Zion National Park, Part 4: Checkerboard Mesa and the Canyon Overlook Trail
This was my first time into the more popular areas of Zion National Park despite three previous hikes. I had been told it was beautiful and a must-see but the reason Tom had been waiting to take me was because of how crowded the main sections of Zion are. And wow, crowded was an understatement. It was a zoo. I usually hike in out-of-the-way places when I’m by myself but lately I’ve become accustomed to hiking off trail in wilderness areas with just Tom and Abby so the sheer number of people and cars driving on Route 9 through Zion seemed heightened. But I saw some of the most amazing things, some of which could be seen just from the road, including wind-eroded petrified sand dunes and fantastic swirled cream- and pink-colored sandstone mounds.
We made a few stops at some overlooks driving east to west, walking around for a total of a couple hours but our main stop was at the short Canyon Overlook Trail. One of the most popular trails because of it’s fantastic view from the top of a thousand foot drop-off, it was extremely crowded but oh-so worth it. You can look down into narrows of the Virgin River canyon as you hike along the cliffs, under a grotto, and over exposed sandstone: Truly fantastic.
Just this section of Zion had me absolutely amazed and so despite all the people and the traffic I’m committed to returning to spend more time taking photos and seeing more of this incredible place.