It can get hot here in Zion—there’s no question about that. And it will probably get hotter as the summer continues. So how do you still enjoy yourself in the blazing heat? Here are a few simple ideas that offer you a chance to stay cool without losing out on the action.
Hit the Trails Early
It’s said that the early bird gets the worm. In the case of hiking, you are going to need to be the early bird, and the worm you’re after is temperatures 20-30 degrees cooler than the main heat of the day. Pretty tasty sounding worm, huh?
The shuttles in Zion National Park start running at 8 o’clock in the morning, and that’s when you should be waiting for them if you want to get a good hike in before the real heat wave. Once you’ve enjoyed a good hike in the morning, it’s time to treat yourself to some relaxation. Most of the hotels in Springdale have pools, so don’t feel like you have to be on a trail the whole day. The wise man takes the afternoon off and enjoys the pool.
The Emerald Pools & The Narrows
Although heading up to the Emerald Pools isn’t 100% shaded, compared to a lot of the other popular trails in Zion, the Emerald Pools trail is a shady paradise. If you miss the early option or choose to spend the morning on some other trail, this route makes a nice escape from the sun in the mid to late afternoon and even offers some refreshing waterfalls part of the year.
The Narrows can be done a few different ways, but if you just want a quick, easy taste of it—and a chance to cool off—then taking the shuttle is the way for you. To access the Narrows this way, ride the shuttle to the very last stop on the canyon. You’ll then head up the Narrows from the bottom. You can’t see all 16 miles of it this way, but you can still experience the majesty and wonder of the Narrows. And best of all, you’re spending 70% of your time knee-deep or less in water.
Outside the Park
A great vacation to Zion National Park is not cheapened by leaving the park and experiencing the other natural beauties of the area. It will enrichen your experience to take a break to swim outside the park. There are two excellent reservoirs within a 30 minute drive of Zion named Quail Creek and Sand Hollow.
Sand Hollow is an almost unbelievably pretty reservoir surrounded by red rock and sand dunes. There is powder-soft sand along a good portion of the shore and a boat launch just in case you had more in mind than just swimming. You’ll find Sand Hollow not nearly as crowded as the park. And most importantly, you’ll find it full of cool, refreshing water.
Making the most of your trip to Zion sometimes means managing the hours you spend under the sun. Be liberal with the sunscreen, drink twice as much water as you think you need, and know when you need to take a break. After all, it’s a vacation, so don’t over work yourself this summer in Zion.