This summer I had the pleasure of guiding for Austin Adventures through my favorite National Park, Zion! And if you think a rainy forecast will dampen your vacation, think again! While it’s true that rain in the park or even the surrounding area can quickly turn destinations such as The Narrows or Angels landing into areas too dangerous to visit, that same rain can transform Zion’s sandstone walls into a breathtaking oasis!
We’ll start with a scenic drive though the east entrance of the park, be sure to take pictures of the numerous waterfalls, this is a site that most park visitors do not get to witness! Our first stop is the Canyon Overlook hike a one mile round trip trail that is safe in the rain and overlooks Pine Creek canyon along the way. This is a great introduction hike into Zion on any day, but is especially beautiful as rainclouds cling to the red canyon walls as you get your first glimpse into Zion Canyon!
Next stop, Emerald Pools! This desert oasis is at its best in the rain. The Lower Emerald Pools trail can be a one or two mile hike, depending on were you start and takes you past beautiful hanging gardens and to your main course of a 180 degree waterfall! Take a stroll behind the waterfall if you don’t mind the extra mist! This walk in Zion Canyon is always enjoyable, but only in the rain do you get to experience it in its full glory!
The Narrows may be closed for flood danger, but we can still take The River Walk at the Temple of Sinawava to appreciate this sacred protected fork of the Virgin River and peek into the opening of the grandfather of all slot canyons known as The Narrows. Wildlife is extra active in the rain and a great time to see animals like dessert tree frogs that are usually in hiding.
Now we’re in for an all-day adventure all the way to Observation Point! This 8 mile round trip hike takes us to one of the most spectacular view in the entire park. On the way we’ll pass through Echo Canyon which is transformed from a dry slot canyon into a river with a waterfall hundreds of feet about the canyon floor. We’ll enjoy lunch at the famous Observation Point and look down Zion Canyon towards Angles Landing several hundred feet below us! This hike is in my top five favorites of all time, but it is usually too hot to attempt in the summer season, unless it’s raining!
So next time the rainy forecast gets you down remember when one trail closes another one opens, you just need to know where to look!