Drive Hike Repeat
Bryce Canyon National Park: Where to Stay (+ A Bonus Family Friendly Hike)

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Bryce Canyon National Park: Where to Stay (+ A Bonus Family Friendly Hike)

When you drive into Zion National Park, you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. Bryce Canyon makes that feel like an urban center. All that to say, there are not many places to stay near Bryce. 

We rented the basement of a couple's house in nearby Tropic, Utah, about 30 minutes away from the main park entrance. The town of Tropic was pretty quiet (i.e., we didn't see many stores open) when we were there but we heard from some friends that the local pizza place in town is quite tasty. The town did have a grocery store which got us the supplies we needed to cook in our rental and carry with us for hiking. 

Here's the link to where we stayed. The host family was very friendly but also gave us plenty of space. Aside from being incredibly clean and comfortable, the best part of this rental were homemade chocolate truffles from the hostess. Seriously amazing. Order some even if you aren't staying! We were pleasantly surprised that she delivers fresh chocolates each day. We were en route to visit some friends after Bryce and we ordered some to take with us. SO GOOD. 

Another place to consider staying, especially for a one night stay, is the Best Western in Bryce Canyon. This motel is in a bizarre town that's a complete tourist trap but right at the entrance to the park. If you want proximity, it can't be beat. 

Whether you stay in Tropic, Bryce Canyon, or elsewhere, stop by Mossy Cave and Waterfall along the northern perimeter of the park. Less than a mile round trip and you can get a feeling of being in the hoodoos plus see a cave, creek, and waterfall. If you're coming from Tropic, the parking lot is on your left; if you're coming from the park toward Tropic, the parking lot is on your right. 

Mossy Cave Falls in Bryce Canyon

Note: This is not a sponsored post. We have never stayed at the Best Western near Bryce Canyon. We did love our rental in Tropic and wanted to share out it. IIf you have a rental or hotel near a National Park and would like a review of it, please contact us to see if we think it is a good fit for our blog.

Where to Stay in Bryce Canyon National Park

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Zion National Park: Angel's Landing

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Zion National Park: Angel's Landing

If you're going to Zion National Park, you're either going to hike Angel's Landing or spend some time looking at the amazing rock formation from below.

The hike is a rigorous 5 mile hike that involves a ~1200 foot climb up the infamous Walter's Wiggles and then a shimmy across another .5 miles of narrow trail over rocks and ledges (with more elevation gain) to reach the official landing. You'll be out of breath from climbing or breathless from fear for the entire hike. The experience and the view are worth every breathless step. 

This hike is often rated as one of the most strenuous/adventurous/extreme hikes out there. And it's legit. But chances are you, can make this hike if you are in moderately healthy shape. Not even really healthy. Just healthy enough to exercise with a willingness to go your own pace on the climb and descent.

After the steep section of Walter's Wiggles, you'll reach Scout's Landing and if you're afraid of heights or unsteady, there's no shame in stopping there. Because Angel's Landing is such a popular destination, foot traffic can provide an additional obstacle to maneuver on the next section of trail. If it's quite crowded and you're already second guessing your ability to make it out to Angel's, we advise you spend some time at Scout's Landing to re-evaluate. If you want to make the full hike, though, do it! There are chains on the tricky parts. After narrow or scary parts, there are often wider or safer parts to remind you that you're not completely crazy. That is to say, the whole half mile isn't completely terrifying. And the actual landing at the end is wide and flat. So you have a nice spot to rest before retracing your steps up.

We visited Zion the week before the mandatory park shuttle was running and so it was easy for us to start our hike before the foot traffic was too heavy. We left the parking lot in the dark and made it to Scout's Landing and the tricky part of the hike in early daylight. We missed the best light for taking photos but we could easily see our way and footing. We had the landing to ourselves for a few brief minutes. And then we passed over 100 people on our return to the car. Start this hike as early as you can tolerate and if you are staying in the lodge in Zion, take advantage of your proximity to the hike to get a start on the hike ahead of daylight. 

If you only have one day in Zion, you might enjoy an alternative hike to Observation Point. I'll talk about that hike separately so keep an eye out for it!

Tip: Carry your water and a coat in a small backpack. You'll want your hands free to hold onto chains or other hand-holds and the weather at the top will undoubtedly be chillier than the clothes you'll want to wear for the strenuous climb up. 

Note: This hike is not particularly child-friendly. The route to Scout's Landing is steep but manageable for children with hiking experience or parents strong enough to carry them up in packs. But the hike from Scout's to Angel's landing is not recommended for children. 

 

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