I’ve always wanted to go to Zion, Bryce & Antelope – it was an idea that my friend (Kami) and I had since we both love exploring & going on new adventures together! She’s definitely my go-to coffee shop & hipster cafe buddy. For sure! :’)
We actually didn’t book our hotels & decide on final details until 5 days before leaving on this trip. We had people back out several times so we kept having to find new people to go with. Talk about major procrastination? Also, the weekend we decided to go on ended up having one of the “biggest storms” in Los Angeles in years. Freeways were flooded, windstorms were happening all night & it was just not safe to be out for too long. We almost canceled it due to safety reasons. We were going to drive out that night but decided to be safe and left the next morning instead. IT ALL WORKED OUT. So close to canceling – so glad we didn’t though!
DAY 1: ZION NATIONAL PARK
Good morning, here we are – it’s 7:30am! We’re tired but driving from LA to Vegas bright and early. We packed a bunch of snacks. Stocked up on Trader Joes dried mangos and coconut, croissant sandwiches, soft boiled eggs, fresh fruit, bread, crackers and peanut butter! We got to get to know each other a lot better during this 7 hour car ride – so much fun singing and jamming to all kinds of music!
First stop, Tacos El Gordo – Las Vegas. It was actually raining when we arrived! The parking at this location isn’t crazy like other places in the same area. There’s a large parking lot. I ordered 3 tacos!! 2 carne asada (beef) and 1 adobada (spicy pork). Let’s say, I’m not very adventurous with my meats! My 3 friends got a variety, including cabeza (beef head), lengua (beef tongue) sesos (beef brain) & buche (pork stomach). I tried a bite of each one. YOLO. First experience eating all 4 of those in 1 sitting. I like meat if it’s tender and easy to chew on. I liked all the beef parts but not the buche (pork stomach). At least I got the experience.
After eating, we headed over to Zion National Park! It was still raining but it wasn’t going to stop up! More than half the trails were closed due to safety reasons. We went on our first hike which was literally 1 minute. They closed it off because of the muddy trails. Soooo, we headed off to our next trail!
There’s no pre-booking for Zion. You just pay for admission per car when you get there. There’s 9 different shuttle stops – you stop at whichever hike/trail you want to go on!
UPPER EMERALD POOL TRAIL
The rain caused the trail to be super muddy! After a while, we stopped talking to each other and concentrated on each step we took. If we walked too quickly, we would slip. Walk too slowly, you’ll sink in and be stuck and then fall. Gotta find that balance y’know, haha!
DAY 2: BRYCE CANYON
Next stop, Bryce Canyon! You don’t need to book tickets for Bryce either. You pay per car when you get there.
We actually weren’t going to go because of the heavy snow. Our car didn’t have snow chains and we didn’t want to drive several hours here and end up having to head back. But y’know, yolo. We just went for it and it turned out fine! I didn’t bring snow shoes but sometimes not everything works our perfectly right? Bryce Canyon was gorgeous!
While driving there, we stopped several times to take pictures. Our first stop was on the highway. The background scene was the mountain and the roads were completely clear. PERFECT PHOTO OPPORTUNITY. We knew we had to take advantage of that! It was raining but we still got out the car. When it started hailing/snowing, we ran back into the car.
Me & Kami! Snow pics!
ARRIVED AT BRYCE CANYON!
JUST. LOOK. AT. THIS. BEAUTIFUL. VIEW.
The view was just beyond gorgeous. It was freezing and I almost couldn’t feel my toes but the beauty of all this definitely was worth it. I was just standing there staring at how amazing God’s creation was and how lucky I was to have this opportunity to travel and see places like this!
It may be freezing here but coming during the winter is definitely worth it 🙂 Just triple sock and double glove like I did. LOL
DAY 3: ANTELOPE CANYON
For Antelope, you need to book ahead of time unlike Zion & Bryce. They have 2 tours. The scenic or photographer tour. The scenic tour is shorter than the photographer one. If you do the photographer tour, each person in your group NEEDS to have a DSLR camera.
How it works; you walk to the canyons as a group once it’s time – in the large group you split into smaller groups of 4-5 or whatever is most convenient. Each small group has a specific tour guide that sticks with you the entire time. They take you through a route – they help you take pictures and show you the best photo opportunities. There’s upper and lower Antelope Canyon. I went to lower because most people said it was better – pictures from lower looked better so that’s what I picked and I don’t regret it!
If you go to Lower, there are LOTS of steps and ladders you’ll need to climb. They don’t allow you to take pictures or have your phone out when you’re on the stairs, which makes sense. Someone fell and died from it before :O Trust me, it’s steep and scary. You wouldn’t want to look anywhere else except the steps your feet are on.
LOWER ANTELOPE CANYON
At the end of the tour – all smiles and amazed at the beauty of this place.
Overall, I recommend a visit to all 3 of these places. I know I need to go back to all of these places eventually! There was lots of driving but so worth it! Zion to Bryce was about 2 hours. Bryce to Antelope was about 5 hours.
Tip: Book a hotel near the park you’ll be going to the next morning! Do the long drive at night rather than the morning. It’s more worth it!
Here are my ratings:
Zion National Park: 8/10
Bryce Canyon: 10/10
Antelope Canyon: 9/10
Zion: Overall, I know I’ll need to visit again since the trails we were able to go on were limited. We didn’t have much time either since we arrived late. The rain and bad weather prevented us a lot of experiences we could’ve had. I’d love to come back when it’s better weather – around 50’s. You can definitely spend a whole day here or ever more! Hiking for days!! Lots of photography opportunities here.
Bryce Canyon: It was SO BEAUTIFUL because of the snow. I know it’ll look different in the spring/summer when there isn’t snow. That’s when I need to go back! There’s many different hikes to get to the top but there isn’t a huge difference. Sunset Point is the most popular and best view in my opinion. It’s perfect at Sunset, hence the name of the hike, haha!
Antelope Canyon: You don’t see how beautiful it is until you go underground. The rocks are all formed by erosion, naturally. It’s so amazing how it all looks so perfectly formed. The guides are all super friendly and know everything very well. Ask them any question and they’ll be prepared to answer you!
If you’re planning your next trip, consider a road trip like this 🙂 I recommend it!