I have a collaborator on this blog post, Ignacio Rodriguez, a “compadre” of mine who happens to be from the same little town in Mexico as myself called Jerez in Zacatecas and he’s given us some helpful tips if you are planning your next trip to be at Zion National Park located in Utah. Ignacio is also the Co-Founder of Dos Gallos Collection and I had him featured on my blog in the past.

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After seeing his amazing photography I have added it to my bucket list of destinations to visit. Thanks Ignacio for sharing your experience! Hope you all enjoy as much as I did reading and browsing the colorful photos.

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Ignacio: You want to start preparing for your trip to Zion by having the proper equipment. You will want to have proper hiking shoes, comfortable clothes for the weather and time of year, water bottles, backpack to carry snacks and food, a walking stick, camera and an open mind ready to be amazed.

I recommend at least two days to appropriately experience the main hikes. But even then you will still barely scratch the surface of Zion. A friend just recently went for a day and is already planning his next trip there to do it right.

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One thing I highly recommend doing is booking your hotel and your trip with a minimum 1-2 months in advance. Over 7 million people visit the park annually so a lot of the hotels will sell out months in advance. There are also permits needed to get to certain areas of the park and those sell out fast and months in advance as well.

Getting there

To get to Zion National Park I rented a car which cost me about $18 a day. I like to rent when doing these long road trips so that I don’t worry about being stranded in the middle of nowhere in case my car breaks down. If you go with multiple people then you have the option of getting a bigger vehicle.

During the busy season which is from March-September there is a shuttle system that transports people from different parts of the park to other areas. It is very easy to use. You can park at the visitor center and ask the park rangers for flash floods warning levels at the narrows and different trails that you can hike that day depending on the weather and your physical fitness level.

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Sleeping there
You can camp at Zion National Park, but I have not done that yet. My first time I went, it was during the summer of 2015. Since I booked my trip late the closest hotel I could find was in St George, Utah. Which is about a 35-45 minute drive from Zion National Park. There is a town called Hurricane which is closer. And Springdale, Utah which is the best place to stay when going to Zion National Park as it is just next to the gates to the park. I stayed at a place called Terrace Brook Lodge in the town of Springdale during my recent visit. This place cost me $50 a day. It is not the nicest, but you will spend most of the day at the park so it was no big deal to me. They do have a continental breakfast as well.

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Food/diners
We ate at Wildcat Willis in Springdale and the food there is amazing! I had the “chile verde” omelet and it was delicious with the right amount of spicy kick to it. For dinner I had the country fried steak which was filling and tasty. The next day I had some amazing rack of ribs.

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Snacks for hikes
I make it a point to bring more food than I need because you never know if you will spend more time hiking than expected. I like to bring fresh fruit like apples and oranges as well as protein bars, trail mix, and even pop tarts because of the high amounts of sugar in them. They will give you that quick boost of energy needed. You will be burning a lot of calories and be far away from any places that sell food for a long time. I also bring 2 or more 16 oz. water bottles with me on any hike.

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You will also be without cell phone signal for most of the time in the park so putting it on airplane mode is the best thing to do to conserve power.

Angels Landing
Angels landing is one of the most popular hikes at Zion National Park. It is about a 3 hour hike and you go up some steep inclines and will quickly find out if you are afraid of heights. You want to be safe and if you do find out you are afraid of heights then it is best that you stop where you feel comfortable. Halfway through this hike you arrive at a location where there are chains embedded into the mountain so that you can grab onto and not fall down the steep cliffs. But if you are brave enough to venture to the very end of this trail the views are mind blowing.

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The Narrows
The Narrows Arrows hike is also a very popular hike at Zion National Park. It is about a 4-6 hour hike. You hike up a river with huge canyon walls on both sides. It is a picturesque hike the whole way as you go in and out of shady areas where sometimes the sun only hits when it is directly above. This hike can get exciting as sometimes you will be waist deep in water to keep going up. It can actually be a one way 10 hour hike, but if you are being time conscious then 2 hours up the river will be enough. As you will be coming back for another two hours.

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Canyon Overlook Trail
This is the shortest hike I’ve done at Zion National Park and the final view once you reach its end will be just as rewarding as Angels Landing and the Narrows. It is fairly easy, but can be a bit challenging at parts during the winter if there is ice. It is about a one hour hike in total.

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Zion National Park will make you want to keep exploring other national parks in Utah such as Bryce and Arches National Park. But one of the reasons I also love Zion is because it is relatively super close to us who live in LA. If you have it on your bucket list, check it off NOW. You will wish you would have done it earlier.

Text and All Photo Credit: Ignacio Rodriguez (DO NOT reuse or re-purpose without his consent).

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