A few weeks ago we shared Aaron Medeiros' tips on staying fit and active during your vacation and learned more about his spectacular trip to Havasu Falls in Arizona. Here the athlete and trainer shares his experience in Zion National Park, Utah with us...
On your IG account we spotted some images from Zion, Utah and they looked fantastic. Could you share a little bit about that trip with us? It’s one we’ve also been wanting to do ourselves for a while.
Absolutely. My fiancé Juliana and I spent three days there during springtime last year.
Day 1* we just drove through the park to see everything. Zion is only about 13 miles long but it has so much to offer. We actually spent the first night outside of the park at a place called Lava Point Lookout ~20 miles outside of the park, since we were looking for a secluded spot and the campgrounds inside Zion National Park were pretty busy.
The beauty of this place is that it overlooks the Zion Canyon and it is quite isolated. It is a first come first serve campground that’s rarely crowded because it’s simply not well known. A well kept secret so to say.
Day 2* we enjoyed our morning coffee while watching the sunrise and then drove back into the park. That day we did two hikes. Hike #1 is Angels Landing. It is beautiful but also a bit dangerous. Parts of it are very tricky and all you have is a chain to hold on it, but you are not clipped in. Some fatalities have occurred over the years and you should to be a somewhat confident hiker to take this one on. Roundtrip is only about 3 miles long but it is steep.
At the top is a huge landing, maybe ¼ mile wide and it’s absolutely stunning and one of the top spots in the park. But as I said, I wouldn’t recommend doing this if you never hiked before, a bit of confidence will be needed to be safe during the hike.
Hike #2 right next to it is the Emerald Pools trail. You can hike between all four pools and again the route is around 3 miles long. The pools aren’t so much for bathing and not hot springs but they are stunning to look at.
At the end of the day we enjoyed a few burgers at the MeMe’s Cafe, the lodge on the Zion Campgrounds and spent the night at the Watchman campground that wasn’t too packed and quite nice as well.
Day 3* we did two more hikes before starting our drive back towards LA. The first one is called The Narrows. It’s about 15 miles long and takes you into the Virgin River that runs through the national park. You walk through water and for that you need solid hiking boots that have good grip. And ideally a hiking stick.
The water eventually gets about chest deep so waterproof gear is advisable, especially during colder seasons.
At times the canyon gets very narrow, 3 to 4 feet wide with 40 foot walls shooting up straight around you and that’s a very cool experience.
I highly recommend it, especially if you never hiked through a river before. It’s probably my favorite hike of the whole park.
The last track we did before heading home was Zion Canyon Overlook. It is a well-known spot to observe sunset from, so if you’re looking for an IG worthy shot, this is the place to go. It’s an easy 1.5-2 mile hike and very doable for every fitness level.
What’s next on your travel itinerary?
The current plan is Hawaiian Islands. We’re looking to put that together and I’ll be bringing the surfboard if we manage to pull it off soon.
I’ll happily share more about our experience when we’re back.
For now we also make it a point to go away every other weekend and sleep under the stars for one night. Joshua Tree is a good spot for that. Close to LA, the desert allows for perfect star gazing. Just make sure you don’t pick a night of a full moon. It’s still beautiful, but it’ll be more difficult to see the stars naturally.
That sounds heavenly and like a solid plan for 2018. Aaron, thank you so much for taking the time and chatting with us. Your Zion and Havasu tips are fantastic and I really enjoyed hearing about your thoughts of being in nature, unplugging and finding meditation in activity. It’s time to hit one of these parks this year, that’s for sure!