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Monday, January 02, 2012

Hiking Zion Park In Winter


Utah has been under a mild, dry weather pattern that looks like it will continue for a few more days. Skiers are lamenting the lack of new snow. Our resorts have been making snow to keep the runs open.

Me, I’ve been hiking in our national parks, taking advantage of surprisingly good conditions. Last week I hiked in Zion and had a great time. During the afternoon the temperature climbed into the low 50s F and I was perfectly comfortable wearing a light sweatshirt.

I explored around Checkerboard Mesa and found considerable snow in spots. The snow did not block trails and I think it added to the scenic qualities – the area was very beautiful.

I also dropped down into Zion Canyon and followed the Gateway to the Narrows trail to its end. There was just one ice spot on the trail and it was sandy, so the ice was not slick. Icicles hung from the canyon wall in many spots.

As the canyon narrowed, the trail was shaded and the temperature dropped a bit, but it was still very pleasant.

I was surprised by the number of people in the park. During winter the park shuttle does not run and visitors are free to drive to trailheads and parking areas. The Weeping Rock parking lot was full and the Temple of Sinawava lot was almost full.

I stayed in St George and saw many people out on that area's great golf courses. It looks like conditions are excellent right now for hitting the links.

- Dave Webb

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