August 14, 2020 11 min read

Looking to make EPIC memories on the road this Pandemic? @keahna_hall has Utah & Arizona dialed in for you.

Everything you need for your next UTAH/ ARIZONA ROADTRIP! 

We recommend planning your trip to run through the week as much as you can rather than through the weekend, to avoid as much traffic as possible (both on the road and your destination).

BIGGEST TIP:

Buy an “Annual National Parks Pass.” This isSUPER important as you were in and out of a lot of national parks that cost money to get in! The annual pass is $80 and 1000% worth it! We did not do this and REALLY regret it! We paid to get into every park and probably spent twice as much. (Each park cost about $25-$35 each to get in)

Trip Itinerary: From San Clemente California 
  • THURSDAY: -Leave home and head to Las Vegas (pit stop: gas, lunch etc.) Arrive in Zion by 5pm. Went and hiked The Narrows.
  • FRIDAY: Peekaboo Canyon, Hung out at the Campground and floated in the river, hiked Watchman’s Trail that afternoon
  • SATURDAY: Bryce Canyon Horseback Riding, Waterhole Hike/ Swimming
  • SUNDAY: Overlook Trail and left for Page (Lake Powell), Hung out at the beach in Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, Airbnb.
  • MONDAY: Drove to Grand Canyon, stopped in Flagstaff and arrived in Sedona that afternoon
  • TUESDAY: Hiked to Devil’s Bridge, hung out in town for a bit
  • WEDNESDAY: Left for Home
ZION *GOAL*: Try and get there BEFORE 5pm if you can, so plan accordingly)
Where to stay:

There are a few options in Zion that are super nice.
Below are both hotel and camping options:

Camping:

1.Zion Canyon Campground (where we stayed) Phone #: 1 (435) 772-3237
Address: 479 Zion Park Blvd. Springdale, UT

Pros:

  • Runs right along a beautiful river (recommend getting a campsite that is backed up to the river… holds both tents and RVs.
  • VERY clean. This place was beautiful and had super clean bathrooms and showers.
  • Extremely centrally located.. next to a few of our favorite restaurant in town and across the street from a GREAT market.
  • Very family friendly.
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Not actually inside the Zion Park… probably a 5 minute walk but if you don’t have a pass you will need to pay every time you go in.
  • If you are tent camping, make sure you have a pad to sleep on. The ground is a bit rocky.

2.  Watchman’s Campground  Phone #: (877) 444-6777 Address: UT-9, Springdale, UT 84767

Pros:

  • This campground is right inside Zion Park, so you will not need to pay to get into the park!
  • One of our favorite hikes is connected to this campground
  • Campsites are more private

Cons

  • Does not run along the river BUT is a super short walk to it but you will not be camping along the river
  • A little more rugged… campsites aren’t as clean cut as the Zion Canyon Campground BUT still very clean.
  • Not as close to downtown area

Hotels:

1. Zion National Park Lodge Phone #: (435) 772-7700
Address:1 Zion lodge, Springdale, UT 84767

This place was beautiful and in the hub of Zion National Park. It was stunning and very nice. They have cute hotel cabins you can stay in and not far from The Narrows so you don’t need to worry about parking etc.

2. La Quinta Phone #: (435) 627-5280
Address:792 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767

This hotel is super clean and REALLY nice. It is backed up to the canyon and has beautiful views. The pool is great and very family friendly!

3. Quality Inn & Suites Montclair Phone #: (435) 772-0266
Address:1516 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767

We stayed in this hotel the last night because we miscalculated the amount of nights we were staying in Zion. This wasn’t as massive and crazy as the La Quinta BUT super nice and clean and perfect for what we needed. It was at the farthest end of Springdale, away from the Zion Park entrance. It was very clean and cute!

TIPS:
  • You want to stay in Springdale. This is the closest town to Zion!
  • If you want to float in the river at Zion Canyon Campground, don’t bring cheap blow up tubes… they won’t work that great. I recommend getting some rafts from Costco.

What to do:

1. *The Narrows: *ABSOLUTE MUST*

Earlier I mentioned that I would try and get to Zion before 5pm if you can. You’ll want to try and make this happen so you can go straight to The Narrows after you are settled in etc. Best time to go is sometime between 5:30-6:30.

The road only lets a certain amount of cars to go all the way to The Narrows parking lot and if you go during the day you will NOT get a parking spot and will either have to walk or bike 7 miles to get to the narrows. (You can rent electric bikes if you want)

Most people are leaving between 5:30-6:30 so you have a better chance of being let in to get a parking spot. The sun doesn’t set till about 9:30pm in June so you have plenty of time if you go around this time.

The Narrows is absolutely STUNNINGand probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done! You are basically walking through Zion’s Canyon Walls through a river and its just breathtaking

Tips:

  • Invest in some water shoes (we got some off Amazon for $13 and they were perfect!) The ground is all rocks. You can definitely walk in running shoes but may take a while to dry off so I’d go the water shoes route if I were you.
  • If you are unstable in your footing, bring a long stick or you can rent one at the local adventure store (sometimes people leave their sticks at the beginning the trail for others to grab… but don’t rely on this) We didn’t use sticks and were fine but were also pretty wobbly haha
  • You can walk as short or as long as you want in The Narrows. I believe that it is about 8 miles long ish. We walked about 2-3 miles and it took us about 2 hours and it was perfect!
  • There were a lot of families there BUT I wouldn’t go super far with littles.
  • Make sure you call right before you trip to ensure that the Narrows is in fact open (and ask when you get there) It is closed at certain times of the year to ensure that the water level isn’t too high due to snow run off.

2. Watchman’s Trail

We LOVED this trail! Its about a 3 miles round-trip hike that takes you to some incredible views. It wasn’t easy as its pretty inclined the whole time but absolutely worth it. We did it late afternoon and wouldn’t recommend going any earlier than 5/5:30 as its so hot with little shade.

  • Bring water!!
  • The entrance to this trail is in the Watchman Campground.
  •  Might be a bit rough for kids but if they were rock stars then go for it!

3. Watering Hole

  • This watering hole is kinda off grid BUT was so peaceful and amazing. It has a little waterfall and was perfect!
  • Great for kids
  • To get to this waterhole (coming from Springdale) you’ll want to follow the road that takes you into Zion and pass the entrance of the road that takes you down to the Narrows. There are some switchbacks. The THIRD switchback is where you will want to park.
  • There is a little brick wall bridge thing you will see. If you can park by that, you will be golden. Once you’ve parked, you’ll walk to the left of that brick bridge, following that trail. STAY TO THE LEFT. If you go to the right, you wont be in the right place. You’ll end up hitting a little stream. Follow that down and it will lead you to the pool and waterfall. You’ll have to walk over some rocks and big boulders but its absolutely worth it!

4. Overlook Trail

  • We did this trail on our last day at Zion and it was perfect.
  • Fairly short but harder than you’d think (still fairly easy though)
  • Leads you to some pretty great views and worth the stop
  • To get to this trail, if it at the END of the long tunnel that you pass through as you drive through Zion… its very obvious. If the parking lot is full, you’ll just have to park on the side of the road and walk (super easy)

Where to eat:

  1.  Whiptail Grill (Mexican) SUPER good!!! Like woah! Its right next to Zion Canyon Camground
  2. The Spotted Dog (American) Also SUPER good!! Always busy so put your name in Located directly across from Zion Canyon Campround
  3.  Zion Pizza and Noodle Co. (Pizza) REALLY good! BOMB! very long wait ALLLLL the time. You’ll be waiting a while but its super tasty!
  4. Hoodoos General Store Really great smoothies and sandwiches! Located across from the Zion Canyon Campground and has everything you’ll ever need!

OTHER THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU ARE STAYING IN ZION

Peekaboo Canyon
  • This was super rad! We had a tour planned for Antelope Canyon in Page but it got cancelled so we were refereed to this tour and I think it was much better. It is much more intimate and you learn a lot!
  • We used “TC Tours” (They are closed on the weekends so keep that in mind)
  • We liked this tour BUT wish we would have done the quad tour! I looks way more fun! The drive out to Peekaboo is tiring in a car so I think the quads would be a better way to go. The quad tours go a bit faster through the canyon and the tour we took really takes their time and ensures that you get some of the best pictures so its up to you the route you want to take.
  • We meeting location is in Kanab UT and its nicknamed “Little Hollywood” because most western movies are filmed here (a lot of celebrities come here)
  • If you have time to eat in Kanab, go to “Rocking V Café” and get the “Kanab-A-Dabba- Doo Burger” (SO STINKIN’ GOOD!!)
Bryce Canyon- Horseback Riding *THIS IS FOR SURE A MUST*
  • This was a HUGE highlight of the trip and I highly recommend it! You are unable to walk down into Bryce Canyon and seeing it on horseback is the coolest experience!
  • The views are absolutely breathtaking and incredible!
  • The company we went through was GREAT and matched you up with horses based off of your personality and experience. They have been doing this for a long time and love Bryce Canyon!
  • It was extremely affordable for what it was (I think they should have been charging more)
  • It can get very windy in the canyon so be sure you bring a jacket and a hat (that wont fall off)
  • Do the 9am tour… 100% worth it!
  • You will have to pay to get in (National Park) *Unless you have a pass!

This is the tour information: Bryce Canyon Trail Rides (we rode with tour guide “Kitty”) (435) 679- 8665 $65 each Once you are done with your ride, be sure you walk the trail that lets you overlook Bryce Canyon… the views are incredible!

PAGE (LAKE POWELL)
  • We spent the night in Page to help break up the traveling and so we could see Horseshoe Bend.
  • Highly recommend going to Lake Powell’s Beach and floating there for a bit. Super relaxing. If you are looking to do something a bit more adventurous, rent Jet ski’s that you can ride around Lake Powell (its huge). BUT you need to reserve these well in advance. We went day of and they were sold out for the next 2 weeks.
  • There is an entrance fee, but if you have the national parks pass, you’ll get in for free!
HORSESHOE BEND
  • Horseshoe Bend is in Page and the coolest view! Its beautiful. There is a $10 entrance fee but its worth it!
  • BEST time to go is Sunset… you don’t want to go any sooner.. the sun is too harsh. We went around 6-6:30 ish
  • Where to stay: We stayed in a beautiful Airbnb that I highly recommend! (Antelope Canyon Horseshoe Bend Casita, Hosted by: Richard)
GRAND CANYON
  • Due to some work they were doing, the only entrance that was open was the South RIm. DO NOT put “South Rim” into your navigation… Google is wrong and will take you somewhere else. We learned the hard way.
  • How to get to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon:
  • Have your navigation take you to Williams AZ (you should be on the I-40 West)
  • You’ll then look for Route 64 North and that will take you straight to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
  • Most things require a tour of some sort so you know!
  • You will have to pay to get in BUT if you have a national parks pass you will be good to go!

*Note: If you are looking to walk along the “Sky Rim” at the Grand Canyon, that is on the opposite side of where you would be right now (closer to the Las Vegas side).

SEDONA

Where to stay:

  • We stayed on a Horse Ranch which was SUPER rad, BUT wasn’t in the hub of Sedona so be aware of that. We don’t regret staying here but if you would rather be a little closer to the cute town and the hiking areas, than I would look elsewhere. The link to our Airbnb is  (Sedona’s Wild Horse Ranch- Private Casita, Hosted by: Bonnie)

What to do:

Devil’s Bridge
  • The coolest photo op! HIGHLY recommend! It was an intense hike though but 100% worth it! There were a lot of kids hiking it though, so its doable!
  • If you can, I’d recommend getting their as early as you can so that you can get a parking spot and so that the area wont be overly crowded.
  • How to get there: You’ll want to send your navigation to “Mescali Trailhead” (you’ll follow Dry Creek Rd. and then make a right on Long Canyon Rd. and the parking lot will be along that… keep your eyes peeled because its easy to miss)
  •  There is a parking lot you can park in. DO NOT cross the street and follow that “Mescali Trailhead” you’ll be going the wrong way. *Make sure you follow the trail that is right in front of the parking lot (there’s like a billboard that has a map on it… that’s the trail you’ll want to be on… follow the signs and it will lead you straight to Devil’s Bridge!)
Watering Hole
  • There is a really nice watering hole that is secluded and kind of a secret that I recommend going to! It is seriously beautiful and perfect to swim/float in and great for kids as well.
  • How to get there: (*easy to get lost so follow directions*) You’ll want to send your navigation to “Crescent Moon Ranch.”
  • There is a bit of a “Y” in the road. One way takes you to a parking lot and the other way takes you down a road to a few ranches. Go straight into the parking lot.
  • Park in the lot and then walk down the pathway that is blocked off… it says “no trespassing” but you are allowed to go down there.
  • There will be an opportunity to either go straight down the dirt path OR about 5-minutes down the path (from the top) there will be a trail to the left…. TAKE THE TRAIL TO THE LEFT. It is a little steep but is much quicker to the water hole. Enter the green gate and the little beach/watering hole is right there! ☺

Where to eat:

  1. Red Chopstick (Chinese Food): Super tasty!
  2. Berry Divine Acai Bowls Closer to the Sedona Town area on your way to Devil’s Bridge but SO YUM!
  3. Oak creek Espresso Close to Aribnb and tasty
  4. Firecreek Bakery Close to Aribnb and tasty
*ALL THESE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE BASED OFF WHAT @keahna_hall did, WHERE WE WENT AND WHAT WE WISH WE KNEW BEFORE GOING! There are plenty of other places to stay/eat/do so take this list as more of a guideline ☺

Zion National Park Summer 2020

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