Since we have been boondocking for a few days at Bryce Canyon, we are behind on laundry and thought it might be nice to stop over somewhere with hookups for a night before heading to Zion National Park. We saw a great looking Passport America (membership program that gives you 50% off campgrounds!) campground and stopped there for one night. It was a great stop! We couldn’t have been happier with it for a super easy stopover between Bryce and Zion.
After our quick stop, we headed to Zion! We have been looking forward to going to Zion National Park for a while – our site at Watchman Campground has been booked for 6 months! National Parks can be reserved starting 6 months out – if you are planning to visit, make sure you mark your calendar to get a site as soon as they open for your dates. It was so nice having a site in the park and being able to walk to the shuttle or go on hikes right from our site. I highly recommend this campground (but definitely book well in advance)!
Our first day we headed to the Visitor Center to get the lay of the land. We learned about trails closed due to rock slides and which ones you needed a permit to hike. We picked out a few short hikes to go on in the evenings after work and set off to explore one of them. I’ll write another post on all of the amazing hikes we did (Emerald Pools, The Narrows, Angel’s Landing, Subway Bottom Up and more), but we thoroughly enjoyed exploring this park!
We were there for Labor Day weekend and the park was really busy. We totally lucked out and snagged a last minute cancellation for a permit for the Subway Hike. Again, I’ll post separately on all of the hikes we did, but this one was incredible! We had about a 45 minute drive from the campground to the trailhead so Austin and I left early that Saturday morning to beat the heat. We stopped by the grocery store to grab some trail snacks. Austin dropped me off while I ran in. Well, when I came back out he was lying on the ground looking up in the Jeep. Turns out, we had a freeze plug corrode through and all of our coolant was leaking out. Oh no. We can’t drive the Jeep until we fix this – what are we going to do?!
Home or Tow Truck?
Luckily, a nice park ranger gave us a ride back to the campground and we left the Jeep at the grocery store. We asked her about the parking area at the Subway trailhead and turns out there would be room for the RV. Since it was a holiday weekend, the park would be packed and the trails will all be super busy. This is one of the reasons we were so pumped to get a permit for a hike that day (the permits regulate how many people can be on a trail on a given day). We decided to pack up the RV, go get the Jeep and tow it to the trailhead. It was pretty comical, but it totally worked and we had a great time on the amazing trail! Not many people can say their home also functions as a tow truck!
Fixing the Jeep
After the hike, we towed the Jeep to the nearest town of Hurricane to try to find a repair shop. We couldn’t find anywhere to fix it, but we did buy a replacement freeze plug so Austin could give it a go. We also went on a big grocery run in Hurricane. There is a grocery store near Zion, but the prices were really, really high so it was nice to stock up with reasonable prices. Once we got home, we totally crashed after a long day!
We really need the Jeep fixed because we are picking up our friends Kelly and David in St. George in 5 days! Unfortunately, it was so corroded (the Jeep is a 1997) that we couldn’t replace it ourselves (we needed stronger tools to get the old plug out), but we found someone that could. We towed it back to Hurricane a few days later, and it is good to go. Phew!
Zion Shuttle System
One of the many great things about our campsite was being in walking distance to the shuttle. During the busy season at Zion (pretty much year round!) you can’t drive your own car into the valley – you can only take the shuttle. So, the parking areas at shuttle stops fill up really early in the day. Therefore, if you weren’t able to walk to a shuttle stop, you would be fighting the traffic to try to find a spot to get on a shuttle to then take the shuttle to your trailhead.
St. George, Utah
It was finally Friday and our friends were set to arrive that evening in St. George. We took the opportunity to explore St. George before picking them up. We went out to dinner, rode by the St. George Temple and then treated ourselves to a concrete from Nielsen’s Frozen Custard. I didn’t think I liked custard, but boy was I wrong! These custard concretes (kinda like a super thick milkshake) were soooo good. All kinds of magazines mention this place, and we totally see why! We loved the chance to try it out.
Full Weekend with Friends
After we picked up Kelly and David we drove back to the campground. We went right to sleep when we got back. The next day we set out on a long hike on the other side of the park with an amazing view of the valley and Angel’s Landing. After the hike, we watched football and hung out by the river that runs by the campground. On Sunday we hiked The Narrows which was amazing. After a fun and action packed weekend in Zion National Park, it was time to go to our next destination. Kelly and David are riding with us so that will be fun! Lake Powell, here we come!