Saturday was forecast to be a scorcher and I didn’t feel like hiking at Mount Charleston so I decided it was time for a change in Latitude. After looking at the forecast, and tossing around ideas with the wife, I decided that we would go to the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park for our weekend hike. Getting to this particular section of Zion would be easy enough, but the drive would add a few hours to our day. In the end it wasn’t anything worse than our trips over to Death Valley so overall it was a great decision.
Looking at the park map, and a few Google searches, it seemed that Taylor Creek Trail would be a great choice for our first hike in Zion. On paper it is listed as a 5.5 mile out-and-back hike with little elevation change that would take us deep into one of the Kolob Canyons eventually leading to the “Double Arch Alcove”. The plan was to go on our hike, then drive to a picnic spot, and then drive over to Kolob Reservoir located west of the trail, definitely a day full of activities.
The drive to the Kolob Canyons visitor’s center was uneventful. Continuing on to the trail head we arrived just before 10:00. We slathered on the sunscreen, gathered up our packs, and headed up the trail leaving our lunch in the cooler with the car.
Overall the hike was a great time. Lexi had tons of fun crossing the creek we were following up the canyon, each of the dozens of time she did. We chit chatted with a pair of ladies heading up the trail, she tried to climb up a tree, and we enjoyed the nice cool shade at the Double Arch Alcove. I don’t know how many times we crossed that creek up and back. It felt like every few steps we were crossing. The worst part of the hike was the very end where you’re required to hike up what felt like a flight of 100 stairs to get back up to the trail head. After all those stairs I felt like I was going to die.
I wish we had brought our lunch with us to eat at the alcove instead of driving to a different spot. The alcove would have been the perfect place for a nice lunch break; however the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint did provide a perfect spot to sit back, relax, enjoy lunch, while taking in all the natural beauty. The view was absolutely amazing! All the wonderful red rock cliffs were something to behold.
After lunch it was time for us to “get lost”. This is when I just drive around aimlessly wanting to see what I can see.
We drove back to the 15, headed south to Toquerville, on to La Verkin, and finally to Virgin. Once in Virgin we hung a left to head up Kolob Terrace Road in the hopes of spending some relaxing and dipping our toes in Kolob Reservoir. We got there at the perfect time just as the sun was starting to go down and the temperature was perfect. Driving around the lake we eventually got to a point where my little car would make it no further. So I turned around and stopped at a nice looking spot for us to get out and enjoy the lake. This is where Lexi found her rock challenge.
There was a rather large rock a couple rock hops away from the shoreline. Lexi saw it and wanted to go out to it. Of course she was also afraid of getting wet. With a lot of encouragement, and time, she finally made it out all on her own. She was really excited to make it all on her own; however to make it back she needed a little help from her pops.
Seeing the sun rapidly sliding towards the horizon we packed up and flew over to Lava Point Overlook just to the south of the lake. We arrived at the most perfect and photogenic time of the day, right at sunset. I grabbed my camera and tripod and started shooting like mad. I couldn’t get enough of the red that was reflecting off of the more popular part of Zion. With the tripod already setup I told Lexi to pose; I setup the camera on the timer, and made a run for it to catch the last picture. The view was truly amazing.
After the sun finally went down it was time to head home. We relaxed in the car for a bit sharing a couple oranges before hitting the road. Driving back through the Lava Point campground we came across two deer crossing the dirt road. Lexi was super excited to see them, especially so close.
That wraps up this trip. I do believe that Lava Point campground is in our near future. It is only six camp-sites and they are first-come first-serve, but I hope if I get there early enough on a Friday, or maybe late Thursday, that won’t be an issue. The altitude was high enough that the temperatures were significantly lower than what we experienced at the Kolob Canyons. We’ll just have to wait and see.