Saturday, September 30, 2017

Zion Watchman Trail

Watchman Trail
Zion National Park
Trailhead Elevation: 3,923 ft.
Distance: 3.88 mi. (my Forerunner 230)
Elevation Gain: 635 ft. (my GPS)
Start Time: 7:05am
End Time: 8:38am

Trip Report:

My friend Matt and I set out from our camp site in Watchman campground and walked the camp road out until we got to the bridge over the Virgin River. Just before the bridge was the trailhead for the Watchman Trail. We began there. We each only carried a nalgene in hand and had basic clothes on. It was probably in the 50s when we got started and the skies were mostly clear. The initial trail is mostly flat and follows the river a bit until curving away from the river and then crosses a side road that heads out of the campground.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Zion Observation Point

Observation Point Trail
Zion National Park
Trailhead Elevation: 4,372 ft.
Observation Point: 6,532 ft.
Distance: 7.48 mi. (my Forerunner 230)
Elevation Gain: 2400 ft. (rough estimate)
Start Time: 11:15am
End Time: 2:37pm

Trip Report:
As an encore to our morning of hiking on the Emerald Pools Trails my friend Matt and I set our sights on the Observation Point Trail. Actually, this is really better described as the main event than an encore. When our itinerary allowed us a free day on Friday this trail quickly rose to the top of the list. We had also given eye to the East Rim Trail and the thought of completing our Zion Traverse but in the end decided to give this one a go. And we weren't disappointed.

Zion Emerald Pools & Kayenta Trail

Emerald Pools Trail
Kayenta Trail
Zion National Park
Trailhead Elevation: 3,923 ft.
Distance: 3.19 mi. (my Forerunner 230)
Elevation Gain: 400 ft. (rough estimate)
Start Time: 9:14am
End Time: 11:01am

Trip Report:
After having finished our big Western Zion Traverse on the previous day we were looking to start our "free" day with a nice easy, almost touristy, hike. None of us had ever done the Emerald Pools trails and so this became the chosen option. We hopped the shuttle from our campsite and took it to the Zion Lodge stop. Getting off the shuttle we followed the pathways to the road crossing and an obvious bridge over the Virgin River which would be our start. There was some nice signage that gives us hikers an idea of the length of the Emerald Pools trails as there are a few options to be taken along the way.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Western Zion Traverse

Route Name: Lee Pass Trailhead to La Verkin Creek Trail to Hop Valley Trail to Connector Trail to West Rim Trail to Angel's Landing to Grotto Trailhead

Lee Pass TH: 6,082 ft.
High Point: 7,480 ft.
Angels Landing : 5,790 ft.
Grotto TH: 4,296 ft.

Distance: 43.96 mi.
Elevation Gain: 5,396 ft.
Elevation Loss: 7,017 ft.

Start Time: Monday, Sep. 25, 10:51am
End Time: Thursday, Sep. 28, 12:28pm

Trip Report:

It's quite a blessing when you're able to enjoy time out in the wilderness with friends.  This year marked the third triennial backpacking trip I've been able to make with my friends Matt and Ken.  In 2011 and in 2014 we made our way out to Yosemite and enjoyed hikes in numerous areas of that wonderful park.  This year we laid out a list of ideas of hoping to try something different.  Amongst ideas, the Teton Traverse and the Zion Traverse came out as our finalists.  Both would have promised amazing views and plenty of good trail miles.  Zion was our winner.

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