First taste of Zion is from Observation Point

Arch rock east entrance to Zion

One of the favorite hikes in Zion is the hike from the valley floor up to Observation Point at about 6,200 feet. But thanks to a tip in the Lonely Planet Southwest guidebook, the Adventurers saved over 5,000 feet of work.

L and D atop Observation Point in ZionThat’s because they went in from the East Mesa Trailhead which is accessed through a family resort off Highway 9. They hiked about three miles along along a ridge crest before descending 500 feet to the Observation Point (photo right).

Looking down, they were frankly unimpressed. Yosemite Valley is much, much more spectacular they thought. But that was before they got back to their car and entered Zion proper through the East gate after going through a very dark, mile long tunnel.

There was one spectacular rock formation after another (example top), with lots of opportunities to pull to the side of the road and take photos. The rocks may not be quite as red as those in Sedona but the they’re pretty darn majestic.

The ended the day’s journey at quite a wonderful establishment called the Desert Pearl Inn. There room is along the rushing Virgin River, which provides a pleasant place to sip a glass of wine and update this blog.

Dinner was at the adjoining restaurant, 9 East, which served “real” food. And to D’s taste the best cheesecake he’s ever had in his life…

Hike/moderate (only for distance)/7.3 miles

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