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A 3-days itinerary hiking trail in Zion National Park 2023

Red Canyon aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon Zion National Park

Zion National Park is a hiker’s paradise, offering a wealth of trails and experiences for outdoor enthusiasts. With its unique geological formations, stunning red rock landscapes, and diverse wildlife, Zion National Park is a must-visit destination for hikers of all levels.

Tips for Hiking in Zion National Park

  • Plan ahead: Be sure to research your chosen trail in advance, including any permits or other requirements that may be necessary. Check weather conditions and bring appropriate gear and supplies.
  • Stay on the trail: Zion National Park’s fragile ecosystem requires hikers to stay on designated trails to avoid damaging the environment.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks: Zion National Park can be hot and dry, so it’s important to bring plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and fueled.
  • Wear appropriate gear: Wear sturdy hiking shoes with good traction, and dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions.
  • Respect the wildlife: Zion National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bears and mountain lions. Be sure to respect their habitats and avoid approaching them.

Below is the sharing of Michael Albrough’s a 3-days itinerary hiking trail in Zion National Park 2023 :

Day 1 : Buckskin Gulch

The original plan was to drive out on House Rock Valley Road off of 89 to the Wirepass TH for a short hike into the Buckskin Gulch slot canyon, but the intel we received from other travelers on the road warned us off due to deep puddles, mud and impassable sections. We opted instead to pull off onto the upper section at the Buckskin Gulch TH. We hiked in about 2.5 miles and decided to turn around prior to dropping into the slot section due to waning daylight.

Buckskin Gulch

Buckskin Gulch

Buckskin Gulch

Buckskin Gulch

Buckskin Gulch

Buckskin Gulch

Day 2: Peekaboo Slot Canyon (Red Canyon) and Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park

Peekaboo Slot Canyon (Red Canyon)
Although disappointed that we weren’t able to reach the slot canyon section of Buckskin Gulch the day prior, we were rewarded with a pretty epic alternative. I had not heard of this slot canyon located near Kanab, UT until a couple we encountered hiking the Buckskin Trail the day prior mentioned it to us. Access to the trailhead is a short drive off of 89, but the road leading down to the slot canyon section is a fairly long one with deep sand and possible mud and muck. Signage at the trailhead warns that the road is only suitable for 4-Wheel-Drive (4WD) High Clearance Vehicles.
It specifically states that All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) and lower clearance vehicles are not recommended. We happened to be driving a 2022 AWD Chevy Traverse rental car. I decided to ignore the warning and give it a go … . After all, when you have a rental, aren’t you supposed to drive it like you ain’t got a dime in it. We made it out to within 1/2 mile of the slot canyon insertion with very little difficulty, but it was very slow going. Kudos to my expert driving skills …
The slot canyon was incredible, as you can see from the photos. So much so that Orion made the decision to forego Antelope Canyon and their price-gouging guided tour.
Red Canyon aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon
Red Canyon aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon
Red Canyon aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon
Red Canyon aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon
Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park

If you’ve been following along up to this point, you will have noticed that the weather was presenting some challenges for us throughout our trip. I had secured permits to hike Angel’s Landing a few months prior with the hope that the weather might cooperate. That was definitely not the case. After starting the day exploring the Peek-A-Boo slot canyon, we made our way in the direction of Zion, hopeful that the rains would hold off long enough for us to at least make an attempt on the summit. We began the climb up the switchbacks, including the famous Walter’s Wiggles, in the direction of Scout Lookout which represents the beginning of the ‘Chains Section’ leading up to Angel’s Landing Summit.

We encountered light rain as we ascended, but it wasn’t enough to deter us. Once we reached Scout Lookout, we collectively decided to continue on and monitor/assess as we went. After traversing a few chained sections we reached a saddle of sorts where the trail descends briefly and then ascends on the final approach. At that point, the rains became a bit heavier and we were running out of daylight. After spending a couple of minutes taking photos and shooting some video, there was a sudden clap of thunder ⛈️and a flash of lightning ⚡. That made the decision to continue on or abort an easy one. It was definitely time to GTF out of there. On the way back down the clouds opened up, pelting us with cold pouring rain. Fortunately, we all made it safely back to the vehicle to begin our return drive to Kanab.

Not more than a couple of miles down the road, the rain turned to sleet and then heavy snow 🌨️❄️. Anyone who has driven UT-9 from Kanab to Zion/Zion to Kanab knows how treacherous this road is in dry conditions. It quickly became a bit of a nightmare as we made our way along the winding road with its hairpin turns and sheer dropoffs, in the dark with swirling snow that was accumulating at such a high rate that the road became almost unrecognizable. This turned out to be the most harrowing and dangerous part of our entire trip (see the map pics and attached video). In dry conditions, this is a 41-mile drive that takes just a little over an hour.

Due to the conditions, we were forced to travel at 15-20 mph the entire way, which made the trip around 3 hours in duration. It was near whiteout conditions which caused a level of snowblindness due to the swirling nature of the falling white stuff. I had my passengers working with me to keep an eye out on both sides of the road to ensure I stayed as centered as possible. It was definitely a white-knuckle experience, and we didn’t get any relief until we pulled into Kanab where the street lights provided us with much-needed illumination.
This was not the adventure any of us were looking for, obviously, but thankfully we survived.

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

Day 3: Toadstool Hoodoos and Glen Canyon/Lone Rock

After the previous day’s heart-pumping adrenaline rush on Angel’s Landing and UT-9, we saddled up to make our way back in the direction of The Valley of the Sun.
Highway 89 offers access to a multitude of options for shorter, less intense adventures, so we took advantage of a couple. The Toadstool Hoodoos are located directly off of 89 in close proximity to House Rock Valley Road, which leads out to Buckskin Gulch and The Wave. These unique erosional formations are a short easy 1.6-mile round trip hike from the trailhead and are definitely worth the time to explore.
Lone Rock is located in the Glen Canyon/Lake Powell area, a short drive off of 89. Less than two years ago when we visited this site, water levels were much higher. They have since lowered significantly, leaving Lone Rock high and dry.

Toadstool Hoodoos and Glen Canyon Lone Rock

Toadstool Hoodoos and Glen Canyon Lone Rock

Toadstool Hoodoos and Glen Canyon Lone Rock

Toadstool Hoodoos and Glen Canyon Lone Rock

Toadstool Hoodoos and Glen Canyon Lone Rock

Toadstool Hoodoos and Glen Canyon Lone Rock

Zion National Park really is a place worth exploring, with proper preparation and a sense of adventure, hikers can explore some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in the American West.

Toadstool Hoodoos and Glen Canyon Lone Rock

All photos by author : Michael Albrough .You can follow him at https://www.facebook.com/MichaelAlbrough

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2 comments

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