Zion – The Narrows in Winter

You may be going into this post thinking… The Narrows in the Winter?? It must be freezing and well you might be right… It would be cold without the proper gear.

We were recommended Zion Outfitter by a local for having the best Narrows Gear. Like I mentioned in my previous post – the staff is super friendly here, they fixed a crampon that I didn’t even buy from their store! Great service.

Another important tid bit is that you need to start as early as possible… I know its hards but it will make your experience so much better! Towards the end of our hike icicles were dropping which is terrifying.

The park ranger told us that a man got a perma dent in his head from an icicle falling on him. So set your alarm, get your booties in gear and get in the water early. You will also see way less people. We saw maybe 10 total while we were in the Narrows and a whole slew of people were coming in as we were leaving.

Falling icicles, no thanks…Get an early start – no melting ice!

Also… an amazing resource was a post from Just a Colorado Gal about her experience hiking The Narrows in the Winter. Great inspiration!

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We found this map super helpful … well super helpfulish. I think we were walking faster than it guestimated. At any rate helpful to have!img_2901img_2902zionnationalparkpuxg5473zionnationalparkwhiw6512

All geared up! So cute and so dry!zionnationalparkoskk4427zionnationalparklwjd8993zionnationalparkimg_8415zionnationalparkimg_8414zionnationalparkrzvt0001zionnationalparkimg_8392zionnationalparkimg_8393zionnationalparkimg_8391zionnationalparkimg_7825zionnationalparkimg_8428zionnationalparkwvzm6915

I wasn’t expecting how much walking there would be outside of the water… many areas you could walk on dry ground.zionnationalparkimg_7836zionnationalparkimg_7838zionnationalparkimg_7837zionnationalparkimg_8448zionnationalparkimg_8445zionnationalparkimg_8452zionnationalparkimg_7840

Another potentially helpful tip would be to bring extra gloves… I fell in within the first 5 minutes so one of my gloves were wet the entire time. Actually, not terrible but if this would be a deal breaker for you… and you are falling prone than bring extra gloves. I think I fell a total of 3 times … maybe 4. hahazionnationalparkimg_7839zionnationalparkimg_7843zionnationalparkvyak6145zionnationalparkimg_7865zionnationalparkimg_7867

The views were truly unlike anything I have seen before. It was outer-wordly. zionnationalparkimg_7860

They say the camera adds 10 pounds… but I might say 20 lbs in this photo!zionnationalparkimg_8459

The best hydro sneaks – kept our feet SO dry!zionnationalparktaxt8745zionnationalparkimg_8454zionnationalparkimg_7886

Beautiful!zionnationalparkimg_7888zionnationalparkimg_7895zionnationalparkimg_7892zionnationalparkimg_7891zionnationalparkimg_7890

If you prepare for The Narrows in Winter you will have an amazing experience. This will be an experiencing I remember for the rest of my life.

From Bryce to Zion (Springdale, UT)

We woke up to negative degree temps in the morning so none of us were all that interested in getting outside for sunrise!  We did however attempt to make coffee outside on Chelsea’s campstove… not the best idea… apparently propane does not work well under these cold temps. The propane was sputtering out which lead to huge flames. We decided to pack that up, get hotel lobby coffee ( not bad if you take a bite of peanut butter granola bread first) and head to Bryce and the visitor center to learn of any trail closures.brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2134

If you have snowshoes this would be a good place to bring em out, alternatively you can rent them out in town at the hotel/restaurant/store.  Side note : Bryce has the best looking park rangers I have ever seen… not sure why they all ended up in Bryce but it was a nice surprise.  brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2141

Again we started at Sunrise, walked down to Queen’s Garden then to Navajo Trail, side stepped to Wall Street, then on to Peekaboo Loop, Bryce Point and back up to Sunset then across the rim to sunrise.  There were a lot of people around the rim but once you started hiking the trails were pretty desolate.  We ended up hiking for about 6/6.5 miles 4/4.5 hours. Again, layers are a great idea. We got really warm while hiking but once we got into the shadow of a hoodoo it would get chilly.brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2142brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2144brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2145brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2146brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2147brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2148brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2150brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2152brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2153brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2154brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2155brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2157brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2162brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2163brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2166brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2167brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2170brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2171brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2175brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2180

Another day of crampons and hiking poles! Highly reccomend. 100% needed these for the way up sunset! People were slipping and falling left and right.brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2186brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2188brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2190brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2200brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2202brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2204brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2205brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2220

Bryce is 100% one of the most amazing places I have ever been. It is beautiful beyond comprehension. Just looking back through these photos I am shocked that I experienced something so amazing… these aren’t photoshopped. They were taken by me on an iphone it is pretty remarkable.

Once we were done with our hike we decided to head towards Zion so we could start the next morning in Zion. On the way we made guacamole in the car… not the most driver friendly snack! brycecanyonnationalparkimg_2219

No campsites at Watchman Campground in Zion! Every other campground we had been to was empty.. but Zion was fairly warm, somewhere in the 40s, so everyone was out in droves. If coming around new years I would highly reccomend booking ahead or being able to wing it like us!

I won’t get into details… but we ended up having to finish cooking our dinner in a parking lot. Some of the best food I have ever eaten! Once we finished dinner we decided to head into Springdale and try to figure out where to stay.

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Much to our surprise, right outside the park we encountered a shining sign with the words ‘Brew Pub’ – we looked at each other and Chelsea pulled in the parking lot. Our server was really nice and gave us tons of helpful advice. Such as trails we should go on, where to rent our Narrows gear etc. All the beer on tap is less than 4% per Utah law, but for 4% it ain’t half bad!zionnationalparkimg_2223

Our server also told us we could head to the Bit & Spur if we wanted some higher alcohol beers… so off we went and were pleasantly surprised by the local beers we sampled.  zionnationalparkimg_2224zionnationalparkimg_2226

Looking forward to a good nights sleep before a day of exploring Zion. Since we arrived at night we were looking forward to what we would be greeted with upon sunrise.