Zion National Park

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If the photo above doesn’t get you excited about Zion, I don’t know what  will! The park is a magical place where red cliffs soar above a lush green valley and hidden waterfalls offer respite from the desert heat. The fact that you can pretend you’re in the movie Avatar is a bonus!

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Hike this: Angel’s Landing
Don’t let the chains intimidate you from completing this stunning hike! Approximately 5 miles round trip, most of the steep trail is paved and offers amazing views from every turn. Zigzag  your way up to Refrigerator Alley, where temperatures remain cool even in the summer. Past that spot is a half mile scramble over rocks, with thousand foot drops on either side. There are chains to calm any fear of heights but the trail is so well maintained that chances of slipping off are minimal. As fellow hikers will advise you, “…the view from the top is worth it!”

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John cheesing before the storm rolled in!

Backpack this: West Rim Trail
If you’re looking for a moderately strenuous two day backpack trip, the West Rim Trail is perfect! About 16 miles long, you could do it as a day hike if you’re faster than my snail pace but camping overnight gives you time to soak in the views. In our case, the word “soak” was all too literal because it was pouring rain and hail for a good part of the hike.  Despite the weather, this sometimes steep hike winds around huge rock faces with magnificent views of the surrounding cliffs and valleys. Multiple freshwater springs along the trail eliminate water worries. Be sure to book your campsite in advance since they fill up quick!

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