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  • Writer's pictureRobin Gilmore

Hiking Utah & Arizona

Our nation's national parks offer some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. With the amazing views, fascinating wildlife, and fun activities available, vacations to outdoor destinations like these have skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic. Meghan and Adam spent 10 days and hiked more than 70 miles in Utah and Arizona.

Q. When and where did you travel?

A. We traveled to Utah and Arizona from July 8 - July 18, 2021.

We flew to St. George and picked up our rental car. We spent the first two nights in Zion National Park, where we conquered Angel’s Landing and the Narrows, as well as other hikes around the park. Then we spent a day hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park (hoodoos galore!) and Buckskin Gulch (you need to off-road 8 miles to get to this lesser-known spot but it's SO worth it if you want to see a slot canyon and can’t get into Antelope Canyon).

We spent a night in Page, Arizona to see Horseshoe Bend, then went on to the Grand Canyon. We hiked 4.5 miles down and then back up on the Bright Angel Trail…it was HARD and HOT. After a few days at the Canyon, we went to Sedona. While there, we climbed Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock. We also rented an ATV for a half day and tore it up on the trails! Finally, we rounded out our trip in Scottsdale and flew home from Phoenix.

Q. How was the weather?

A. Not gonna lie, the weather was HOT. I mean, HOT HOT. Like excessive heat warnings with upwards of 120 degrees possible.

But we knew that's what the weather would be like going to the desert in mid-July. So, we did our best to time our hikes for the mornings and evenings, and we drank A LOT of water (CamelBak water bottles are a MUST). We also took advantage of the pools at our hotels to help cool down.

There were a few times it actually rained, which had a high likelihood of causing flash flooding. This can be really dangerous if you are out hiking, so make sure to pay attention to the forecast!

Q. What was your favorite part of the trip?

A. The scenery in general! BREATHTAKING, everywhere we stopped. Zion is AMAZING, but it was also the busiest place that we visited. The least busy was Buckskin Gulch since it is not well known.

Q. How did COVID affect your trip?

A. Not much, luckily! Of course, we had to wear masks on the airplane and in the shuttles or buses we rode in the national parks. There were also some restaurants that had limited hours in a few places. Also, Antelope Canyon was closed at the time due to COVID. But other than that, there were not mask mandates and everything was fairly “normal”!

Q. Was there anything you wish you would have done differently?

A. I didn’t get a hiking pole until part way through our trip because I thought I was going to be able to tough it out on my own two legs…but I am SO glad that I did! 70+ miles in one 10-day span can do a number on your body! Otherwise, we had an amazing trip and wouldn’t change a thing!

If you haven't taken a national park vacation yet or you'd like to take another one, let us know! Whether it's a national park vacation, an all-inclusive getaway, or a custom Europe trip, we're ready to help you plan your next incredible trip.

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