Every time I’ve visited Utah I feel like I’m in a scene of, “The Hills Have Eyes,” and I’m about to get slashed, or even burned to death by the scorching heat. However, any one who has spent any time there will tell you Utah is its own unique adventure paradise. This state is actually one of the most, “ooo and aww,” places I’ve ever been to. It’s really a different type of beautiful, and one of the greatest shows on earth.
Showing off a vibrant red orange palette, the views in Utah are enticing to no end, and the National Parks it offers are incredible. I think the phrase, “I’m bored,” has never been used here. It’s also the first place (it’s happened since) I’ve been flipped off by a driver for going too slow or something? IDK. I was admiring God’s work and I got punished for it. Allow me to share two must-see National Parks I was drooling over!
- Zion National Park: Southwest, Utah
There are several highlights here, but holy smokes, Angel’s Landing tested me. This one isn’t for the faint of heart. I didn’t know this place even existed and it ended up getting crossed off my bucket list.
You start with a gradual incline, and if you choose one of the hottest days in summer, first off… YOU’RE INSANE, but you will walk away with a sweaty workout. After a couple miles uphill, you may see a couple turning away and hear the words, “our lives are more important than that,” and you will question your other half on why they subjected you to this.
Once you think you’ve reached the top point, you’ll see a faint view of hikers on an even higher point. To meet them, you will have to hold on to the chains of life or death to pass the steep cliffs, giving you vertigo upon looking down. It gets narrower in some spots, but with patience and a healthy level of safety, you will persevere and make it to one of the most remarkable sights of your life. The curves and edges of the landscape is more impeccable than Kim Kardashian’s assets.
I was blown away. Seriously, it’s really windy up there. If you find your way to Zion, Angel’s Landing is definitely my top recommendation. I’d definitely consider it a more challenging hike, but you will feel accomplished and amazed at how wonderfully crafted the topography is. Just remember lots of water and some sturdy hiking shoes, and you’ll be fine.
Another highlight of the park is The Narrows. Coming in second place after Angel’s Landing, this hike is the epitome of finding the light at the end of the tunnel. Rather than sweating bullets on hot lava as I did at Angel’s Landing, this hike was more of a walk through cool water. For real, this is what you do – walk through a cool river, and for miles. It can get to about hip length deep at some points, and you’ll stumble upon rock pebbles along the way, but it was definitely a kid friendly hike. If you don’t like a rough massage at the bottoms of your feet, I’d suggest bringing a solid pair of hiking boots/river shoes for this voyage. It also stays very cool in the canyon, so I’d suggest bringing a light waterproof jacket, even on a hot summer day. The day I went, it was 110 degrees outside the canyon, but by the time I walked a few miles in, it felt more like 60.
This hike may seem never ending. 16 miles to be exact. You can turn around whenever, but you aren’t going to want to. Looking upon the canyon, you may feel as if you are in the center of nature’s cleavage. Again, like the rest of Utah, this hike was uniquely different from many other places I’ve been to, and definitely something you don’t want to miss out on in your lifetime.
2. Arches National Park: Moab, Utah
I visited Arches National park in the winter, so it was vastly different than my taste of Utah during the summer. Although covered in a thin layer of powder, the Utah color scheme wasn’t shy to show itself apart from the snow. This place amazed me with the angles and arches randomly placed about. How the masterpieces were made, I have no idea.
Delicate Arch is a popular attraction in the park, and definitely a crowded one too. The famous, free-standing arch is debatably Utah’s most recognized attraction. In fact, you have probably seen it on Utah’s license plates. Nice product placement on Utah’s tourist industry’s part. But, you must see it in person to really capture its beauty and fulfill its justice.
Balanced Rock joins Delicate Arch as one of the most popular and busy attractions in Arches National Park. With such a name as Balanced Rock, you can guess what’s happening here. A rock is balancing 128 feet above you kid’s head on a needle like buttress. Your kids are screaming “Oh look ma, cool!” and you are screaming at your kids to leave the area before the whole thing comes crumbling down. That’s how unbelievable this rock formation is. But hey, the rock has stood there for hundreds of years, mother nature might have something up her sleeve after all. Did she go to engineering school? Something to think about until next week’s blog post.