Expansive landscapes, towering hoodoos, deep canyons, and magnificent arches are just a few features of the four national parks I visited over Labor Day weekend.
In going back to school, Sunday now means catching up on homework, early Monday mornings, and caffeine always at hand. It is a challenge to get back into the swing of things, but nothing can compare to a three-day weekend as students begin the transition back to school.
I chose to spend my weekend visiting national parks. Most people would want to spend their weekend relaxing and enjoying the summer sun before temperatures drop and the leaves change colors. I, on the other hand, saw four days as the perfect amount of time for an adventure.
I did not go on this adventure alone, but with another who shares my passion for visiting the national parks. The four national parks that we visited included: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a wonder to behold immediately upon entering the park. There are sheer cliffs that over 3,000 feet, massive buttresses, and deep alcoves. The Virgin River had a significant impact carving out the canyon walls, shaping Zion to its present day form.
Angel’s Landing is one hike that the park is known for. It is a strenuous 2.5 mile hike, with a closing half mile that requires chains as you ascend steep cliffs to reach the top.
Despite a difficult conclusion to the hike, specifically on slippery rocks after a light rain. However, the view from the top was amazing and it is evident where the hike received its name.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is covered with spires, also known as hoodoos. Bryce Amphitheatre encompasses six miles of the park and is the most popular of the scenic viewpoints.
The park boasts the “best three mile hike in the world,” and after taking the advice of the park ranger, I am going to have to agree with that statement.
There was something new and beautiful to see around each and every turn. A few of the specific landmarks along this trail include Thor’s Hammer and Wall Street.
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park was the largest of the national parks that we visited. The park is an expansive 527 square miles with views of canyon mazes, unbroken scarps and sandstone pillars.
There are numerous viewpoints to see the vast landscape. Island in the sky is just one small section of the park that encompasses 23 miles. Hidden in deep gorges among the canyon walls the Green River and the Colorado River connect, both major forces in shaping the basins of the park.
Arches National Park
The name of this national park simply says it all. The park contains more than 2,000 natural arches, the largest concentration of arches in the country.
The Delicate Arch is a bit of a trek, but worth the views that conclude the end of this hike. The hike is designed to for a dramatic finish, as the arch does not come into view until the very last step of the hike.
Four national parks in four days is an impressive feat and well worth the adventure.