It's that time of year, regardless of the pandemic that's hopefully, if painfully, becoming less of a threat to life for all of us as the vaccines become more available. Spring Break.
We learned Spring Break was happening in Utah when we reached St. George, Utah after a few days in Las Vegas, Nevada when we landed in the over flow of a campground in St. George. The state's students take a break on two separate weeks and we landed in Utah right in the middle of those two weeks.
We'd already booked an RV park about 12 miles away from Zion National Park a few days back having not been able to get into the campgrounds in the National Park. I rode from our private campground in Virgin, Utah on the 30th of March to get a notion of how we might take in the sights on the southern end of the park.
The bicycle ride to the park from Virgin through Rockville and then on to Springdale on the south end of the park is truly great and easily done with my electric assist bike. After getting a map of the park and riding in a short distance, I returned back to Springdale to make a plan.
As mentioned, it was Spring Break when we arrived, but that only partially explains the crowds we experienced when we visited.
I found this on the web: [Zion] attracts 4.3 million visitors a year, a number that jumped 60% in the last decade. In 2018, Zion ranked fourth among America's most visited national parks, ahead of Yellowstone (fifth) and Yosemite (sixth). Only Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain parks were more popular.
While 2020 saw a drop in visitors to 3.59 million, it appeared to us, 2021 is on pace to have big numbers again.
After watching a brief visitor information video on the Zion website, we decided getting up early (5:00 a.m.) and driving into the park when we could easily find a spot for Miranda was a good start. When we arrived around 6:00 a.m., we were one of two recreational vehicles in the parking area designated for Miranda (RV's).
We drank our coffee, ate breakfast and around 7:30 I got our bikes out and we began our ride north into the park.
We rode from our parking lot near the Visitors' Center to the Pa'rus Trail which takes you to the Canyon Junction where the park road is closed to private vehicle traffic, and then on to the Temple of Sinawava where the road ends. The ride is about 8 miles one way and runs along the Virgin River. There were very few people, private shuttles, or buses on the road as we made our way north into the park. The only private cars allowed into the park after the Canyon Junction are those belonging to people staying at the lodge.
While it was chilly to begin, I rate it as one of the most spectacular bike rides we've experienced on our travels.
Steven and Melanie