The Best Hikes in Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, & The Grand Canyon
Slot canyons, loop trails, waterfall-fed pools, and sand dunes are some of the sights that make the best hikes when visiting Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, & The Grand Canyon. Folks plan for months on end to explore these spaces and part of that planning is focused on hiking expeditions in the grand outdoors. There are a handful of signature hikes you must try when in America’s finest national parks that our Classic Journeys tour experts guide you through. You can leave the planning to us and expect scenes you may never have even imagined if not for setting foot here. These are but a few of the unbeatable experiences you can look forward to when traveling on your next adventure with us.
Sunrise Walk Along The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is, no doubt, one of the best spots on the planet to view a magical sunrise or sunset. Most travelers go so far as to time their visit just to catch a glimpse of the sun’s drama in these parts. A memorable sunrise walk along the rim of the Grand Canyon is part of your itinerary with Classic Journeys. This does mean an early start but one you’ll never regret. At the north rim are great views of Bright Angel Canyon and the result of many years of natural erosions. The south rim offers views of the vast expanse of the canyon lit up by the rising sun and the Colorado River resting at the bottom. Several spots vying with each other for the most spectacular vantage points means you’ll be spoiled for choice when choosing where you’d like to be perched as the morning rays appear.
Exploring Zion Narrows
If you are headed to Zion, then you must do the Narrows. Ask any hiker to the area and they will concur. This is the signature slot canyon hike at Zion, as it follows the Virgin River with parts where the canyon closes in on you so you’ll need to wade in water. Many call this a once-in-a-lifetime experience traversing the narrowest sections of the canyon, with walls a thousand feet tall towering over you. Utah’s first national park sure knows how to throw you a challenge, but the rewarding experience is worth the effort. This is a masterpiece millions of years in the making that you get to admire in-person—make the most of it by gearing up well and investing in some sturdy footwear so you can wade through the water with ease while taking in the beauty all around you.
Wall Street at Bryce Canyon
Utah’s smallest national park offers you a short but incredible experience at its only slot canyon. At Bryce Canyon’s Wall Street, you hike down a series of switchbacks to arrive at the floor of the canyon. This is considered one of the most accessible and most beautiful of slot canyon descents, especially given the time of day that you visit—the way sunlight shines through this space is quite a spectacular sight. The trail here might be closed many months of the year but with Classic Journeys, you’ll be visiting at just the right time and our expert guides can share so much information about the topography. This is a moderate hike in terms of effort and length of time, but we can bet you’d want to spend longer here just for the views. Photographers will have a great day with switchback snaps galore. The red rock walls here are among the brightest and on a clear blue-sky day, you’ve got a prized shot.
This hike at Zion Canyon has three sets of pools at different parts of the hike, simply called lower, middle, and upper Emerald Pools. The pools are at the base of a waterfall, and you get to see nice views of the valley and the river on this hike. The lower Emerald Pool trail is considered more scenic with its lush gardens of fern and moss while the Middle Trail is steeper, featuring an unpaved pathway, and short switchbacks leading you to two middle pools—Red Arch Mountain, Cathedral Mountain, and Mount Majestic can be viewed from here. The Upper Emerald Pool Trail is much more steep and rugged, but our trusted guides can lead the way safely to the secluded oasis you will find at the end. About 100-200 feet of elevation between each level makes for a short yet worthy hike and a truly memorable experience.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes Park
Seeing as these are the only major dunes the Colorado Plateau houses, you know you’ve already visited something truly unique when you first sight the vast expanses of sand dunes in a light rosy hue. We’re talking close to 3,700 acres of sand enjoying the best weather at about 6,000 feet in elevation. The Coral Pink Sand Dunes Park is located just a few miles drive away from Zion and offers a completely different vista from the hoodoos the area is typically known for. The gorgeous coral pink color is courtesy of sand from the Virgin River and area mountains, resting where you now see them, due to simple natural erosion. The saturation of minerals in the sand brings out that pretty color. Juniper forests and red sandstone cliffs add to the allure. When here, watch out for the Coral Pink Tiger Beetle, one of the rarest insects found in the United States.