23 Apr 2014

The Great American Road Trip by abbieredmon

23/40

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Left my motel early (early!) this morning to get to Zion in time for sunrise. I'd read that one of the nice spots to watch the sun rise in the park was behind the history museum, where you can see the "Watchman" towering over the canyon and the sun shining on the rock faces as it comes up over the ridges on the east side.

There were a couple of other guys with tripods there when I showed up, and about eight or ten other people showed up within a few minutes -- some with tripods and cameras, and some with blankets, just hoping to catch a few pretty colors. The sky was pink behind us, but nothing too spectacular was happening in front of us.

A bit of a bummer, but it was still nice to enjoy the park that early in the morning, when it was quiet and cool. Being there before 7 also meant I got an awesome parking spot (under a tree!) at the visitor's center, where I parked for my hike.

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After parking at the visitor's center, I took the park shuttle up to Weeping Rock, where you can access the trailhead for the Observation Point hike, the one I'd decided to do on my day in Zion.

The hike starts off with a bang -- switchbacks that lead you up the side of the canyon wall, with a view that keeps getting better and better as you go up! In the morning, this entire stretch is in the shade, too, which is nice!

Then there's a flat stretch in the hike, where you walk through a few tighter cave-like spaces and, it seems, switch from hiking up one mountain to hiking up a different one. There are some sunny sections in this part, but since I'd started early, it wasn't too bad.

What I'd call the third "section" of the hike takes you back to the switchbacks -- this time more exposed ones. You start to get glimpses of what you're going to see when you get the top, and it's exciting!

The last stretch is a flattish, sandy walk over to the viewpoint, which is truly immense.

It was a hazy when I did the hike which was a bit of a bummer for photos, but it was still spectacular! I couldn't stop looking at the view. I definitely think I chose the right hike for Zion since I really only had time for one.