgeous RV Resort. We enjoyed dinner outside and for the first time had to wear sweatshirts and some of us had blankets on our legs too! It was a great evening. Our neighbors were really nice and they used to live in Midlothian! They have retired to Eden, Utah which she promised me I would love. Another place to put on the list! Utah has really been a huge hit for us!!!!
It was a late night, but we were having so much fun and knew we could sleep in a little bit later in the morning! I apologize for the late post today; however, when you hear about our day we had today, tomorrow it will all make sense. Plus the cell coverage has been spotty lately!
4 thoughts on “Day Twenty-Two: Zion National Park and Our Drive to Heber City, Utah”
Way to go Anna Cate! The Millers love Zion and Utah too. Hugs to you all. 😍
Maybe we can all meet here again one day!!!
I’m glad you had a taste of Zion! It is amazing. When you plan your return trip ;-), be sure to allow plenty of time to include Bryce Canyon, which is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s truly a fairyland. Utah (along with some “nearby” places in Arizona is incredibly diverse and breathtaking.
By the way, an important note – dogs are not allowed on any trails in the National Parks.
P.S. For your return trip – and for others who will want to visit this amazing area: If you drive from west to east from Zion (or vice versa, of course), you will be traveling through a tunnel and encounter some serious switchbacks. When we traveled that route in our smaller RV (36′), we had to book reservations to go through the tunnel (and back then it was $20.00 or so) to have a ranger close the tunnel in both directions so that we could travel the center lane due to the low clearances!