Zion National Park Day Two..The Hikes That Never Were – 1-16-16
Our second day in Zion was supposed to be a day of adventure but it turned into a bit of a non starter. We got up bright and early from our hotel in Springdale and headed over to the Temple of Sinawava Trailhead where we intended to hike down along the Virgin River as far as we could manage towards the Narrows.
It was fairly cold and windy in the canyon as we started but otherwise the weather was great and we were excited to get a move on. The “trail” down to the canyon proper is really just a paved pathway. The trail was covered in snow and ice so we put our micro spikes on in order to make faster progress.
Back in August after completing my top down hike of the Narrows we had exited via this trail in order to catch the shuttle back to our car, however this particular trip the conditions couldn’t have been more different. Last time we had to weave through a sea of people just to make any progress and this time it was a ghost town with only our footsteps echoing down the trail. It was a great experience to feel like we had the part all to ourselves and at this point we had high hopes for the rest of the day. Sadly our dreams were quickly cut short as we reached a road block.
The trail had been closed for what I can only guess is falling ice off the high canyon walls above. Now some people might just hop the chain and say what the hell, but I figured since we had no helmets, and or other gear it was best to just play by the rules and turn around while we were still in one piece. I also figured being a National Park we could expect some sort of hefty fine for not observing the closure should we get caught. Since our day kind of got stopped before it even started we just turned around and decided to take a leisurely walk back out along the part of the river we could see, which was a much nicer color than the muddy red/brown I had experienced on my last visit.
Despite the beauty surrounding us it was hard not to be a bit bummed out, but we were determined to try and find something short to hike that fit our schedule so we drove back over towards the Emerald Pools. From all the pictures I had ever seen of the Emerald Pools I figured it was worth the short hike over and we figured surely this trail would be open. After parking the car at the trailhead we began walking along another similarly paved path which was a bit icier than the last one but still an easy path to walk.
The walk went quickly and we covered the distance to the lower pools in no time. Sadly, yet again we were blocked by another chain across the trail. I would really want to visit the pools again in the summer as the pool was really not much of a pool and it was not unsurprisingly for the time of year, very emerald. We debated trying our hand at getting to the upper pools but being thoroughly disheartened at this point decided to just take the hint from the cosmos and head out of Zion towards our next stop for the day.
I should note that the surroundings of all these trails are quite beautiful and a real pleasure to be surrounded by even if you are not able to make it to your actual destination.
Having not done any of the things we intended to do for the morning we packed up the car and begun our roughly two hour drive over to Bryce Canyon National Park earlier than expected. Although we were a bit bummed at the beginning of the day this extra time became invaluable as we were able to do perhaps one of the most beautiful and unique hikes I have ever done, The Queens Garden Trail. Keep an eye on the blog for my full trip report for the hike which should be posted up shortly after this post.