I took a trip with REI Adventures in December 2008. We stayed in a lodge in Zion National Park. Our guide and assistant guide really made the trip special. They cooked the most amazing meals for us and really took care of us on the trails. Our assistant guide was a Sherpa from Everest - what a treat to get to meet someone like that! Fascinating stories…and he even showed us the video of him getting married on the top of Everest!!
Our group stayed in a lodge at the Clear Creek Ranch inside Zion National Park. We spent 5 days hiking and snowshoeing around Zion National Park. They just had a major winter storm that dumped several feet of snow, so the trails were pretty icy - but it just added to the adventure and the beauty of everything. On our first day we hiked on the Sand Bench trail and to the Emerald Pool waterfall. On our second day, I woke up to the last sunrise of 2008, which was a great start to the day. I then got to try out snowshoeing for the first time, which I just fell in love with. We snow-shoed out to the edge of the Perunaweap Canyon in Zion, and enjoyed the amazing 360-degree views! Our guide packed pita, hummus and veggies for lunch and we had ourselves the best picnic right there in the snow with those unforgettable views. That night we had a New Year's Eve dinner, watched the ball drop on TV in New York and all turned in early.
The next day we were trying to find a good trail to hike on, but it was hard with the recent snow. Most trails were closed due to snow and ice. We managed to hike half way up Observation Point, and then hiked up Angel's Landing to Scout Lookout. 1,000 ft elevation gain on that trail was definitely strenuous!
On our fourth day we drove out to Bryce Canyon. We did some more snowshoeing and hiking. We started with our snowshoes on at the Rim Trail at Fairyland Point. The views in Bryce were just phenomenal! Very unique scenery - as you can see from the third feet picture (our lunch spot for the day). After lunch we continued on our way, reaching almost 8,000 ft elevation at Sunrise Point. Once there we put our snowshoes away and then headed out on the Navajo loop. That took us down into the hoodoos, which were amazing. We continued our hike around the canyon, and with every few steps the scenery just got more spectacular.
On our last night, we all enjoyed one last breakfast together and then took one more hike together in Zion Canyon. We hiked out to the Canyon Overlook trail and all had fun taking some pictures that made it look like we were practically hanging over the edge. In the afternoon we headed back to Vegas, which was the end of a great adventure!
Check out some more photos from this trip - Zion Bryce Photos