Archive for the ‘hiking’ Category

Happy Holidays from Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

This past year was the first time I had heard of Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, and now it’s one of our family’s favorite places. As 2013 comes to an end, it’s great to look back on all the fun from this last year.

Ragnar Trail Relay – April

The Ragnar Relay hosted by Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort this last April was an event never to be forgotten. And it’s coming back! Zion Ponderosa will be hosting another Ragnar Trail race April 24-26, 2014.

Ragnar Trail Relay

Ragnar Trail Relay is coming soon to Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

 

 

Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks – June

Summer is the busiest time of year at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, and for good reason. The weather is warm, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park are close, and the activities offered on site are above and beyond anything else in the area. It’s a beautiful place to be.

View of Zion National Park main canyon

View of Zion National Park main canyon

 

 

Family Reunion – August

At our family reunion this August, all 52 of us had a blast at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. We hiked and biked in Zion National Park, rode UTVs, horses and climbed the rock wall and got massages. We even watched a Rodeo and danced the night away at a Barn Dance. It was a great vacation and tons of fun.

Hiking with tots at Zion National Park

Hiking with my kids at Zion National Park.

 

 

Couples Getaway – October

My husband and I enjoyed a quiet fall break by spending a weekend at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. The changing colors at Zion National Park were amazing as well as catching the sunset from the porch of our Cabin Suite.

We were lucky the US government shutdown of National Parks ended October 16, 2013 just a few days before we came, but even if we hadn’t been able to see Zion National ParkZion Ponderosa Ranch Resort had plenty of activities to keep us busy.

The sunset from the porch of a Cabin Suite.

The sunset from the porch of a Cabin Suite.

 

Thank you for sharing part of 2013 with us. We hope to see you all again soon. Happy Holidays from Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort.

Susan Strayer is an outdoors blogger who lives near Sundance, Utah. Read more at www.mountainmomandtots.com.

Observation Point – Utah’s Best View!

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Many experts claim that Utah’s best scenic view is Observation Point at Zion National Park.  This overlook stands you on the edge of a 2,200 foot precipice and offers a view across a major portion of the main canyon within Zion National Park, and far into the distance beyond the park boundaries.  Zion National Park is 30 miles in length and 15 miles across at its widest point, and Observation Point, at an elevation of 6,521′ is likely the best place to capture the grandeur of this vast expanse.

Observation Point at Zion

A view from Observation Point at Zion National Park

Most visitors to Observation Point at Zion endure a challenging four mile climb and 2,148′ ascent, from the Weeping Rock area in the bottom of the canyon, but there is a better way.

Observation Point Hiking Trail

Walking the forest trail to Observation Point from Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

From Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort’s property there is a park boundary trail-head that follows a more gentle rolling course across the Zion National Park plateau and through the forest to Observation Point.  This 3.5 mile walk (each direction) winds through the forest bending slightly northwest and then back to the southwest toward the overlook.  Approximately two miles into the hike, you’ll encounter views into a side canyon that are quite spectacular, but only serve to whet the appetite for what lies ahead.

Zion National Park Canyon

Viewing the canyon on the west, just before arriving at Observation Point.

In the last half of a mile, the course descends south to the canyon rim and then bends west before turning south again toward Observation Point at Zion.   In the last 200 yards you’ll ride the edge of the rim and encounter views into the back of the main canyon toward the Narrows, but the real view then opens up at Observation Point as you exit the forest of scrub oak, pines, and high desert foliage.

Observation Point at Zion National Park

A view over the rim at Observation Point

Sandstone layers of white, grey, ochre, and various hues of red color the striations that break out before your view.  To the left the canyon sweeps open in horseshoe fashion.  To the south the Virgin River winds through the fins and buttresses that have been eroded over eons.   To your right the main canyon cycles north and toward the narrows section of Zion Park.

Observation Point Viewers

A couple from Canada sits on the rim taking in the views at Observation Point

Plan to spend some time on the rim just soaking in all the views, and unlike others that you may encounter, enjoy the fact that you didn’t have to hike from the valley to Observation Point.

Observation Point - Best View in Utah

A young woman enjoys the solitude of this majestic vista at Observation Point.

The length of this hike from Zion Ponderosa is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes (each direction) for adults moving at a reasonable hiking pace.  Adjust your expected time based on the ability of those in your hiking group.

Zion National Park

A hiker rests on the rim to take photographs at Observation Point.

Groups are limited to sizes of no more than 12 people on trails such as this within Zion National Park.  Bring water, snacks, and appropriate other hiking supplies, and don’t forget your still and  video cameras.  Early morning is a good time to start on this hike so you can enjoy the softer light on the formations when photography is also best.  Learn more about Zion National Park.

Zion National Park – Top Ten Things To Do!

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

This list of the Top Ten things to do in Zion National Park will give you some ideas for what will be best for you and your traveling companions.

Top Ten Things to Do at Zion National Park

1- Scenic Drive: The drive between the east and west gates of Zion National Park on highway 9 is a great drive, but the drive up into the main canyon at Zion, the so-called scenic drive, is quite spectacular.   Access this drive by going down into the park and turning right after you have passed the tunnel and descended to the canyon floor:

2- Overlook & Zion Tunnel: From the east gate, just before you get to the Zion tunnel you will find two areas where you can park your car.   From here you can climb a short set of stairs and walk to the west toward an overlook of part of the main canyon.  This is the easiest hike in the park that allows you to see from the top-down.

3- Narrows Trail: At the top of the main canyon there is a mile-long paved path that is called the Riverside Walk.  This trail leads deeper into what is called The Narrows section of the park.  At the end of the paved trail you have the option of walking in the river as far up The Narrows as you wish.   Check for details on water levels at the park information center.

4- Zion Narrows: The Zion Narrows is a 16 mile long section of the Virgin River that varies in width but is where steep rock faces form the sides of the river.   This area is quite surreal and is one of the most unique hiking experiences in America.   You can start at the bottom on the Narrows Trail and go up, but some intrepid hikers will start at the top and hike down.  The upper trail-head for this hike is most easily accessible from Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort.

10 Things To Do At Zion National Park

Standing under the overhang where water exits the sandstone at Weeping Rock

5- Weeping Rock: During the main season, you can ride the shuttle to various points of interest.  One of the best is Weeping Rock where the water seeps down from the upper plateau, through the sandstone, and exits in a rock alcove.   In the spring or during a rain storm you’ll also see a waterfall here.

6- Emerald Pools: This is one of the most popular hikes in the park and leads from the Virgin River (mid-canyon) to two different pools of water up against the cliff faces.  This is a mildly strenuous ascent that leads to a point where waterfalls may also be visible at certain times of year or after a rain.

Angels Landing

From Angels Landing hikers can see the road for the scenic drive in the valley below.

7- Angels Landing: Perhaps one of the most dramatic and exciting hikes in America.  Visitors ascend mid-canyon along the face of a rock cliff, and then enter a narrow upper canyon before ascending on a back-and-forth section of trail called Walter’s Wiggles.  Beyond this you will traverse a narrow fin with a drop-off on both sides (1,000+ feet) and then ascend the last section of the hike along a spine that leads to the top of Angels Landing.

8- Observation Point: From Zion Ponderosa you can walk across the plateau to Observation Point, or you may begin a much more strenuous four-mile hike from the bottom of the park near Weeping Rock.  This hike takes you to one of the highest views of the main canyon.

Bighorn Sheep Zion

Bighorn Sheep are prevalent in Zion National Park and commonly seen.

9- Wildlife Viewing: Year-round you may be able to view deer, wild turkeys, and large birds such as eagles, condors, hawks, and ravens.  Bighorn sheep also inhabit the park’s upper east side (above the tunnel) and it is quite common to see these large animals near the road.

10- Court of the Patriarchs: One of the more remarkable views is found just after you enter the main canyon (on your right).  Here you’ll find a stopping point with a short walk (100 yards) to a view point for three large formations referred to as the Court of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).

We hope you enjoyed reading about the Top Ten Things to Do at Zion National Park.  Read more about Zion National Park – here!