Around this time of year, when the winter seems to have lasted just long enough, we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch begin thinking of spring vacations. And we’re not the only ones. If you’re yearning for some sunshine, and can’t wait to start making plans until March or April, then check out this itinerary. It’s the ultimate week in Southern Utah!
Zion National Park
First on our list is Zion National Park. (It is the crown gem of the Utah park system.) While it is not the biggest national park in Utah, it is the most diverse – which means there is so much to see.
• Ride the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, complete with one-mile tunnel. If your riding the Grand Circle on a motorbike, this is when you get to have the most fun.
• Get dirty in the Narrows.
• Hike Emerald Pools. This easy hike is perfect for families.
• Hike Angel’s Landing. You’ll never forget the spectacular view.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is much smaller and less crowded then Zion National Park. The main attraction is the main amphitheater of hoodoos.
• Hike along the rim of the Amphitheater. The hoodoos appear to change shape when viewed at different angles.
• Check out Mossy Cave. It’s just as cool in winter as in summer. (Pun obviously intended.)
• Hike some, or all, or Fairyland Loop. This trail offers the most comprehensive tour of Bryce.
Capitol Reef National Park
This is our favorite national park in the whole state. (But, it’s also our backyard.) Highway 12 will drop you off right at Capitol Reef’s door, in the little town of Torrey, Utah. Capitol Reef National Park is one of the least visited parks in the state, so if you like solitude…
• Stop by the Gifford House. The history is interesting, but the specialty foods, desserts, and handmade gifts in the gift shop are the real draw.
• Drive the Scenic Road to Capitol Gorge trailhead. Then hike Cassidy Arch
• Hike one of the trails near the visitor’s center. Try the ever popular Hickman Bridge.
• Take a guided horse tour in the backcountry.
• Time permitting, go into the Waterpocket Fold for some canyon exploration. (If you have read any of our other blog posts, you know this is our favorite part of the park.)
Of course this itinerary works just as well in reverse order, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, then Zion National Park. It just depends where you are coming from. So if the wintertime blues have you down, just think of all the fun you’ll have if you go on this trip in the spring.