The last stop on our road trip out west also happened to be a pretty grand finale. I had never made it to the Grand Canyon, but it’s certainly one of those ‘bucket list’ places in the U.S. to visit.
This part of the journey brought us to Arizona, where we went to the Grand Canyon’s south rim. Despite the fact that it was October and we were in a pandemic, it was still somewhat busy at the Grand Canyon. I can only imagine what it must be like there under normal circumstances!
For the highly adventurous traveler, you can hike to the bottom of the canyon, but it takes quite a bit of time so instead we just walked along the canyon’s outlook trail with the other tourists. When you walk from the parking lot and are finally able to see the canyon at the trail it really does blow your mind just how massive it is and how many millions of years it’s been around – definitely one of those wonders of nature.
As you walk along the trail it’s inevitable that you’ll want to take pictures, and there are some spots where you can take some epic – albeit somewhat scary – adventure shots. Seriously, if you attempt this please be safe. Now, one of the rather annoying aspects of traveling to the most famous places in the world is that everyone is clamoring to get their photo, only it’s not just a photo – it’s a photoshoot. Not once, but twice, my dad and I had to wait for several groups as they took photo after photo, changing poses and holding up the line. And just when you think they’re done, boom now they’re taking a video. Eventually I just chimed in and asked if we could get in to take a picture. My advice to fellow travelers is to also be considerate of others when getting your travel pictures. If you see other folks waiting on you, then don’t take an endless amount of photos. It’s just common courtesy.
As far as lodging, visitors can stay in the nearby town of Williams, which is pretty cute and the famous Route 66 heads through there. For dinner, I recommend the local restaurant Pine Country. They have incredible food and even a bunch of delicious-looking homemade pies. To this day I regret not trying one of their pies...
I’m grateful for the sites I got to see along this trip – places I had never imagined I’d have the time or chance to get to. The road trip definitely had it's challenges, but we made it to California in one piece. And speaking of pie, finally seeing that sign that says "Welcome to California" is definitely the cherry on top of a great road trip.
One of the meanings of the word ‘Zion’ is that it’s meant to describe a heavenly place – a Utopia if you will. I’m not exactly a very religious person, so I did look that up to confirm. That being said, it’s no wonder one of the most stunning national parks in the United States bears that name. I didn’t think it could get much prettier than Capitol Reef, but Zion National Park took my breath away. It’s absolutely stunning. You’ll find yourself taking more pictures than you can possibly imagine. That’s because you think you’ve seen the most beautiful spot, only to see one even more gorgeous just 10 minutes later.
The park was our second stop in Utah. It was significantly busier than Capitol Reef, but it’s understandable considering Zion is more well-known. Global pandemic or not, I’d definitely recommend trying to go here during the off-season. It was busier, but we were able to still find parking and the weather wasn’t unbearably hot.
Dad and I decided to hike the Watchmen Trail, which is one of the moderate ones. It seems a lot of other people chose to do this trail too. In the time of Covid, it can feel a little nerve-wracking since the width of the trail itself isn’t very big, but everyone was super courteous of one another. People would take turns going to the side so others could pass. It can feel like a long hike going up, but I honestly think it’s for several reasons: you’re going uphill and you’re regularly stopping to let others pass and to take pictures. The top of the trail was pretty but honestly there were so many incredible views on the way up as well. Going back down we even spotted some deer relaxing in the shade. Of course, it’s best to just leave the wildlife alone, which we did.
As far as lodging, visitors can camp at the park, but if a hotel is your thing, you can stay in the nearby town of Hurricane. I kid you not, that’s the name of it.
Next up, it’s the last big stop on our trip: The Grand Canyon
About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer, comedian, and television producer who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com