Gaby's Guide to Zion - where to eat, where to stay and my favorite hikes!
A few weeks back we packed up all our camera gear, the most off-brand and ugly hiking boots and some walking sticks and headed to Utah! My parents and their friends were going on a walking trip through Bryce + Zion Canyons and I did what I do best… invited myself along! Truth be told, we were welcomed with open arms but I knew Thomas would have the best time with his photography while we were there so it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.
We walked upwards of 10 miles a day and everything was incredible except for the 1 brief moment I had a mild panic attack and thought I was going to die. More on that later. We spent the majority of the time in Zion, and so many of you commented on my instagrams asking where to go… so let’s do this! Gaby’s Guide to Zion coming your way in 3, 2, 1.
First things first - we went with Country Walkers. It’s an organized walking group that requires you to be in pretty great physical shape. That way everyone can power through some epic hikes. We had 2 fun guides that showed us around and were there to lend some mega knowledge about what we were seeing during all our hikes. I’d HIGHLY recommend them to anyone that wants to see Bryce + Zion!
Before we get into my brief flirtation with death - lets talk about food.
Cafe Soleil - perfect place to grab some sandwiches in the morning and then hit the trails!
Thai Sapa - without a doubt the best meal we had the entire trip. Seriously delicious thai food!
The Spotted Dog - who says no to a giant bowl of pasta after hiking for 10 miles. No one.
Springdale Candy Company - you must go for the ice cream!! Too good to pass up and calories don’t count on vacation, right?
Oscar’s Cafe - endless bowls of guacamole and pitchers of margaritas? What more could you ask for?!?
Okay so onwards to some of my favorite hikes:
Canyon Overlook Trail - gorgeous, easy, a must!
Echo Canyon - another easier hike that you can’t miss!
The Narrows - easily my favorite hike of the trip. We geared up at Zion Adventure Company and wore water suits (which I HIGHLY recommend) because then we spent the next 5 hours trekking through a rive to get to the narrows. It was insane. So beautiful. Beyond quite and peaceful. And I was super happy about my dry suit as I passed people on the hike that were literally turning blue because they were wearing their shorts and sneakers. No thanks.
Angels Landing: Okay so here it is. About 3 miles of switchbacks lead up to Angels Landing. The switchbacks weren’t easy, but they also felt great (especially after a night with LOTS of food). Once you get to the top of the switchbacks you’re looking at angels landing. It’s a half mile there and back that takes you over a narrow path (with a chain) and you have to maneuver around people going up and down to get to the lookout point. Doesn’t sound awful right? Ya… except that there are sheer cliffs on either side of you and theres only about 4-5 feet of walking space. I was panicked leading up to the hike and then once we got there I was like, you got this Gaby, go for it! And then about 100 feet into I had to stop to let some woman down the mountain and she looked at me like, you need to move, and I looked her right back and said, hell to the no. you move. And then I burst into tears and had to turn back. Clearly I had a fear of heights that I didn’t know existed. So…. if you’re not freaked out by heights, go for it! My mom did the entire hike and said it was breathtaking and I totally chickened out. If you’re a little panicked like me, text me from the top of the mountain while you wait for the rest of your party to make it across.
And we stayed at the Desert Pearl Inn which was seriously PERFECT. They had wifi throughout the property which is enough to make me a happy camper. But on top of that the rooms were giant, the beds were so comfortable and they had a pool and jacuzzi so I could rest my tired body after a day of 10+ miles.
If you guys are into adventure travel then you absolutely MUST add Zion to your list!
Photography by Thomas Dawson
Beautiful pictures! I visited Zion/Bryce back in May. It was truly phenomenal. If you ever go back, you should go to this small town outside of Bryce called Panguitch. They have an ice cream shop that also has a black and white movie theater. Very cute. Best ice cream I've ever had! All homemade and the owner is delightful!
Hi Gaby-- I started following your blog a few weeks ago & was shocked to see a Utah post! I often forget what we've got just a 4 hour drive away. Thanks for the recommendations -- I didn't know about the Desert Pearl and think it would be the perfect getaway for the week of Thanksgiving. Booking now! We sometimes visit Bryce Canyon and I love to hear all the languages being spoken while hiking the trails and in the restaurants. We're often the only English speakers except for the waitstaff-- my kids love it hearing all the French and German conversations going on around us 🙂 We will definitely be trying all your eatery recommendations!.
Oh my! We were thinking about taking an impromptu trip before heading back to Cali from Vegas, but now I'm glad we didn't. We would not have been prepared. I definitely would need to mentally prepare myself for the Angels Landing trail. I'm scared of heights, but really want to get to the top!
Seriously gorgeous photography and an entertaining recap of the trip! My advice - conquer that fear of heights!!!!
Gorgeous photos. What a stunning place to visit. Thanks so much for sharing your adventure.
Better to be cautious of heights than free fall down a cliff! Wise move!
Excellent Post! We love Zion. We too have hiked Angel's Landing but my husband is scared of heights so he didn't want me to attempt the last part. We will definitely try The Narrows on our next trip. Beautiful pictures.