Hiking Southern Utah and Northern Arizona in 5 Days

We just did a 5 day hiking trip to Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. We aren’t hard core hikers, so covering over 30 miles in just a few days, was a big deal to us. But we did see some beautiful country.

For us, the easiest way to get there is to fly through Las Vegas. From there we made the 2 hour trek to St. George, Utah. We had a tentative plan in place. We had ideas of what we wanted to do, but also we needed to pay attention to the weather. The first week of March can be iffy. We had been 2 years early and the weather was fabulous. But this has been a rough winter for everyone and this area was no different.

Day 1

The first day we decided to hike the Observation Point in Zion National Park. What’s so beautiful about this is we could look down on the hike we had done 2 years ago, Angels Landing. This 8 mile round trip hike with a 2100 ft elevation gain is a tough one, but the views are outstanding. We took pretty much the whole late morning and afternoon to do this. We went at a slower pace and really took it in and also took time for a long lunch just because we could.

View from Observation Point in Zion National Park. This makes the hike worth it.

In order to get to Observation point you have to go through this beautiful canyon

Hiking Zion is definitely a bucket list trip.

After the long day we decided to grab a quick bite at Bit and Spur in Springdale. There is nothing like Mexican food and beer as a great reward for such a tough hike.

Day 2

The next day we decided to try Buckskin Gulch. This is around 20 miles in one direction. We had talked about going in 6 and coming back out. We also talked about going in 10 and having a second car there and only going one way. But all our plans were stopped when the rangers told us that the gulch was so full of water it was impassable. You do need to be prepared to walk through some water, but this year it’s full the whole way through and when we were there it was not warm at all.

Wandering through Buckskin Gulch

Buckskin Gulch is stunning. Southern Utah has so much to see

Even though the water kept us out of most of it, we still enjoyed what we were able to do at Buckskin Gulch.

We used Wire Pass to get to Buckskin Gulch.

This was our only obstacle getting through Wire Pass.

We still ended up with a great plan. We decided to see just how far we could walk into it before we hit water. We entered at Wire Pass. My brother knew of a rock jam we would need to get over, but we were not prepared for what we saw. Fortunately there was a group of people going down at the same time and they offered to help us. It was perfect. We just needed someone at the top with a rope to hold on too so we could go down the 8-9ft drop. Plus there were people to catch us.

From there we entered Buckskin Gulch. We could go left or right. We chose left. The gulch was really tore up with hoof prints. It was like walking on a super soft sandy beach, so lots of work. We didn’t go too far, maybe 1.5 miles before we saw the herd of cattle that caused all the hard work. Even though it was really cool walking through this way we decide to head back and try the other direction. We knew that the other way would be much more spectacular. Again we only made it maybe a  mile before we hit the water. Still it was worth the effort to try.

We easily made our way over the rock jam. I say easily, but it wasn’t pretty how we got everyone up. But we did get all four of us up.

We then relocated ourselves to Kanab for a few days to be closer to some of these areas. We used Homeaway for this booking and we were pleased with the townhouse we got.

Day 3

Between the first day of hiking with the elevation climb and the fact that our car was parked way far away from the trailhead (so it was actually almost 10 miles) and they wandering through the very sandy gulches for nearly 6 miles (again before we hit Buckskin we had to walk 1.5 miles) my calves were pretty sore. So this became a break day, even though we still covered a lot of ground.

Antelope Canyon

Exploring Antelope Canyon

The main agenda was Antelope Canyon. It was as spectacular as all the pictures make it look. You simply cannot take a bad picture in there.  Check out my post 5 Tips for Antelope Canyon. These are a few tips you will want to know before you go.

Not far from Antelope Canyon is the beautiful Horseshoe Bend. There is a little walk involved in this, but so worth it.

Horseshoe Bend Page, AZ

As we headed back to Kanab we took a different route. We followed the Vermillion Cliffs for miles and they were just stunning to look at as we drove. Even though we did end up wandering at least 3 miles it was nice to have a down day.

Day 4

Back to St. George and back to Zion National Park.

We started they day out with a leisurely hike to Canyon Overlook right by the tunnel. This trail is supposed to only be about .5 miles but it takes you to a beautiful view of the canyon without a ton of work. We sat up there in the sun for a bit. This day was rather chilly, so we were not chomping at the bit to hit colder canyons or anything like that.

Observation Point at Zion National Park

After lunch we decided to do the Emerald Pools hike. The lower pools were closed, but we made our way up to the middle and upper pools. The last one has a waterfall and just t show you how cold it was, the falls was partially frozen.

Upper Emerald Pool at Zion National Park

After another rewarding day we made our way back to St. George to a fabulous dinner at the Painted Pony. We had made all our own breakfasts at our AirBnB’s and packed all our lunches and made all but one dinner, so we were ready for a treat. This place was a treat!

Day 5

This is the day we were to part ways with my brother who was going to head back North. But we all decided on one last hike. This was probably the most ghetto hike we did, but the most rewarding. How he found it I will never know and I can’t even tell you how we got there. It’s just outside of Snow Canyon. We basically pulled up beside someone’s house on a dirt road, and walked through a gate. Following directions we did eventually find a trail marker. We were off a bit and made our way over some crazy rock jams. I was sweating pretty good over some of them. No ropes, but we made our way down. But we eventually found the canyon we were looking for and it was epic.

The tightest slot canyon we went in all week in Southern Utah

Slot Canyon in St. George, Utah. Crazy how tight this one is

The terrain was pretty cool in Snow Canyon

After ending on a high note we finally parted ways. Then we began our drive back to Las Vegas because we had a flight out the next day. Before we got to Vegas we stopped at Valley of Fire and took in the last of some beautiful scenery.

Hiking Valley of Fire outside Las Vegas. Finding the trail is part of the fun.

Arch Rock at Valley of Fire

Canyon slot hikes at Valley of Fire

Day 6

Time to head home. We heard that it was raining pretty hard in Portland. It’s been a long rainy, snowy and icy winter, so we did what anyone else would do when they see the weather in Vegas in 80 degrees.

You reschedule your flight home.

We had booked a night at the MGM Signature through HotelsTonight, but could only get that rate for 1 night. So we found an AirBnB at the Polo Towers for just $99 a night. Only catch was we needed to be out of one place by 11 and not into the next one until 4. We still had our car so we drove to Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam

After wandering around for a bit we made our way back to Boulder City where we found this cute restaurant called Little City Grill with outstanding food. Then back into Vegas. Lunch was so big we never had to eat dinner.

Pastrami special. We made it just time to get the last one of the day. Excellent!

Kobe Beef Burger. Loved this burger and the sweet potato fries were pretty awesome as well.

Bathroom humor

Day 7

Enjoy a great breakfast out at Mon Ami Gabi. This place has over 3000 yelp reviews and they were spot on. Service was outstanding, portions were large and the price was not over the top, considering it is Vegas. The rest of the day was mostly spent laying poolside enjoying all the sun we could. We grabbed an early dinner at Olives in the Bellagio and then went off to a show, Mat Franco the winner of America’s Got Talent. It was so incredibly good.

Mon Ami Gabi Las Vegas

The Beef Carpaccio from Olives at the Bellagio in Las Vegas

Day 8

We finally decided to go home.

 

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