I have a wonderful niece, Kelsee, who inspires me with her enthusiasm for life and its experiences. Since she was residing in St. George for a span of time before moving back up to Northern Utah, we made plans to hike Observation Point in Zion National Park.
That day arrived, and we were joined by Kelsee’s husband. The three of us drove from my house to the park, then inside the park to the parking lot by the trailhead, a total driving time of 1 hour 30 minutes. Carter had a military National Parks Pass which saved us the $30 park entry fee. We had our packs full of lunch consisting of sandwiches, bars and snacks, and hydration bladders filled to the brim with water. We also had layers of clothing since most of this hike would be in the shade.
After parking the car, we set off on foot for this 8-mile roundtrip hike at approximately 10:30 a.m. There were not many people on the trail, likely due to the season and it’s cooler (okay, downright cold) temperatures. The hike boasts a 2100-foot climb up the mountain, leveling out near the top before the viewpoint. About a mile in, we encountered ice on the trail so thick that it reminded me of thick broken glass.
The ice took on an interesting blue hue, and Carter was brave enough to test its strength. I don’t think he was risking too much, however, as I think the water under the ice was maybe 4-5 inches deep.
Temperatures ranged vastly as we moved through the slot canyon into the sunshine.
Words really cannot describe the beauty of this canyon, and this was the first time I had hiked Observation Point in the winter months. The lighting was completely different due to the angle of the sun compared to summer months. Following are many photos taken along the way:
We got to the top and out to the point of observation (hence the name of the hike, duh) where we took more photos. It was about 12:30 p.m. at this point, and we were hungry.
We weren’t the only ones who were hungry, apparently. Feeding the squirrels was far too tempting to resist. When this one snubbed my offered apple, I gave him a fourth of my granola bar. Don’t worry — I don’t feed bears!
We could not have asked for a prettier day for this hike! Angels Landing is seen on the very far right of the above photo. We could barely make hikers out on the spine of it in their colorful apparel.
After eating our lunch, we headed the 2 miles back down the canyon, making good time considering how many photos we stopped to take.
This has to be my favorite photo of the day due to the colors in the rock, the sun illuminating the gold tones…..
We arrived back in the parking lot at 3:00, taking about 2 hours to hike down. All in all, it was about 4 hours of hiking and 30 minutes for a lunch break. I was pleased that my trail running shoes (Salomon brand) served me so well, and I am anxious to put them to the test again very soon.
I give this hike two thumbs up and encourage anyone considering it to add it to his or her Bucket List.