At the end of January, Rob, his step-brother Colin and I were lucky enough to take a trip to Zion National Park to meet up with their parents for a long weekend. We started the trip at Bryce Canyon for a night and then spent a few days in Zion.
It was absolutely perfect and unbelievably beautiful! I wanted to share all of the incredible photos and memories all in one place. This post will be a long one…so bare with me!
We drove from Los Angeles early in the morning on a Thursday (it’s a 7 hour drive to Bryce from here), made a pit stop in Vegas and made it to Bryce just in time to catch this amazing view before it got too dark. Literally, we had about 10 minutes to soak it in and then it was gone.
We had hoped it would be a little sunnier, but the twilight sky made the colors of the canyon really pop.
The unique rock formations you see are called Hoodoo’s. Isn’t that a fun name? They are literally everywhere you look and it’s mind blowing to see in person. How does something like that get created? It’s insane!
It was also freezing! Coming from LA where the weather was 60 degrees, Bryce Canyon was in the 25-30 degree range. Definitely a little shock to the system, but totally worth it.
We woke up the next morning and went back into the park. S-N-O-W!!
We were so thankful that we were able to get a little glimpse of the canyon the night before, because you couldn’t see anything. This photo was basically the best I managed to get.
This is one of my favorite photos of Rob and I. We were having the best time playing in the snow and being idiots. I was so happy to have a little bit of a true “winter getaway” this year since neither of us went home to visit our families for Christmas (upstate NY for him, Minnesota for me). Even if only for a few hours, it was beautiful to be surrounded by snow.
We even had a family snowball fight that was epic!! And not to mention, I was the ONLY one who happened to fall on the ice. Completely on my butt, in front of everyone. Typical.
Then we started to make our way down to Zion National Park. It’s about a 2 hour drive. Along the way we stopped off at another hike called the “Mossy Cave”. It was a fairly simple hike, but the views and scenery were amazing.
This was the view right as you enter Zion. The markings on the rocks literally look like a giant came in an painted on them. There are diagonal lines and vertical lines that look like they were created with a really sharp, enormous knife. We were in awe.
On the first full day in Zion, we went on a hike called the “Watchman”. It was a fairly hard hike, about 3 miles round trip. Not too strenuous, but there were definitely parts that make you a little winded.
The view from the top was insane. You could see everything! 360 degree views of amazingness.
My guy. Look at that beard!
Every photo op is like a postcard. You literally can’t take a bad photo.
This park makes you feel SO small. Being in nature and listening to the quiet was exactly what I needed. After a stressful few weeks, it was good to be able to sit and just listen to the world. Looking around and seeing these MASSIVE mountains makes you realize that you’re one tiny little piece of the world, and that amazing things are possible. Things you can’t even fathom.
A breath of fresh air.
On the hike, you turned corners to views like this.
Later on in the afternoon, we made our way over to the hike called “The Narrows”. The trail leads to the very beginning of the Virgin River. Hikers can hike up to at least 16 miles, through the water and it’s even option to stay overnight. Obviously that is for hardcore hikers, but it’s an option.
It’s a gorgeous hike that is pretty flat. It walks along side of the Virgin River basically the entire hike, with gorgeous scenery all around you. The water is actually a unique blue, green color. I don’t even actually know what color you would call it.
This was the whole family! So blessed to be surrounded by such awesome people.
On our last day, we got up early to make the most of the morning before heading out of town. This hike was called the “Emerald Pools”. There were three pools- lower, middle and upper. You’re able to hike to all of them, depending on your preferences.
This is the lower pool, the easiest one to get to. You actually get to walk UNDER this waterfall and it’s gorgeous.
Here is a photo to show you the scale of this view. That is Rob at the bottom of the picture. Looking teeny-tiny!
Another cool part of this path. I was able to capture Rob taking a picture, which I’m sure turned out much cooler than mine! This hike had lots of built in steps and unique features.
I stared at this section of the mountain for at least 20 minutes. I was in love with the colors dripping down the side- the black, grey and orange. It inspired me to paint something similar. Stay tuned for that to come to fruition. Still have to get started…
Rob and Colin were always veering off the beaten path. Including climbing their way up giant rocks to get better views than the rest of us.
Seriously? A post card. Maybe I should sell these at those little gift shops- 3 for a $1.00. Ha!
Another photo to show the insane scale of this place. Rob, again, veered off the beaten path and walked around the largest pool (at the very top of the hike) to get to the other side. There was a waterfall also but it’s hard to see here. A gorgeous view and a perfect end to the trip.
Photo credit: Rob Swope. Taking in the massive size of Zion for the last final minutes.
One more family photo. I already miss Rob’s parents. He’s so lucky to have them!
This trip was one of the most incredible times. I came back to LA with a sense of calm that I had been searching for. I felt refreshed, loved, and ready to take on the world again.
If you ever have a chance, you need to get to Zion and see it for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.